Another Pet Food Recall

On Friday, Mars Veterinary announced a "precautionary" dry pet food recall due to concerns over potential salmonella contamination. As far as I can tell, no pets have been reported ill. Read the recall announcement with list of recalled products.

Lisa Wogan

September 17, 2008 in Food, Health | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If You Feed Pedigree ...

... there is a recall of 20-pound bags of Pedigree Complete Nutrition Small Crunchy Bites purchased from some Albertson's stores in Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada, out of concern over Salmonella. If you have this product, please return it immediately to Albertson's for a full refund.

According to a press release from Pedigree parent company Mars Petcare US, "Pedigree Complete Nutrition Small Crunchy Bites is a multi-component dry pet food. Last week, a component that should have been on hold due to positive testing results was inadvertently shipped to our Tracy, California facility and used in the production of 100 bags of Pedigree Complete Nutrition Small Crunchy Bites with best buy dates of 07/2009."

Out of curiosity, what exactly is a "multi-component" dry pet food? I'm guessing it means fillers like corn and other grains that our dogs don't need. If you have a bag of Pedigree, please check out the ingredients list and let me know.

For tips on how to safely purchase, prepare and handle pet food, please check out this comprehensive resource page from the FDA.

Julia Kamysz Lane

August 12, 2008 in Current Affairs, Dogs and science, Food, Health, Legislation, product review | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Pets Seek Shelter From Floods

When folks in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and other river communities near the Mississippi evacuated in anticipation of flooding, many of them didn't get a chance to retrieve their pets. Or if they did, they couldn't find a safe haven that would accept them. The New York Times reports on animal flood victims, the good people who are volunteering their time, energy and money to temporarily shelter them and hopefully, reunite them with their families.

As someone who experienced Hurricane Katrina firsthand, I'm heartened to know that authorities now recognize the importance of pets in people's lives. However, awareness doesn't necessarily lead to action; people should not have to resort to living in a car with their dogs because there are no pet-friendly, temporary housing options.

To ensure that your pets will be safe in case of an emergency, create a disaster plan now. Make a list of items you would need to bring, such as food, bowls, medicine, collar, leash, etc. Contact out-of-town family and friends to ask if you and your pets could stay with them in case of an emergency.

Donations for area flood victims are welcome through the HSUS, Cedar Valley Humane Society,Cedar Rapids Animal Shelter, Last Hope Animal Rescue and Companion Animal Network.

Julia Kamysz Lane

July 1, 2008 in Current Affairs, Donations , Food, Humane, Legislation, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Feds Seize Food From PETCO Warehouse

Will the pet food industry ever get its act together? Yesterday, federal marshals seized allegedly contaminated pet food from a PETCO distribution center in suburban Chicago. The Food and Drug Administration inspected the warehouse in April and May and at both visits, found "live and dead rodents and birds on or around the pet food containers."

You'd think the third time would be the charm, but the food was again found to be stored in supposedly unsanitary conditions. PETCO vice president of corporate communications Kevin Whalen told the Associated Press the company has "acted aggressively to address each and every concern that was raised" at the government's last visit. Apparently, they need to do more.

This warehouse distributes food to Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. No one has reported any adverse effects in their pets after eating food from PETCO. However, if you live in one of these states, the FDA recommends you take precautions when handling the food. If your pet becomes ill, contact your vet immediately and alert an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.

Julia Kamysz Lane

June 20, 2008 in Current Affairs, Food, Health, Humane, Legislation, product review | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another Pet Food Recall

If your dog dines on Timberwolf Organics, be sure to read this press release. The company is recalling two formulas that were produced with these three specific "best by" dates: Dakota Bison, best by 02/12/09; Ocean Blue, best by 02/20/09; and Ocean Blue, best by 03/08/09. For more information, please email [email protected] or call (407) 877-8779.

Julia Kamysz Lane

June 5, 2008 in Current Affairs, Dogs and science, Food, Health, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

To Meat or Not To Meat?

I am not a vegetarian, so a story about a culture where people eat dogs really challenges me. I'm horrified at the thought. But I eat beef. I eat pork. I don't eat horse meat. I'll eat chicken, but wouldn't touch crow. My lines seem totally arbitrary or, at least, culturally  determined.  I don't eat duck, rabbit or lamb -- for no really defensible reason other than some gut feeling. Who is to say that eating dogs should be off limits if eating animals, in general, is not?

So I'm wondering, can you love and work for animals and still eat them? I think about the work of Temple Grandin, who is not a vegetarian, but has done much to improve conditions for animals, particularly livestock. I'd like to hear from BARk readers about how you answer this central question. If you eat meat, have you considered it a conflict? If you are a vegetarian, has your relationship with a companion animal played a role in that decision?

