Providing our pet with nourishing food and delicious treats is a big part of how we show them our love. Feeding our pets connects us to them in a fundamental way, and consistently giving them what they need to survive and thrive builds their trust and deepens the bond we share with them.
Unfortunately, not all pet foods and treats are created equal. Besides being extremely low quality, some imported commercial food and treats have sickened and even killed hundreds of pets in the United States. This leaves many pet owners understandably angry and confused about which food and treats are safe for their animals.
What to Watch Out For
Commercially available pet foods and treats, especially those imported from China and certain other countries, can pose a surprising number of health risks. Some of the dangers that have cropped up and led to recalls over the past decade and beyond include:
- Exposure to pathogens, such as Salmonella and E. coli in animal-based products that are not fully processed, such as jerky treats or rawhide chews.
- Rawhide chews and other edible chews that can be swallowed in large gulps put pets at risk for choking, intestinal blockage, or digestive upset.
- Broken or fractured teeth can result from chewing on hard items, such as antlers or bones.
- Many treats are filled with sugar, fat, and other non-nutritious fillers, which can lead to weight gain.
Perhaps, the most disturbing pet food scandal occurred in 2007, when hundreds of dogs and were sickened, many of whom died from eating contaminated pet foods originating in China. The food and treats have since been recalled, but the guilt, anger, and devastation is still felt by the pet owners, who unknowingly fed their pets these items found in major pet supply retailers.
Choosing Pet Food and Treats
Although it can be less expensive to purchase lower quality pet supplies from Petco, Petsmart, and other big box stores, keep in mind that preventing an illness or injury is always easier, and cheaper, than dealing with a problem once it has arisen.
When it comes to selecting pet food and treats, your trusted family veterinarian is your best source of products and information. When you purchase your pet products from your vet’s office, you can feel confident that only high quality, nutritious items are stocked, and that the ingredients and companies have been researched to ensure your pet’s safety.
If you have any further questions or concerns regarding the safety of your pet’s food and treats, or would like to know more about the products we offer at Kings Trail Animal Hospital, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.