Why All The Problems With Dog Food?

Given when dogs have been known to eat while out on walks, you might be surprised to learn they actually cannot eat just any old thing. Many dog food companies are, unfortunately, proving this on a monthly basis as the number of recalls for dog food and treat product in 2013 has been, frankly, an embarrassment. 
Chinese Issues?
As I write this, the FDA is forcing a recall of a wide variety of dog treats made in China and sold in the U.S. under different brand names. The treats have made 3,500 pets sick so far, although nobody is entirely sure what is wrong with them including the painfully inept FDA. If you have any of the following treats in your home, toss them out: 
  • Nestle Purina’s: Waggin’ Train Jerky Treats or Tenders
  • Nestle Purina’s: Canyon Creek Ranch Jerky Treats or Tenders
  • Del Monte Corp’s: Milo’s Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats
  • Del Monte Corp’s: Chicken Griller Home-Style Dog Treats
  • Publix stores recalled their own brand of : Chicken Tenders Dog Chew Treats
  • IMS Pet Industries Inc.: Cadet Brand Chicken Jerky Treats sold in the US
There is an underlying issue present with this recall. Although we list six different types of treats, all are coming from the same source. If you look closely at the packaging for most of these products, you will not see China listed anywhere. This is because companies selling dog food are not required to list the place of origin.
Why does China matter? Simple. There are few regulations in China regarding the ingredients and processing procedure for food be it human or pet. This means your dog's food might be perfectly fine or it may be teaming with viruses and bacteria. 
Is there anything on dog food packaging you can trust? Yes. Look for products with the "Made in U.S.A." statement. By law, this statement can only be used if the product is made in the country. 
Bigger Problem
There is a bigger problem here, however. The quality of dog foods and products is simply abysmal. According to GlobalAnimal.org, the following recalls for dog food or treat products have occurred in the nine months between January and September 2013. 
August 30, 2013 — Nestle Purina Voluntarily Recalls Limited Number of Purina ONE beyOnd Our White Meat Chicken and Whole Barley Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food Bags Due to a Potential Health Rise
August 14, 2013 — P&G Voluntarily Recalls Limited Quantity of Dry Pet Food Due to Possible Health Risk
June 18, 2013 — Natura Pet Issues Voluntary Recall of Specialized Dry Pet Foods Due to a Possible Health Risk
April 19, 2013 — Natura Pet Expands Voluntary Recall of Dry Pet Foods Due to Possible Health Risk
April 03, 2013 — Bravo! Issues a Voluntary Recall for Three Raw Frozen Food Diet for Dogs and Cats Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk
March 29, 2013 — Natura Pet Expands Voluntary Recall of Dry Pet Foods Due to Possible Health Risk
March 18, 2013 — Natura Pet Issues Voluntary Recall of Specialized Dry Pet Foods Due to Possible Health Risk
March 13, 2013 — Bravo! Recalls 2 lb Tubes of Chicken Blend-Raw Frozen Food Diet for Dogs and Cats (One Lot Code) Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk
March 07, 2013 — Diggin’ Your Dog Recalls Strippin’ Chicks Pet Treats Distributed in Colorado and Nevada Due to Possible Salmonella Hazard
March 07, 2013 — Steve’s Real Food Recalls Turducken Canine Recipe Patties Because of Possible Health Risk
March 06, 2013 — Jones Natural Chews Co Recalls Woofers Dog Treats Because Of Possible Salmonella Health Risk
February 22, 2013 — Hy-Vee Issues Voluntary Recall of Certain Dog Food Products
February 21, 2013 — Kasel Associates Industries Recalling Certain Pet Treats Due to Salmonella Contamination
February 21, 2013 — The Honest Kitchen® Voluntarily Recalls Limited Lots Of Verve®, Zeal®And Thrive® Products Due To Possible Health Risk
February 20, 2013 — Nutri-Vet, LLC Recalls Nutri-Vet and Nutripet Chicken Jerky Products Because Of Possible Salmonella Health Risk
February 19, 2013 — Kasel Associated Industries Recalls All Products Manufactured at its Denver, Colorado Facility from April 20, 2012 thru September 19, 2012 Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk
February 15, 2013 — Nature’s Variety Issues Voluntarily Recall of One Batch of Instinct® Raw Organic Chicken Formula for Dogs & Cats Due to Possible Health Risk
January 28, 2013 — The Hartz Mountain Corporation is voluntarily withdrawing its Hartz Chicken Chews and Hartz Oinkies Pig Skin Twists wrapped with Chicken for dogs
January 09, 2013 — Milo’s Kitchen® Voluntarily Recalls Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers Home-style Dog Treats
That is 19 recalls in nine months for those counting – more than two a month on average. Clearly, the lesson is you need to take charge of the food you buy for the pets in your home. Don't just buy any old bag you find in a store. 
New FDA Regulations
The Food & Drug Administration is often viewed as being in bed with the industries it is supposed to govern, so counting on the Agency to actually take effective action is sometimes a dubious effort. Nonetheless, the FDA is at least making a token effort to address the abysmal state of dog food production by updating regulations in the area. Given the fact the rules were last updated in 2009 and we are still facing massive recalls, one can't help but doubt we will be saddled with another set of ineffectual rules. 
Take Charge
To be blunt, the onus is on you to identify and buy the right food for your pup. The important thing is to educate yourself on the different types of food and what is best for the needs of your pet. 
Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive vet seen on Animal Planet and other popular pet platforms. In these three videos, she breaks down the best and worst foods for your dog as well as what constitutes quality food ingredients and what does not so you know what to look for when shopping. Her information is top notch and very eye opening.
  • Best and Worst Foods To Feed Your Dog
  • The Quality of Pet Food Ingredients (Part 1 of 2)
  • The Quality of Pet Food Ingredients (Part 2 of 2)
[Please note Dr. Becker is not affiliated with Animaroo.com.]
Closing Thoughts
As with us humans, the type of food you give a pup is going to have a massive impact on their health. Stop feeding your dog junk. Educate yourself and get them on the right diet. It will provide them with a longer, healthy life. 


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