Pet Food Safety Measures to Avoid Health Complications

Image of cat and dog eating.

Foods with inadequate nutrition, stored improperly or not handled safely can present problems for you and your pet. Making the right choices for the right pet will give your pet the best chance at optimum wellness.

You'll have peace of mind and know your pet will receive the best health value possible. Remember, your pets are individuals and have independent needs. Your veterinarian will make recommendations during your visits to keep your pet's energy, health and well being at its best.

Purchasing Foods
When you purchase food keep in mind the nutritional values that are delivered with each serving. You'll want to consider whether or not your dog, cat, ferret, bird, horse, turtle, or iguana, for example, needs more protein, fat, vitamins, minerals or carbohydrates - or less. Select foods that meet your pet's independent levels of activity. Multiple pets of the same kind in the same home will have varied nutritional needs and activity levels. Remembering that your pets are individuals will help you provide for their own needs.

Food Storage
Foods must be stored properly to provide the highest measure of safety and nutritional value for your pets. Look for containers that close tightly with a air-tight seal. Store food containers for all pets in a cool, dry area out of the reach of children.

Always read the manufacturer's recommendations for storing pet foods. Pay attention to expiration dates and shelf-life provisions. Be aware of food storage and safety practices at the store your family visits to purchase your pet's food. And, make sure your animal friends will not be able to chew through the containers or get to their food between feedings. This can require immediate medical attention or create life-altering medical problems.

Angela Tague advises in Dog Food Storage Safety that pet owners, "Examine the dry (pet) food before serving it to your pet. If it has clumps, appears moist, moldy or has a foul odor, throw it away and do not feed it" to your pet. It's always wise to check wet canned food items to be sure the food texture and color are consistent. Note the food containers and any damage present. Food containers that show damage should not be used because the food integrity could be compromised. Foods that seem to appear moldy, smelly, or have bugs or larvae present in the containers must not be used.

Handling Pet Foods
Remember your pet's food is probably prepared under different guidelines and conditions than that prepared for your family. Always supervise small children, infants, seniors and those with compromised immune systems for safe handling procedures. The Center for Disease Control identified 79 cases in 21 states that occurred from contaminated dog and cat food. The cases primarily involved young children who developed the symptoms of Salmonella. The CDC suggests monitoring those in contact with food preparation and handling for family pets to ensure safety precautions are used. Safe handling includes frequent and thorough hand washing before and after scooping, pouring, measuring or handing out food items to pets including: meals of wet or dry foods, snacks and treats.

Meal Sizes
Before bringing a new pet home always check with your veterinarian for feeding recommendations. You'll know what to have and how to serve it to best provide for your new animal's well being. Be aware of your pet's activity levels and let your vet know about changes. They can suggest nutritional supplements and a feeding program to continue to provide your pet with the maximum amount of nutrients needed for optimum well being.

Using food safety habits in your family with keep your dearly loved animal members happy, safe and performing their best.

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Feedback from our clients

  • "Words can not begin to express our gratitude for the care you had given Hunter over the years. When his time came, he watched for you to come through the door and his tail showed his affection towards you. That was most comforting having you there. Thank you.""
    ~R.H
  • ""Thank you so much for taking care of Maggie over the years. Y'all are the best and Dr. Johnson, you are the best vet in the world! God bless you all.""
    ~ J.D.
  • ""Your care for my beloved Mattie these last 10n years made her life, and mine much better….God bless each of you for all you did for us and I'm sure for all your other two and four legged patients.""
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    ~T.C.
  • ""I can not express how grateful I am for you and your staff… I appreciate everything you did in Beckham's treatment. He was so lucky to have such a wonderful doctor on his side. Thank you for all you do for the benefit of all our beloved pets.""
    ~L.B.
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  • ""Thank you for the great care you took of Taco and the rest of our family. He is doing great now! He is enjoying running and playing with all four legs again.""
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  • ""A sincere thank you for taking such good care of Dulce. We are so thrilled that she is back to her normal self. You gave her the support and care she needed in her darkest hours and kept us confident in her recovery.""
  • ""Just to say how much we appreciate all of you. You all are wonderful people. We feel blessed to have our beloved furry children in your care when they need it. Your professional knowledge and your acts of kindness have a beautiful act all it's own. You are a great vet, compassionate and everything good all in one. You are in our daily prayers.""
    ~T.F.
  • ""Thank you and all of your staff for the excellent care you gave to my wonderful Abbey, who was so much a part of the family. Thank you for all the advice and support you gave to me these last few months. I don't know how I would have gotten through this without your constant support. I will, and I have highly recommended you to family and friends, as I feel you are the best!""
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  • ""Thank you for taking care of my kitty, Slingshot. He is feeling better and better. My Paw-Paw said that you took extra special care of him and I really appreciate it. So, thank you again for taking care of my cat.""
    ~T.B. (age 6)
  • ""Dr. Johnson, I don't know why you decided to move here from your home in New Jersey, but I absolutely believe it was so you could help me and Mickey. I know coming to someone's home is not what a typical veterinarian would do, but you are obviously an extraordinary man in a world filled with ordinary men….On top of that, your sensitive and wonderful handwritten note arrived and touched my heart…You are one of those quiet, unheralded champions who make life easier for everyone you touch.""
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  • ""Thank you for all of your support for Maxine during her illness. All was very much appreciated and will always be remembered. I have related to all my friends of what a great doctor and staff at Birdneck Animal Hospital.""
    ~O.B.
  • ""Thank you for taking such good care of me over the last 4 years. I am doing well and both legs and feet feel great. You sis an awesome job on me Dr. Johnson, and I'm gonna have a great year this year and I hope to see you only for my check up. You guys are the best!""
    ~Budkus
  • "We can't thank you enough for the wonderful and loving care you gave to"Budkus" while he was in your care. He was so little and so sick and we were so scared for him. Each and every one of the staff members made us feel like we had the only dog in the world. Like nothing else mattered except getting "Budkus" well again. Our deepest gratitude to all of you for the excellent care and attention we received, for your encouragement, comfort, and understanding, and most importantly for saving his life! Thank you so much.""
    ~ J.,B.,C.