Review Article| Volume 42, ISSUE 2, P237-250, March 2012

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Pet Food Recalls and Pet Food Contaminants in Small Animals

  • Karyn Bischoff
    Corresponding author. Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, PO Box 5786, Room A2 232, Ithaca, NY 14853-5786
    New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center, PO Box 5786, Room A2, 232, Ithaca, NY 13081, USA

    Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, PO Box 5786, Room A2 232, Ithaca, NY 14853-5786, USA
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  • Wilson K. Rumbeiha
    Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, 2659 Vet Med, Ames, IA 50011, USA
    Search for articles by this author
Published:January 09, 2012DOI:
      Most pet foods are safe. Only 1.7% of reported poisonings in dogs and cats have been attributed to pet foods.
      • Dzanis D.
      Anatomy of a recall.
      Incidents of contamination occur through microbial action, mixing error, or intentional adulteration. Although rare, the effects of pet food contamination can be physically devastating for companion animals and emotionally devastating and financially burdensome for their owners. Whereas most people consume a diet from various sources, for companion animals a single bag of food or cans from a single brand/lot will likely be the major or sole source of nutrition until that food has been completely consumed. Thus, the effects of food contaminants in people is diluted by the varied diet, but the uniform diet of most dogs and cats, although preferred for nutritional reasons, increases the risk of adverse effects if a contaminant is present in their food. As the companion animal veterinarian is aware, many animal owners consider their dog or cat to be a vulnerable family member that needs to be protected.
      • Feng T.
      • Keller L.R.
      • Wang L.
      • et al.
      Product quality risk perception and decisions: contaminated pet food and lead-painted toys.
      Based on the authors' experiences, pet owners often experience seemingly disproportionate guilt when pets become sickened or die after being unknowingly fed contaminated pet foods. Some owners have described feeling responsible for poisoning their pet during pet food contamination incidents.


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