June 8, 2017

Pet Food: Is your pet food safe? Maybe not, even if it is an ultra-premium brand.

As the old saying goes, "You are what you eat."  One could argue the same holds true for our companion pets.

So, what are you feeding your pets?  If you are feeding your pets an ultra-premium commercially-made pet food, the food must be safe .... Right?

Uh, may not.
Contaminated Pet Food and Treats:
Beef Thyroid Hormone, Anyone?

Each year, thousands of dogs and cats become sickened, some die, due to consuming contaminated commercially-made pet food and treats.  And the problem is not just with "cheap" brands.  The ultra-premium Blue Buffalo dog food brand recently recalled its  BLUE Wilderness, Rocky Mount Recipe dog food because it was found to be contaminated with beef thyroid hormone.

And as far as the word "natural" used to describe some pet food, including the Blue Buffalo brand, there is no regulatory definition of what "natural" means for pet food.   Your guess is as good as mine.

The FDA maintains this database of Animal and Veterinary Recalls (screenshot above), including those related to pet food and treats.  Visit the site to view recalls and sign up for email alerts.

Are Bones Safe for Dogs?

Now let's talk bones.  I know some dog owners will disagree with me on this issue, but ...  As for bones, in my opinion, they are a BIG BIG NO for your dog.  Just say no to bones.  Bones can splinter and lodge in a dog's airway passage or intestine.  In fact, this happened to a dog in my neighborhood last summer, who ingested part of a pork sparerib bone he was chewing on.  The bone became lodged in his intestine and splintered, requiring emergency surgery.  The poor dog was never the same afterward and appeared to never recover; his health appeared to greatly declined after the bone event.  As of a few weeks ago, his human owner told me the dog's life was on a day-to-day basis.

And What About a Raw Food Diet for Your Pet?

And how about the raw food diet fad that some pet owners embrace?  Not me.  (Yes, I know I will likely take some flack for this opinion, too.)  I still remember the discussion about dog food  I had with my primary vet some years ago.  My vet's opinion of raw food?  One word:  "Gross".  He went on to state that today's domesticated animals do not have the GI tracts and digestive abilities to property digest raw food like wild animals do.  Also, there is great risk for food poisoning for humans and dogs alike.  According to WebMD, general risks when feeding raw food to your pet include:
Sid's and Lexi's Food Mats
and Food Bowls.
  • Threats to human and dog health from bacteria in raw meat;
  • An unbalanced diet that may damage the health of dogs if given for an extended period; and
  • Potential for whole bones to choke an animal, break teeth or cause an internal puncture.
With those risks, no way I'd ever consider a raw food diet for my dogs.  Would you?

What Do I Feed My Dogs?

I cook for my dogs Sid and Lexi, a meal my husband Jim and I call "Canine Unfried Rice".  I posted about Sid and Lexi's meals last year.   I'll re-post again soon on this topic, including my recipe for 24 hour slow -cooked turkey and broth that I am currently using in the Canine Unfried Rice.  Easy to make, nutritious, and delicious!

Unconditional love.  And I am reminded daily that some of the most important things in life, I have learned from my dogs.

Mary Rae Fouts


  1. Big deal. I always give my dog bones from my cooked beef roast and ribs and have never had problems.

    1. "Never had" also means "not yet". And when you do, get prepared for potentially thousands of dollars in emergency surgery to remove the intestinal impacted bone, and possibly the death of your pet.

  2. I do not buy Chinese dog food. But I wonder if it still contains China ingredients.

    1. Great comment. I need to look into this more. I am not certain if FDA regulations allow the "made in America" stamp to be on a pet food item if ingredients are sourced from out of the United States.

  3. I buy raw ground pet food from the meat department at my grocery store. Not sure what exactly is in it, but my dogs like it. I would not by the pet food raw brands.

  4. My neighbor says she gives raw chicken necks to her dogs as a treat. Who would do that! chicken necks have small sharp bones.

    1. Agree. I have been standing at the poultry department of my local grocer when people have purchased both raw chicken necks and raw turkey necks for their pets (dogs). All people said they are raw to the dogs as a treat. No way would I ever, ever do that. Neck bones are small, splinter, and are sharp.


Thanks for sharing your comments here! Mary Rae Fouts