Raw dog food has been gaining popularity in recent years as pet owners seek natural and unprocessed diets for their canine companions. Advocates argue that feeding dogs raw food can lead to numerous health benefits, such as improved coat condition, increased energy levels, and better dental health. However, this trend has also been accompanied by concerns about potential health risks and the safety of raw pet food products. Recalls of raw dog food have raised alarms in the pet industry, prompting pet owners to reevaluate their choices and consider the potential consequences of feeding their beloved four-legged friends uncooked diets. This article explores the recent recalls of raw dog food and the importance of staying informed about such incidents to ensure the well-being of our loyal companions.
What was recalled?
On July 14, 2023, raw dog food company, What The Raw voluntarily recalled one of their products. The company chose to recall 184 containers of their Single Dried Sardines. Sardines packaged in shrink wrap with the Lot number 250402202223, 121110202122, 210510202324, 141228202223, 210620202324 were recalled specifically.
Why was it recalled?
What The Raw quietly issued a voluntary recall of their sardine product due to potential Clostridium Botulinum contamination. Fortunately, there were no cases of illness reported in any dogs who consumed the product. What The Raw has not released an official statement regarding the recall.
Why is this issue concerning?
Clostridium botulinum is a bacterium that produces botulinum toxin, which is considered one of the most potent toxins known to science. When ingested, this toxin can cause botulism, a severe and potentially life-threatening illness in both humans and animals, including dogs.
The reason why Clostridium botulinum is dangerous to dogs is that botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin, meaning it affects the nervous system. The toxin works by blocking the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for transmitting nerve signals to muscles. As a result, the affected muscles become paralyzed, leading to a range of symptoms that can vary depending on the quantity of toxin ingested and the size and health of the dog.
Symptoms of botulism in dogs may include weakness, lethargy, difficulty walking or standing, drooling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, botulism can lead to paralysis of the respiratory muscles, resulting in respiratory failure, which can be fatal if not treated promptly.
The bacterium Clostridium botulinum is commonly found in the environment, particularly in soil and water, where it exists in a spore form that is generally harmless. However, under certain conditions, such as in improperly processed or stored raw food, these spores can germinate and produce botulinum toxin, making the food dangerous if consumed.
Because of the risks associated with botulism, it's essential to handle raw food for dogs carefully, and pet owners should be cautious about feeding their pets raw meat or other raw food items. Cooking or pasteurization can destroy the botulinum toxin, ensuring the safety of the food. Additionally, storing raw pet food appropriately and following proper hygiene practices can help reduce the risk of Clostridium botulinum contamination and subsequent botulism in dogs. If a dog shows any signs of botulism, immediate veterinary attention is crucial to ensure prompt and appropriate treatment.
What should I do if I purchased contaminated food?
If you happen to have purchased this product with the specific lot code, pet owners should immediately stop feeding the food.
Take home message
Ideally, pet food companies should have a plan in place in the event a recall occurs. It is best if they recall their products as fast as possible, as well as having data on where all of the recalled inventory is. Pet food manufacturers also need to be transparent about the issues they are having with their specific product in order to win back customer trust.
Recalls happen, however It is especially troubling when it is food that’s marketed as a veterinary product and is supplied in veterinary clinics. Contaminated pet food is not something that owners or dogs with health issues, or any dog for that matter, should have to be concerned about.
The best thing to do as a pet owner is to be aware of product recalls. Recalls can either be found on the FDA website or you can also sign up for the Dog Food Advisor recall alert on their website.