Many of us rely on commercial dog foods for our pets. Low cost, convenience, and the purported "complete and balanced" feature keep people coming back for more. However, commercial foods are subject to a variety of problems such as imbalances of supplemental vitamins and minerals, aflatoxins produced by the aspergillus family of fungi, and now, contamination with salmonella.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 14 people in nine states have been infected with Salmonella infantis, some cases of which have been traced to to exposure to pet foods produced by Diamond. Five of these people required hospitalization.
So now, unfortunately, another widespread pet food recall is underway. This is a voluntary recall of 14 different brands of pet food sold in more than 40 states due to possible salmonella contamination. These foods are all produced by Diamond at their production plant in Gaston, South Carolina. The plant was shut down April 8 due to the Salmonella crisis.
To determine if their pet food is recalled, Diamond officials say consumers should check the production codes on the back of bags that have a number "2" or a "3" in the 9th or 10th digit and an "X" in the 11th digit. The best-before dates for the recalled brands are Dec. 9, 2012, through April 7, 2013.
Now is a good time to remind ourselves about a simple but essential rule of food handling. Always WASH YOUR HANDS with soap and rinse with water while scrubbing for at least 15 seconds, both before and after handling ANY sort of food, whether it is intended for people or animals. Don't forget to use a nail brush or an orange stick to clean under your fingernails, too.
So far, no reports of any ill dogs. Dogs are better-equipped to handle salmonella than humans are. Their digestive tract is quite acid, and the intestines are much shorter than ours....making illness from bacteria very unlikely.
Delta therapy dogs bans their participating dogs from consuming raw foods, but maybe they should re-think that maxim. Cooked kibbles are just as risky for carrying salmonella (perhaps more so in some cases) than clean, fresh raw foods.