How to Find and Report Dog Product Recalls

by

Maria Reverberi

Last updated April 14, 2018

What This Article Covers

As dog parents, we rely on our babies' favorite food and treats. We either buy canned or dry kibbles. Unfortunately, we are not always aware of problems with packaged foods until someone's furry one is endangered or dies from consuming a product.

Dog parents and some veterinarians may not know a particular food or brand has been recalled by the manufacturer. Rather than being surprised, you should check your on your dog's brand or any other dog food prior to buying your baby their grub.

Where to go for Recalls

FEDERAL DRUG ADMINISTRATION (ADA)

The best place to check for recalls is the Federal Drug Administration's website.  Under the Animal & Veterinary section, you'll find recalls & withdrawals listed. Here, you'll see products listed by date, brand name, product description, reason/problem, and the company. 

Every month, the FDA publishes reports on widespread contaminated products that have been recalled. Per the FDA, "When an FDA-regulated product is either defective or potentially harmful, recalling that product—removing it from the market or correcting the problem—is the most effective means for protecting the public."

Contrary to belief, the FDA's role is to "oversee a company's strategy and assess the adequacy of the recall." Therefore, they don't look for recalls. Most of the time, recalls are voluntary. Responsible businesses recall products when they realize something is wrong with their product.  These companies contact the FDA immediately.  Sometimes, when the product continues to be in the market and that product alarms the FDA, a company will also recall it.  Products recalled by the FDA are rare. In the event the FDA recalls a product, that means the issue with the product is severe.

MANUFACTURER

Pet food companies who are diligent will recall their bad products prior to reaching the distributer's stores or will recall those products from store's shelves. 

Usually, pet food companies-- especially well-known brands-- place announcements in the news, emails, or advertisements.  It is always a good idea to go to your dog's dog food brand manufacturer website and check for any announcements made by the company.

If you suspect the food you bought for your little one is bad,  don't feed it to your dog. Alert the store you bought the food at and also notify the manufacturer. Stores like Petsmart, Petco and Amazon post recalls on their websites.

How to Report a Bad Product

When you open a can of wet food or dry kibbles, check to make sure the food is good.  If you smell a foul odor, notice the food is off-color or find a foreign object inside, it is most likely contaminated. If you notice the can or pouch are swollen or you have a leaking container, those are immediate reasons for concern. 

The FDA has their "Safely Reporting Portal" where consumers can file complaints online. This is the easiest and fastest way. Take a photo, document it and include it in your complaint.  Basically, anything that is tangible and visible serves as evidence.  

However,  you should keep in mind the FDA does not pay for private laboratory testing, reimburse veterinary bills or pay retribution for the loss of your dog in the event he or she dies from contamination.  The FDA's job is to monitor and report complaints it receives. 

If you file a report, the FDA will review it and then determine whether it should do a follow-up investigation. Follow-up investigations include, but are not limited to, pet food or treat collection, and asking for a sample from your dog in order to conduct a diagnostic analysis.

Dog Food Bowl

When you go to the FDA's website's Safety Reporting Portal, make sure you provide the following details. 

Per the FDA, follow the steps below:

  • "Exact name of the product and product description (as stated on the product label).
  • Type of container (e.g. box, bag, can, pouch, etc.).
  • Product intended to be refrigerated, frozen or stored at room temperature.
  • Lot number - This number is often hard to find and difficult to read.  It is stamped onto the product packaging and typically includes a combination of letters and numbers, and is always in close proximity to the best before or expiration date (when applicable).  The lot number is very important as it helps determine the manufacturing plant and production date.
  • Best before date or expiration date.
  • UPC code (also known as the barcode).
  • Net weight.
  • Purchase date and exact location where purchased.
  • Results of any laboratory testing performed on the pet food product.
  • How the food was stored, prepared, and handled."

Contact Dog Food Manufacturers

If you are concerned about your dog's food, go to the manufacturer's website. Most reputable top dog food brands have a contact page and/or information listed on their website.  Also, they have social media sites so you can communicate directly with their Facebook page. 

Per Google, the top five brands listed by consumers are:

  1. Royal Canin
  2. Hills Ideal Balance
  3. Taste of the Wild
  4. Purina ProPlan
  5. Blue Buffalo

Each of these companies have great websites with food, pet care and nutrition facts, social media accounts, and more. If their products have any recalls, they will let the public and their customer's know. 

Contact the AVMA

The American Veterinary Medical Association sends out immediate alerts and updates whenever they receive notification that pet foods or animal-related products have been recalled. 

Their Animal Food Recalls and Alerts posted on their website page lists the last 90 days of any recalls and alerts announced by the FDA.  They also post all alerts from the last 365 days.  Log-in to their website to check if your brand has been recalled.

Their AVMA Recall Watch on Twitter account posts daily recalls and alerts. You don't have to have a Twitter account or profile in order to look for the alerts. They also post recalls and alerts on their Facebook page

The AVMA also has a page where you can report adverse reactions to any food your dog has digested. If your baby throws up, has diarrhea, convulsions, etc., take them to the ER immediately. If your physician determines the food product was the cause of your little one's compromised health, send a copy of the report to the AVMA and ADA.

Moreover, per the AVMA, animal owners and veterinarians should follow the following steps prior to reporting an incident:

"Animal Owners

  • Consult with your veterinarian about the possible adverse events associated with the product or device being used and contact your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately if you observe any signs of an adverse event.
  • Your veterinarian may report the adverse event to the appropriate agency and provide the necessary information. If your veterinarian reports the adverse event, you do not need to file a report. If your veterinarian has not reported the adverse event, or if your veterinarian was not involved in the treatment, you may need to report the adverse event.
  • Different government agencies oversee different products, so the reporting process will vary. The product label or other packaging should indicate the regulatory authority, and your veterinarian can help with this as well. 
  • Regardless of the government agency involved, the manufacturer should be notified of the adverse event.
  • Reporting adverse events allows the government, manufacturers, and veterinarians to investigate and determine if the involved product's labeling or use should be changed.  
Veterinarians
  • The AVMA strongly encourages veterinarians to report adverse events and has developed the Adverse Event Reporting Policy.
  • Veterinarians reporting adverse events provide regulatory authorities and manufacturers with reliable and critical information that is used to monitor and evaluate safety and efficacy of products and devices used in the field.
  • Reporting allows authorities and manufacturers to monitor for emerging trends in events, investigate whether the events can be attributed to the given product or device, and take appropriate corrective measures.
  • Veterinarians, clients, and patients benefit from adverse event reporting and subsequent actions taken (e.g., label change) if needed."

Follow Canine Informative Websites

There dog informative dog websites that keep tract of dog food recalls. Sign up with these sites and sign up to receive alerts. When recalls are announced, you'll immediately be notified. You will receive messages via text, email or twitter. 

Some of these dog websites are:

Dog Food Advisor

Peftful

Consumer Affairs Pet Food Recalls & Warnings

Pet Food Industry

Top Dog Tips

Research well before you change foods. I know this is hard because your baby needs to weaned out of the old food while slowly eating the new. My Harley has gone through several changes in diet due to her sensitive digestive system.  A few years back, I was scared when there was a huge recall on Nutro.  I was happy my little Harley was not affected. I changed brands immediately.

Staying proactive on the types of foods and treats your furry one eats is essential to his/her well-being. Sign up for alerts to keep notified of any recalls. Being informed will make sure you keep your baby safe.