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Keeping your pet's food bowl safe

Commonsense tips, the latest recalls and new FDA rules to protect your pets

  • Learn how to protect your pets from contaminated food and treats. iStockphoto

Every day you fill your pet's bowl. Do you know what's going in it?

Skip to recent pet-food recall notices »

While it's nearly impossible to ensure that your pet will never come in contact with tainted food or treats, you can reduce the risk by taking these four important steps:

1. Follow commonsense tips
2. File a complaint
3. Learn more about the FDA and pet food safety
4. Read the latest pet-food recalls

1. Follow commonsense tips for protecting your pet

•  Start by practicing good hygiene with your pets' food and water bowls.

•  Check our list of recalled foods and treats regularly for information about items that have been recalled. You may also want to join our online community to receive information about recalls via the Pet of the Week enewsletter.

•  If your pet's food or treats are recalled, immediately stop feeding the product to your pet. You can return recalled products to the store where you purchased them for a full refund or dispose of them in a secure area not accessible to animals. If you have questions about recalled food or treats, contact the manufacturer.

•  If your pet may have consumed a recalled product, consult your veterinarian, even if your pet isn't showing any symptoms.

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2. File a complaint with the FDA if your pet has been poisoned

If your pet has become ill or died because of a tainted food or treats, please report it to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your state.

3. Learn more about the FDA and pet food safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently took a much-needed step toward improving the safety of pet food products. FDA regulations now require that manufacturers of pet food sold in the U.S. use basic sanitation measures to prevent product contamination. Manufacturers must also maintain written plans for preventing food-borne illnesses such as salmonellosis. The rules are a result of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which also granted the FDA authority to mandate pet food recalls (in the past, recalls were at the company’s discretion). The regulations were finalized in September 2015, and businesses must meet the compliance deadlines set in the new rules.

4. Read the latest pet food and pet treat recalls from the FDA:

For the latest pet food and pet treat recalls, check out the FDA’s Twitter alerts below, or see a chart of recent recalls.

NOTE: Food older than two years has likely expired and should not be consumed. (Most pet food has an expiration date; look for it on the package or can. As a general rule, unopened dry food usually stays good for a year; unopened canned food for two years.)

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