With the massive amounts of pet foods being recalled lately, and over the past few years, I am glad that I feed a brand that I trust and have complete faith in: Castor & Pollux. I know when I open the bag (or can) of food that the girls are getting quality organic dog food. Their ORGANIX and Natural Ultramix are made in the USA. They strive to create safe, premium foods and treats for our pets because they are also pet owners. They use an independent third party for all of our testing. Their ingredients are tested upon arrival, samples are tested throughout production and all finished product is tested for toxins and contaminants before they release it for sale.
The recent recalls are weighing heavily on the minds of pet owners everywhere. “There’s no doubt about it, pet food recalls like this are scary,” states Dr. Coates. “Invariably, owners are halfway through feeding a bag of potentially contaminated food when they hear of the recall, which means they have to go on high alert for a week or two. In the case of Salmonella, we have to watch both pets and people in the household for vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and fever.”
How to quickly and safely change your pet’s diet:
- Find a Similar Pet Food Formula: Pick a new pet food that closely matches the “old” variety. For example, if your pet was eating a lamb and rice product that was recalled, purchase another company’s lamb and rice formulation. Read the ingredient list. If you can match up the first few ingredients, the foods will be fairly similar. Also, review the guaranteed analysis on both labels. Avoid big changes in the percentages of protein, fat, and fiber whenever possible.
- Offer Small Meals Gradually: Once you get the new food home, start by offering your pet a small meal. If he or she eats it and doesn’t develop any tummy troubles as a result, offer another small meal a few hours later. Gradually increase the size and decrease the frequency of your offerings until you are back to your normal schedule in a day or two. If your pet doesn’t take to the new food, pick it up and don’t offer anything (including treats) for eight hours or so. It is okay to let your pet get a little hungry, so long as you continue to offer the new food every 6-8 hours and then pick it up if it is not eaten. Continue this pattern for 24 hours (cats) to 48 hours (dogs). If you cannot get your pet to eat the new food within these timeframes, consult your veterinarian and try another formulation — but avoid frequent changes in flavor as this can promote finicky eating habits.
- Go Easily Digestible: If your dog or cat has an especially sensitive stomach and you are forced to making a rapid diet change, consider switching to an easily digestible formula at the offset and then gradually mix in small amounts of the new, long-term diet a few days later. Probiotics for dogs and cats can also reduce the chance that a pet will develop diarrhea when its diet suddenly changes.
- Consult Your Veterinarian: If you can’t find a new food your pet likes or if despite all precautions the change in diet results in vomiting, diarrhea or other signs of gastrointestinal distress, talk to your veterinarian. He or she may be able to suggest other pet food brands that are less likely to cause your pet a diet-related illness.
Dr. Jennifer Coates is a practicing veterinarian and petMD.com Spokesperson.