As if 2020 couldn’t get any worse, now your pet’s food has been listed in a recall. What do you do? Rush your dog to the vet? Burn the food? Start sobbing uncontrollably in the corner?

Take a deep breath and know that your friends at New Haven Pet Hospital have your back. Most of the time a dog food recall is nothing to panic over, and we are here to guide you through.

Recalls Are a Good Thing

Well, they can be a good thing. A dog food recall means that quality control is happening and that someone is paying attention. 

Many times pet food recalls are voluntary, meaning that the food company is worried about something that may not even be a true concern. They are just acting out of an overabundance of caution (catch phrase of the year, anyone?). 

Voluntary recalls mean that someone is watching their diets quite closely and is ready to speak up if something seems amiss. Maybe a bag isn’t sealing properly or the nutrient profile isn’t where it should be on a screening run

This means that:

  • A history of a recall does not mean a diet is unsafe or low quality
  • No recalls doesn’t mean a food is better than any other,

Human foods are much more likely to be involved in recalls than any pet food. Quality control is a good thing. Voluntary recalls mean your pet’s food company is paying attention to their diets.

Sometimes a recall occurs because federal testing catches a problem or if there are concerns that a pet or person could become sick. This earns an FDA encouraged recall.

More rarely, an FDA forced recall happens due to pets (or people) actually becoming sick. It isn’t often things get to this point.

Most pet food recalls have to do with too much or too few nutrients, bacterial contamination, foreign material in the food, or contamination with potentially harmful chemicals.

What To Do in a Dog Food Recall

When a major dog food recall occurs, it tends to make the rounds on the news and social media. You don’t hear about all of them, however. If you want to keep closer tabs on things, you can always check the current list of pet food recalls maintained by the American Veterinary Medical Association

If you do learn that your pet’s food is involved in a recall, you have some work to do. Stay calm and:

  • Determine if your pet’s specific variety or lot number of food is affected
  • Stop feeding your pet the recalled food (you can use a bland diet such as lean chicken and rice to transition to something new)
  • Keep some of the recalled food and the packaging in case it is needed for testing or reimbursement purposes
  • Follow directions- many manufacturers will have a phone number or online portal to receive further instruction
  • Give us a call so that we can help decide if any further action is needed from a medical perspective

Pet food recalls are not fun, but they tell us that our safety systems are working. No one wants to unintentionally harm our pets, and an abundance of caution seems to be the way to go.