Did you know that tracking pet food recalls is something you can do yourself? That’s right. No need to wait and hear about it from another source. You can find out right away what food item has been recalled, as well as when, and why, and where it was sold. Without a doubt, this is vital information and something that every concerned pet guardian would want to know. As soon as possible. And, before they could give it to their dog or cat.

Pet food sales are halted when the health of companion animals is at risk
Pet food sales are halted when the health of companion animals is at risk

Petful Tracks Pet Food Recalls

So, let me introduce you now to Dave Baker, the creator and publisher of Petful. This is a website where anyone can view the constantly updated lists of recalls for both dog food and cat food. Baker started compiling this highly valuable information some 10 years ago. What’s more, Pet Radio praised his work for being the best, most complete list of its kind online.

“Petful is a place where people can come to get information to give their pets the longest, happiest, healthiest life possible,” says Baker. “No big corporation has its muddy paws on us. We’re one hundred percent independent.” And, despite managing numerous endeavors, he proudly assures readers that all emails about the site’s recall alerts go directly to him. Not only that, he personally responds to each one. “I, and the entire team at Petful, we’re passionate about this,” Baker adds. Well, if that doesn’t inspire confidence in others, I don’t know what does!

What Exactly Is A Pet Food Recall?

Before looking at examples on the lists that track recalls for canine and feline pet food, I’d like to do this. Give an outline of just what’s involved in these kinds of recalls and why they happen.

Firstly, a food item can be taken off the market for a number of reasons. For instance:

  • Errors in formulation that could cause illness.
  • Presence of bacteria or toxic matter that have health consequences.
  • Detection of foreign objects, like plastic, metal or glass, that make the food unsafe to eat.
  • Improper labeling, including warnings about ingredients that can cause allergic reactions.
  • Incorrect packaging and labeling for a specific product.
  • Misleading claims. For example, stating that an ingredient will result in something that hasn’t been scientifically proven.
  • Unsanitary/toxic/hazardous manufacturing environments and procedures.

What Is A Voluntary Recall?

Secondly, we want readers to know who actually instigates a recall.

  • There are voluntary recalls when producers become aware of a problem. Consequently they take the initiative to stop manufacturing, delivering and allowing their food product to be sold. The detection will occur during internal inspections and product testings.
  • In addition, certain federal government institutions have the ability to mandate recalls. They may be either the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Regulation violations are found during an inspection at the food processing facility.

It’s important to point out that the USDA is involved only when a product is categorized as human grade pet food. That means, fit for human consumption. In all other instances, the FDA inspects all products classified as pet feed. 

Keep your dogs and cats safe by tracking pet food recalls as soon as they are announced
Keep your dogs and cats safe by tracking pet food recalls as soon as they are announced

These Pet Food Sales Were Halted

From the lists that track pet food recalls, I have selected three to summarize for you now. Two describe dog food and one deals with cat food. And, two made the lists earlier this year (2020) and one between January and May 2019.

Nature’s Menu Chicken and Quail Dog Food

  • Manufactured by Sunshine Mills Inc.
  • Announced by the FDA on August 24, 2020, for potential salmonella contamination.

Georgia (state) Department of Agriculture initiated the recall after testing a sample bag of the dry food product. Unfortunately, it was positive for salmonella. As a result of the findings, Sunshine Mills issued a voluntary nationwide recall, out of an abundance of caution. Later, the company announced that no other products were affected.  Neither were there any reports of dogs becoming ill after ingesting the food.

Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Cat Food

  • Manufactured by J.M. Smucker Company.
  • Announced by the FDA on July 3, 2020, for elevated levels of choline chloride, considered dangerous or even fatal if fed to cats.
  • It was distributed to pet stores across the United States and Canada.

By doing a little research on my own, I learned that choline is a necessary nutrient. It impacts liver function, brain development, muscle movement, the nervous system and metabolism. And, it is present in liver, eggs, salmon, broccoli and soybean oil, for example.

Most commercial pet foods contain choline chloride, which is the supplemental form. However, when a manufacturer adds excessive amounts to the feed, it is definitely harmful. Symptoms that may occur range from vomiting and difficulty walking to tremors and cardiac failure. 

The manufacturer admitted that, early on, they had been notified of adverse reactions in pets. Consequently, they suspended the sale of this particular pet food.  They also urged the public to immediately contact a veterinarian if their cat had become ill after eating this product.

Pet food sales are halted when the health of companion animals is at risk

Hill’s Science Diet and Prescription Diet Canned Dog Foods

  • Manufactured by Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc.
  • Announced by the FDA on January 31, 2019, plus updates on March 20 and May 15, for elevated levels of Vitamin D.
  • Multiple flavors were affected and distributed across the United States through retail stores and veterinary clinics.  

This recall only affected canned dog foods, not any dry dog foods or cat foods. 

At the time, the FDA stated that Vitamin D was an essential nutrient. However, it also warned that ingestion of elevated levels could lead to potential health issues.

Vitamin D And Dogs

As in the previous example, I did more research myself on Vitamin D and dogs. Vital information like this will give you a better perspective on the importance that tracking pet food recalls has.

This essential nutrient helps dogs regulate the balance and retention of calcium and phosphorus. It is necessary not only for bone formation but it also plays an important role in heart, muscle and nerve function.

When dogs ingest elevated levels of Vitamin D, they may exhibit symptoms. Some of these include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

The fact that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, not a water-soluble vitamin, is what causes the most serious effect. So when a dog gets too much, the excess is not rapidly excreted in the urine. And, this can lead to kidney failure.

The media often announces alerts when pet food sales are halted and why

To Sum Up

At the time of publishing, the number of 2020 dog food recalls was 8, and 2 for cat food recalls, In 2019, there were 10 for dogs (plus one cautionary letter), and 7 for cats. And in 2018, the totals were 35 for dogs, and 11 for cats. Stats for prior years are also available.

More than 30,000 pet parents have subscribed to Petful recall alerts. It’s a service that’s free and fast, and some notifications arrive even before they are put out by the FDA. Click here to be—and stay—informed.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe! 

For an introduction to those who fight fearlessly for healthy pet food, go to

If you’re concerned about the production of mealtime food, take a look at this:

Here’s why we think it’s time to ban the manufacture of rawhide bone chews:

If you want to know how marketing techniques influence choice, go to

Another article related to this topic stresses the importance of meat:


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