The Dangers of Salmonella in our Pet's Food
The dangers of Salmonella tainted dog food has been all over the news.
Is your family in danger?
Salmonella is a bacterium virus that occurs mainly in the intestines and can cause diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal cramps 12 - 72 hours after infection. The illness can last four to seven days with most people recovering without seeking medical treatment. In some cases, the severity of the sickness can cause death.
Who's Most At Risk?
Young children and the elderly are the most susceptible to this dangerous virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that 22 people in 13 states and 2 from Canada have gotten Salmonella. Diamond Pet Food's and Country Value were part of a recent voluntarily recall list for possibly being linked to some of these infections. Although the CDC has not yet confirmed that the recall was the entire result of the Salmonella outbreaks, Diamond Pet Food Company is taking precautionary actions to remove products that were supposedly linked to these infections.
Some of the brands included in this voluntary recall:
- Kirkland Signature and Kirkland Signature Domain
- Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul
- Country Value
- Diamond Naturals
- Premium Edge
- Taste of the Wild
If you have any of these brands of dog food in your home, your first step needs to be properly disposing of it right away. Make sure the food is properly placed into a sealed plastic bag that is secured to prevent other animals from coming in contact with it, including wild life. Dispose with your garbage.
Steps to Take to Prevent Salmonella
Washing your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap after feeding or giving treats, cleaning up a poo mess, or touching/handling the family pet is very important.
When taking care of doggy poo business, it is important that you are using appropriate items to dispose and handle pets poop. If you use gloves, please try to use disposable ones. If your method is to use a scooper (a poop scoop with handles), please clean and disinfect it once a week. Bags are the best way to go, because you can seal them and dispose of them into a sealed trash can. Don't forget to be responsible and pick up after your dog on walks too. Salmonella can easily survive for weeks outside a living body. Spray the area or water your yard where your pet relieves himself.
Are you a cat owner? There are precautions that you need to take as well. Make sure to clean your kitty's litter box daily, using seal-able bags to properly dispose of their poo. Wash your hands after cleaning the litter box and petting your kitty. Once a week, properly disinfect your kitty's litter box and scooper with bleach and putting in fresh, clean litter.
During this recall period, it is important to keep your children safely away from dog food and areas where your pet is eating. When giving treats, make sure to also wash your hands afterwards, plain ol' dog food is used often for training purposes.
TRAINER TIP: When training an 8-12 week old puppy, it is important that you interact and engage with a puppy while they eat. Children and adults should place their hands in their puppy's food dish to teach their puppy to not guard their food and to accept all types of touch around food. This is very important. However, when children are participating in this an adult should supervise and immediately wash their child's hands thoroughly afterward. This training technique should be done 1 feeding a day for one (1) month to prevent food aggression.
Avoid feeding your pets food from your plate or the table. Their saliva can come into contact with your hands which then touch the food that you put into your mouth; this is a great way to pass Salmonella to one another. Besides, you don't want your pets begging at the table when you are eating your meal, right? Do you want kitty to jump and walk all over your counter tops after they just used their litter box? This will help train them that begging is not rewarded and jumping on the counters doesn't get them food.
If you suspect that your family or pet has Salmonella it is important to contact your City Health Department and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Complaint Coordinators to report the illness.
If the illness lasts for more then three (3) days, seek medical treatment immediately for both family members and pets. Like I mentioned above, immediately dispose of any contaminated food properly and stop feeding your pet this food. Make sure to write down the UPC number and brand of food from the bag before disposing of it. The information might be needed from your doctor, vet, City Healthy Department, or the FDA.
I hope these tips help your family and pets stay healthy. Remember, the best thing you can do is consistently wash your hands in hot water and soap when handling pets or their food.