What to do if there’s a problem with your pet’s food

We love our pets as pet owners and strive to give them the best possible care.

It can be devastating to learn that we have put our pets at risk inadvertently.

In recent years, there have unfortunately been several cases of pets becoming ill after eating food or treats.

Some foods are toxic or contaminated. Other times, pets’ reactions may be due to their pet consuming too many or too few nutrients or ingredients.

When an incident occurs, understandably, pet owners are filled with fear and worry.

What you can do

Contact manufacturer immediately

Pet food can also be recalled, just like human food, if there is a problem, in order to minimize the risk that other pets will also be affected.

Pet food recalls, unlike human food, are only required for brands that comply with the Australian Standard for the Manufacturing and Marketing of Pet Food Standard AS5812:2017 – including all members of the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia.

You should contact the manufacturer as soon as you can to express your concern. Contact details are usually found on the packaging.

You can also complain to the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia.

Talk to your vet.

It would be best if you spoke to your veterinarian as soon as you can. Early treatment is important for many problems, regardless of the cause.

Your vet may already be aware of a problem with pet food, or they may have been alerted to it by your case. Your vet will then be able to log the issue through a system known as PetFAST. This was established in 2011 and helps vets record problems and share information.

Don’t just look at your pet’s food bowl

If your pet shows signs of stomach upset, it is natural to be concerned.

It’s important to be open-minded and look at all the possible causes of illness, including those that are not related to your pet’s diet.

In Sydney, for example, there were multiple leptospirosis outbreaks earlier this year. This is a rare bacteria that can be contracted by dogs who drink contaminated water from puddles and ponds.

Accidental poisoning of pets is also common. Does your pet have access to areas where toxic substances could be found? You can encounter poisonous substances in your home or backyard (such as household chemicals).

Use commercial pet food of good quality

We at the RSPCA feed and recommend Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Pet owners often enjoy the idea of making their treats and food for their pets. This can be a great way to feel in control over what they feed them.

But be careful – animals, like humans, need a balanced and complete diet that meets their nutritional requirements. You’ll need to do a lot more research and work in order to ensure that you are providing your pet with the right nutrients.

Raw meat can be contaminated with harmful preservatives, such as those used to preserve ‘pet’ meat (so all raw meat and raw meaty bone products should only be of human grade).

The tummies of our pets also do not respond well to changes in diet. Your pet may not like to eat the same thing every day for breakfast, dinner, and lunch, but you might! The best meals for pets are those that have a consistent routine and include some extras to help with dental care, enrichment, entertainment, or even a treat.


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