In response to the recent spike in pet food recalls, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has some suggestions on how to best keep two-legged and four-legged family members safe:
Do your research. Salmonella is the contaminant that appears to be the cause of concern during this most recent round of pet food recalls. If you suspect your pup has eaten contaminated food, a trip to the vet should be first on the list of to-dos, and then the food manufacturer should be notified. You can identify the recalled foods by visiting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website at www.fda.gov.
Know the signs. While healthy adult dogs are relatively resistant to illness from Salmonella bacteria, pets with health issues (such as young puppies, elderly and pregnant dogs who could have compromised immune systems) may be at greater risk for becoming ill. Dogs who are affected by Salmonella may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, and drooling or panting—an indication of nausea. In severe cases, the bacterium may spread throughout the body, resulting in death.
Clean is key. Salmonella isn’t only dangerous to the pet eating the food—it can also affect the pet parent serving the food. Salmonella can be spread through direct contact with the affected product and animal feces, so exposure should be avoided. The best way to protect family members, including other animals in the home, is to thoroughly wash your hands (or paws) after any dealings with the product or feces. In addition, all bowls, utensils and surfaces that may have come in contact with contaminated food should be washed using hot, soapy water and rinsed thoroughly or sanitized in the dishwasher.
For more information about the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center and potential pet toxins, visit www.aspca.org/apcc.