Lisa Wogan

May 12, 2008 in Current Affairs, Food, Health, Humane, media | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Struggling Shelter Flooded; Situation Desperate


Last November, Franklin County Animal Control in Benton, Illinois (southeast of St. Louis, MO), burned to the ground, resulting in the tragic death of more than 50 animals. The dedicated shelter staff and volunteers have made do with limited resources ever since. Rather than turn animals away, cats and kittens found refuge in a storage shed and dogs and puppies survived one of the coldest winters on record in outdoor kennels pulled from the ashes. Donations are desperately needed to rebuild, but the shelter is located in a rural area of southern Illinois where public and private funds are limited.

To make matters worse, the shelter is now struggling to stay afloat, literally, after days of rain caused flooding. In the words of the shelter director, "PLEASE PLEASE BEG PEOPLE TO HELP US. We've ... been out in the rain for the last two days getting soaked trying to get tarps back up & help all these animals, but the situation is hopeless."

Foster homes are needed most, according to Michelle Parson, President & Dog Program Director of A Caring Place Humane Society in nearby Darien, IL. If you can help, please contact Michelle at (630) 271-9002 or [email protected].

Other area shelters are also suffering due to flood waters. The photo above is from the Piedmont Animal Control Shelter, where eight dogs drowned. You can read more here.

Julia Kamysz Lane

March 20, 2008 in Current Affairs, Donations , Food, Health, Humane, media, Social/fundraiser, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Chicago Tribune Loves BARk!

To those of us who love dogs, the success of BARk magazine makes perfect sense. Who wouldn't want to read a smart periodical dedicated entirely to our cherished companions? But it's always nice when non-dog people (or entities) admit that they find it fascinating, too. So thank you, Chicago Tribune, for congratulating BARk on its 10-year anniversary in today's editorial, "That's 70 in dog years."

I especially like the dare at the end, in which the editors "defy anyone -- dog-haters and cat-lovers included -- to thumb all the way through BARk without grinning like a border collie. It will make you want to get a dog. Or be one." BARk readers, how do you feel after you read the magazine? Are you compelled to give your dog a big hug? Does it inspire you to try something new with your dog? Or add another pup to the pack? Let us know!

Julia Kamysz Lane

February 11, 2008 in Cool stuff, Current Affairs, dogparks, Food, Health, media, Recreation, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Is That A Dog Or A Coffee Table?

A few weeks ago, I visited a home as part of the adoption process for our rescue group. This couple was anxious to find a friend for their mixed-breed dog. They told me over the phone that their pup was spoiled rotten. Even so, I was not prepared for the coffee table with a wagging tail that waddled over to greet me. The poor dog was so overweight that he was practically as wide as he was tall. He was only four years old, but he walked and breathed with difficulty, as if he was much older and in poor health.

It reminded me of a recent visit to the dog park. I had joined a large group of people walking around the grassy path. Most of the dogs were running ahead to chase one another and play. But one overweight dog labored to keep up with us. I wondered aloud if she was okay. Her owner assured me that she was "just old" at eight years of age and had joint problems. I was shocked and felt really sorry for the dog. I then asked the owner to guess the age of my Catahoula, who was romping in the field with the "young" dogs. She guessed five years old. I bragged, "He's 10 years old. He competes in agility and does recreational sheep herding." Maybe he just has good genes, but I think the fact that he is in great shape has added quality years to his life.

Canine obesity is literally a growing trend. Take control of your own dog's health by checking out Stop Canine Obesity. Simply fill out the BARC (Body Assessment Rating for Canines) to determine whether your dog could stand to lose a few pounds. You can also learn more about the National Canine Weight Check, offered next month through participating veterinarians.

Julia Kamysz Lane

January 25, 2008 in Current Affairs, Food, Health, Recreation | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dog Food Company Pays $3.1 Million Settlement

Two years ago, a New York veterinarian deteremined that her client's dog died due to tainted dog food. Soon thereafter, Diamond Pet Foods recalled 20 varieties of dog and cat food. The food was contaminated by aflatoxin, which naturally results from a fungus often found on corn. (For a list of ingredients to avoid and why, go to The Dog Food Project.) Diamond admitted that its plant in South Carolina failed to do internal quality testing and agreed to pay a $3.1 million settlement toward victims' expenses, including veterinary bills. Owners whose dogs died are eligible for up to $1,000 (a laughable number considering how priceless our canine companions truly are). For more info or to make a claim, go to Diamond's Recalled Pet Food Settlement Web site.

Julia Kamysz Lane

January 4, 2008 in Current Affairs, Dogs and science, Food, Health, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack