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We are back at it sharing with you the bad news that even more harmful ingredients are being found in dog foods. This week is part three of the series and we are taking a look at Pentobarbital. Two companies have pulled dog food product from the shelves recently and this one is disturbing. Let’s get to it.
Sodium Pentobarbital (Pentobarbital for short)
Small doses of this drug, commonly used to anesthetize and euthanize pets, has been found in some dog foods recently and we felt we needed to cover this topic. I know you are asking yourself, “What?!” “How?!” We did too, so we did some research in an attempt to get some answers.
Most pet food products include rendered animal feed including ingredients such as fish, meat and poultry. These ingredients are the leftovers; the parts we humans wouldn’t eat. You know, fish heads, tissues and the like. This salvaged protein and fat is then used to produce the pet food we see on the shelves and that our dogs go bat-spit crazy for at meal time. So no waste is good, right? Yes, until somewhere in the supply chain euthanized livestock enter the picture. Pentobarbital, used in euthanasia, survives the rendering process to end up as a detectable toxin in the finished food product, possibly sickening your pet.
This isn’t the first rodeo for this drug. According to the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine in the 1990s veterinarians had been reporting a resistance to the drug (also used to anesthetize for veterinary procedures) due to tolerance being built through its consistent ingestion in pet food. Read more from this 2002 report. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to Pentobarbital, please take a look at this list of symptoms you may observe.
In higher doses, dogs can experience coma and death; however, according to the FDA, this recall is due to a low dose of the drug. Therefore, dogs who consumed contaminated food should probably not be symptomatic. Even so, pet food containing any amount of Pentobarbital is a violation of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. In other words, it’s illegal.
Now it’s time to play everybody’s favorite game, “Check Your Pantry.” Here are the dog food products recalled and pulled from the shelves recently:
Big Heart Pet Foods – Subsidiary of J.M. Smucker Company
Contact Smucker for refund or replacement at 800-828-9980 or email them through their Contact Us page
Contact Evanger’s at 847-537-0102.
If you suspect your dog’s food of contamination with Pentobarbital, Listeria or Salmonella, first seek a veterinarian’s care for your dog. Then, you may report concerns to the FDA through their Safety Reporting Portal or contact the Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your state. Keep an eye on future recalls through the FDA too!
Other measures you may wish to take are to look for dog foods that are listed as Human Grade. We came across The Honest Kitchen when looking for our own dogs and love that they are produced to human consumption standards. Find them in specialty pet stores or check them out online for more information on the company. Another option would be to get out your apron and get busy in the kitchen. Our Pinterest page has some really easy home-cooked meals that are nutritious, safe and delicious.
Do you have a dog food recipe to share? We’d love to hear from you! Comment here on the blog or hit us up on Facebook and Twitter. See you soon!