So your pet that has been eating the same brand of food, the same flavor for years – develops an aversion to it – seemingly out of nowhere. You scratch your head, wondering why your furry kid won’t eat. Is she sick? Does she have a bad tooth? Is she depressed? These are all valid concerns that warrant a good veterinary checkup, but what if your pet has been given a clean bill of health and she still won’t eat?

There were approximately twenty dog food companies in 2017 that had recalls due to contamination of various types in the food, whether it was dry kibble, canned, commercially-prepared raw diets, or treats. Some were voluntary recalls (meaning the company chose to recall the food for a possiblecontamination); others were FDA-ruled based on random testing. Some of the recalled food had shocking ingredients – including pentobarbital, a drug used to euthanize small animals – as well as salmonella and listeria bacteria. Several brands were found to have plastic or metal pieces, necessitating a massive recall.

For me, the most appalling contaminant is the pentobarbital. Why on earth would euthanized animals’ bodies be ground up into pet food?? It’s alarming enough to hear of BPA (a chemical found in many plastic and cans that can disrupt thyroid function and other hormonal functions in the body), or to have treats tainted with chemical preservatives that can be harmful, but deceased animals that should be disposed of properly, really?? Sure, it’s a cheap filler (the pet food manufacturer doesn’t have to “purchase” meat) and it’s a cheap way for dispose of animal carcasses. BUT, who on earth wants their pet eating another dog or cat, much less when it contains a poison like pentobarbital?

In my research, I uncovered an article where a canned food company, “Party Animal”, who touts their products as “organic”, was recalled because of traces of pentobarbital. They eventually brought about a lawsuit with their “parent” company, Evanger’s, claiming they also sold Party Animal poultry-byproducts instead of chicken meal. What on earth is a drug doing in an organically-labeled product in the first place?

Another alarming fact is that many pet food companies (knowing or unknowingly) accept “4-D” animal products (animals who can be classified as dead, dying, debilitated, or diseased). Metabolites of antibiotics, mercury, fluoride, and other chemicals and hormones can be found in these 4-D carcasses.

So what is the answer when it comes to choosing an appropriate food for your pet? The answer is inconclusive. There is probably no “one” fool-proof and “perfect” diet. Check out the site for detailed information about which companies have been on the “list.” In my opinion, making your own recipes with human-grade food is the safest and possibly the most economical way to go. If possible, work with a veterinary nutritionist or holistic veterinarian to formulate the best diet for your animal kids.