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Pet Food Safety Measures to Avoid Health Complications

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Food Safety Measures to Avoid Health Complications

Wellness visits to your veterinarian must be consistent so your pet's health and eating habits may be regularly monitored.

Inadequate nutrient-packed portions, spoiled foods or overfeeding can have health complications. When talking with your vet, remember to:

  • Discuss your pet's activity levels.  They may have increased or decreased since the last visit.
  • Bring food wrappers or labels with you so your vet can see what your pet is eating now, the quantities and nutrients your pet receives with each meal.
  • Discuss food allergies. Ask about vitamins, supplements and additional nutrients.
  • Promptly implement changes recommended by your veterinarian.

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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Testimonial

Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.

The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.

Sung L.
Rupert, ID

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