Among the major reasons for dog food recalls are contaminations, excessive or deficiency of key ingredients identified by AAFCO as essential.
What is bad dog food?
Bad dog food is any commercial pet food that contains ingredients that are harmful to your dog’s health.
These harmful ingredients can include:
1. Contaminants such as toxins, heavy metals, or bacteria
2. Excessive or deficient levels of key nutrients
3. Adulterated ingredients such as fillers, binders, or flavorings
4. Unsafe or inappropriate levels of vitamins and minerals
5. Incomplete or unbalanced nutrition
While the above-listed items are among the most common reasons for dog food recalls, they are not the only potential dangers present in commercial pet foods.
Other harmful ingredients that may be found in bad dog food include:
- Artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- By-products from rendering plants
- Feeding rendered animals (e.g., “4-D” meats)
- High fructose corn syrup
- Meat and bone meal
- Mono and diglycerolides
- Propylene glycol
- Rendered animal fat
- excessive Salt
- Soy protein isolate
- Excess sugar
- Sweeteners such as xylitol
- Trans fats
- Wheat gluten
While some of the above-listed ingredients may not be harmful in and of themselves, they can become dangerous when used in excess or when they are used to replace more nutritious ingredients.
it can make your dog very sick. Some of the known contaminants in pet foods are:*
- Aflatoxins: Aflatoxins are poisonous compounds produced by certain molds that can grow on grains and other crops used in pet foods.
- * Ethoxyquin: This is a chemical preservative used in some pet foods. It has been linked to liver disease, skin problems, and other health issues in dogs.
- * Melamine: This is a chemical that has been found in pet foods that were contaminated with melamine. It can cause kidney failure in dogs.
- * Salmonella: This is a bacteria that can contaminate pet food and make dogs sick.
- * Toxins: There are many different toxins that can contaminate pet food, such as lead, mercury, Bisphenol A (BPA)* E. coli* Heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury)* Mold and mycotoxins* PCBs*.
Deficiency or excess nutrients:
Dogs need a balanced diet to stay healthy. If pet food is deficient or excessive in certain nutrients, it can cause health problems in dogs. For example, too much phosphorus can lead to kidney disease, while too little vitamin A can cause eye and skin problems.
In general, you should avoid feeding your dog any pet food that contains:
* Artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
* Meat meals or by-products
* Rendered products
If you are unsure about the ingredients in pet food, you should contact the manufacturer for more information. You can also check the website of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to see if pet food meets their standards.
First symptoms of dog food poisoning:
The first symptoms of dog food poisoning usually appear within a few hours to a few days after eating the contaminated food. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. In severe cases, dogs may also experience seizures, coma, and death.
Symptoms of bad dog food:
When you feed your dog food that has contaminants such as aflatoxins, Ethoxyquin, Melamine, Salmonella, Toxins or feeds deficiency or having key nutrients in excess, below are the symptoms of these bad dog food;
- Allergies: Allergies are a reaction of the immune system to a foreign substance, such as a protein in food that the dog’s body does not ‘like’. Allergies can cause symptoms such as itching, red and inflamed skin, hair loss, and gastrointestinal problems.
- Anemia: bad dog food such as those with contaminants can cause anemia, which is a condition where there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, pale gums, and shortness of breath.
- Diarrhea: Diarrhea is a common symptom of gastrointestinal problems. It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as infections, allergies, and intestinal parasites.
- Fatigue: Fatigue is a common symptom of many illnesses and can be caused by a lack of nutrients in the diet.
- Fever: A fever is a common symptom of infection. It can also be caused by some types of cancer.
- Lethargy: Lethargy is a state of tiredness and lack of energy. It can be caused by many factors, including illness, stress, and a lack of nutrients in the diet.
- Loss of Appetite: A loss of appetite can be caused by many factors, including illness, stress, and a lack of nutrients in the diet.
- Skin problems: Skin problems are common in dogs and can be caused by allergies, infections, hormonal imbalances, and nutritional deficiencies.
- Vomiting: Vomiting is a common symptom of many illnesses and can be caused by a variety of factors, such as infections, allergies, and intestinal parasites.
- Weight loss: Weight loss can be caused by many factors, including illness, stress, and a lack of nutrients in the diet.
Severe vs less-severe symptoms from bad dog food:
In general, the symptoms of bad dog food will depend on the severity of the contamination or deficiency. For example, a mild case of Salmonella poisoning may only cause diarrhea, while a more severe case may lead to dehydration and death.
The same is true for other contaminants, such as toxins and heavy metals. A mild case may only cause vomiting and diarrhea, while a more severe case can lead to organ damage and death.
As for deficiencies, the symptoms will depend on the nutrient that is lacking. For example, a vitamin A deficiency can cause dry skin and eyes, while a phosphorus deficiency can cause kidney disease.
Diagnosing the cause of bad dog diet symptoms
If you think your dog may be sick, it is important to take them to the vet for a check-up. The vet will be able to diagnose the cause of the symptoms and determine if they are linked to the diet.
Diagnosis of bad dog food usually starts with a physical examination and a history of the pet. A complete blood count, biochemical profile, and urinalysis are often recommended to evaluate for anemia, organ dysfunction, and dehydration.
Dogs with gastrointestinal symptoms may also need x-rays or an ultrasound to evaluate for foreign bodies, tumors, or inflammatory bowel disease.
A food trial is often recommended to rule out food allergies or intolerance as the cause of the symptoms. This involves switching to a hypoallergenic diet for 8-12 weeks and seeing if the symptoms improve.
If the diagnosis is still unclear, more specialized tests, such as skin or blood tests for allergies, may be recommended.
Treatment of bad dog food:
The treatment of bad dog food will depend on the cause of the symptoms. For example, dogs with Salmonella poisoning will need to be treated with antibiotics and fluids to prevent dehydration.
Dogs with allergies or intolerance will need to be switched to a hypoallergenic diet. Dogs with gastrointestinal problems may need special diets or supplements to help ease the symptoms.
In severe cases, dogs may need to be hospitalized for treatment.
Preventing bad dog food:
The best way to prevent bad dog food is to buy from a reputable source and to regularly check the expiration date. It is also important to store the food in a cool, dry place and to keep it away from pests.
Avoid dog food with recalls by checking the FDA’s website or calling the manufacturer.
Checking for symptoms and getting treatment early is important to prevent bad dog food from becoming a serious problem.
If you make your own dog food, it is important to use fresh, high-quality ingredients and to cook the food thoroughly.
Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org