Dr Oz: Poisonous Ingredients In Pet Food + Illness Warning Signs

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Dr Oz: Dangerous Dog Food

Dr Oz shared that more than 161 million people are pet owners and recent headlines have sparked fear about the food we are feeding our pets. There have been alarming reports that a popular brand of dry dog food may be poisoning pets. A class action lawsuit filed in February alleges that thousands of dogs have been severely sickened, with many suffering terrible deaths from the food that contains propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is an FDA-approved additive that is also used in antifreeze, which the lawsuit alleges could be poisoning pets.

There’s also concern that dog food could contain mycotoxins, which are poisons produced by fungus that grows on grains. So what do you need to know in order to feed your pet safe food?

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Dr Oz: Propylene Glycol & Mycotoxins In Pet Food

Dr Oz: Poisonous Ingredients In Pet Food + Illness Warning Signs

After recent headlines about poisonous dog food, Dr Oz wanted to make sure his viewers knew how to keep their pets safe when it came time to feed them. (buzzfarmers / flickr)

Dr Oz welcomed veterinarian Dr Heather Loenser, who explained that propylene glycol is an additive that is actually in a lot of foods. Its job is to preserve moisture in food, which is why it’s used in cake mix, ice cream, frosting, and salad dressing. The amount of the additive that’s in food products and dog food is considered by the FDA to be safe.

As for mycotoxins, they can be found in grains that have gotten moldy, whether they got wet during the storage process or the harvesting process. What can happen is that if your dog accidentally eats some, it  can cause liver damage or some cancers. Mycotoxins won’t be listed on the label.

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Dr Loenser said some people think pet food companies are doing enough, while others argue that they aren’t. Dr Loenser said pet food companies have to report any sign of contamination to the FDA within 24 hours. Some argue that’s not working very well, and recently two senators wrote letters to the FDA asking them to make improvements when it comes to monitoring for contaminants.

Dr Oz: How To Store Dog Food

One audience member brought in her 8-year-old dog Oscar, explaining that she wanted to do anything and everything possible to make sure he’s taken care of. Dr Loenser explained that you shouldn’t feed raw meat to your pets, although some pet owners will argue otherwise. Veterinarians agree that the raw meat can be contaminated with salmonella, E. coli, or other bacteria.

She explained that you want to make sure you don’t accidentally create mold, because it’s the mold that creates the toxin. Be sure to store your pet food in a clean, dry place. When buying your dog food, be sure to check the expiration label, make sure the bag has no rips or tears, and don’t buy any dented or bulging cans.

Dr Loenser said it’s best to keep dog food in its original bag inside of an airtight container, and then store that container in a cool, dry place. You want to keep it in the bag because there are actually protective coatings in the bag to help preserve the food.

Dr Oz: Should You Make Your Own Pet Food?

Next, Denise introduced her rescue dog Mico. Denise wondered if it’s beneficial to make your own pet food as opposed to buying it. Dr Loenser said it could be tempting, thinking it’s healthier, but it could actually be difficult to formulate a nutritious meal for your pet without guidance from your veterinarian. She said you could accidentally over- or under-supplement in areas like calcium or vitamin D, and your protein and fat ratios could be off as well.

Dr Oz: Signs Of A Bad Reaction To Pet Food

Next, Jillian introduced Odie and said she was wondering how she would tell if Odie was having a bad reaction to his food. Dr Loenser said you would first look for things like vomiting or diarrhea, and also keep an eye on whether they have bloody or black stool, are drinking more water, or have recently lost an unusual amount of weight. Just keep an eye on your dog and notice if they’re acting any different.

How do you store your pet food? Are there steps you have taken to protect your pets from food-borne illness?

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