According to the FDA website, there have been 5 dog food recalls as of 4/1/15 for dog food and treats. You can see details about each recall on their website.

Here's the number of recalls since 2012:

  • 2015 – 5 as of 4/1/15
  • 2014 – 11
  • 2013 – 20
  • 2012 – 22

These are dog food and treats only. This does not include recalls on food and treats for cats or other animals.

Now, are all of these recalls due to deadly contaminations? Not necessarily. In some recall cases, there are no reports of animal getting sick from these foods. The recalls are simply a precaution due to the potential for a problem. In some cases, dogs do get very sick and die from contaminated products. In the case of salmonella, for example, healthy dogs might show minor or no symptoms at all. In fact, salmonella occurs naturally in the digestive tracts of many dogs, regardless of their diet, and healthy dogs are able to digest salmonella without any problems.

So, why then are products recalled for Salmonella? It is due more to the potential for the human handler to get sick. Handling of contaminated products can cause illness in humans. It's always wise to handle dog food and treats carefully and thoroughly wash hands after handling food. Handle dog food and treats as if you are handling raw meat you purchase from the store for you to eat.

As many of you know, the biggest scare – and the biggest eye opener – to most people came in 2007 when contaminated foods originating in China caused illness and even death for many dogs and cats. This is when it first came to light to the mainstream population that the food of our dogs and cats is not as well regulated as we had liked to think. In fact, the regulations are still fairly poor. We assume because you can purchase it in a store, that it has a label on it, that it all looks legit, that it is safe for our dogs. In some cases, that is true. But the trick is that there is no way to know for sure. But that is true of the food we buy for ourselves as well. If you want a real scare, look at all of the recalls on foods for human consumption!

There are no guarantees, and if you are counting entirely on our government to keep your dogs safe, you might be putting your dog at risk. Do your research. Have you researched the dog food and treats you give your dog? Have there ever been any recalls on these brands? If so, how did the company handle it?

We are not saying that any food that has been recalled should absolutely be removed from your possible list of foods to feed your dog. What is equally important, if not more so, in our opinion is how the company handled it. Did they make every effort to be open and honest and put the safety of our dogs first? Or did they do their best to cover it up so it was not in the mainstream media to prevent additional cost or fallout for them?

When and if you feed commercially prepared food and treats, you need to make sure you do your due diligence. Do not assume that slick marketing means absolute safety for your dog. Make sure you know the company you are dealing with. More about choosing food for your dog can be found in our resource guide. And consider researching and starting to prepare some of your own food or treats for your dog.