Saturday, February 18, 2017

FDA Caution Regarding Dog Food

FDA Cautions Pet Owners and Caretakers Not to Feed Certain Evanger’s or Against the Grain Canned Pet Foods Due to Adulteration with Pentobarbital

February 17, 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising pet owners and caretakers not to feed their pets certain lots of Evanger’s canned Hunk of Beef or Against the Grain Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy canned dog food after unopened cans from both brands were found to contain pentobarbital, a barbiturate.

Pentobarbital is a drug that is used in animal euthanasia. It should not be in pet food and its presence as detected by the FDA in these products renders them adulterated.

The FDA was unable to determine from available records whether any other Evanger’s or Against the Grain products made with beef contain any of the beef that went into the recalled products. Additionally, the agency concluded an inspection of the manufacturing facilities on February 14, 2017, and noted numerous significant concerns with conditions found at both the Wheeling, IL and Markham, IL plants. These are initial observations and do not represent a final agency determination regarding the firm.

Following discussions with the FDA, Evanger’s initiated a voluntary recall on February 3, 2017, of certain lots of its 12-ounce Hunk of Beef canned dog food: 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB, all with an expiration date of June 2020.

In the course of the investigation, the FDA tested two cans of Against the Grain brand canned Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy dog food manufactured in the same facilities as Evanger’s products and using beef from the same supplier: these samples also tested positive for pentobarbital. On February 9, 2017, after conversations with the FDA, Against the Grain voluntarily recalled lot 2415E01ATB12 BEST DEC 2019 of this product. The company issued a public notice about its recall on February 13, 2017. To date, the FDA is not aware of any pet illnesses associated with the Against the Grain product.

The FDA began investigating Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company Inc. when it learned about five dogs in a single household that suffered acute neurological symptoms shortly after eating the product. One dog was euthanized after secondary complications, and three others recovered after receiving veterinary care. One of the dogs treated remains on seizure medication, and the fifth dog that ate the least amount of food recovered with time.

The stomach contents of the deceased dog and an open can of the product were tested by an FDA Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network lab, and unopened cans of the product from the pet owner and retailer that sold the products (from the same production lot), were tested by FDA’s lab. All of the samples tested positive for pentobarbital.

In its recent press release announcing a limited product recall, Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Company, Inc. stated that the beef for its Hunk of Beef product came from a “USDA approved” supplier. However, the FDA reviewed a bill of lading from Evanger’s supplier of “Inedible Hand Deboned Beef - For Pet Food Use Only. Not Fit For Human Consumption" and determined that the supplier’s facility does not have a grant of inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The meat products from this supplier do not bear the USDA inspection mark and would not be considered human grade. USDA-FSIS regulates slaughter of animals for human consumption only. Testing by USDA-FSIS of Evanger’s Hunk of Beef confirmed that the meat used in the product was bovine (beef).

The investigation by the FDA is ongoing and includes examination of the suppliers of beef to Evanger’s and Against the Grain to determine a possible cause for the presence of pentobarbital. The FDA is also coordinating with the USDA to address any possible areas of shared jurisdiction at the suppliers.

Oral exposure to pentobarbital can cause drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner), inability to stand, coma and death. Consumers who notice these symptoms in their pets should consult their veterinarian.
Consumers with cans of product subject to the facilities' voluntary recalls should refer to the firms’ respective press releases for information about returning the product. Read the entire article

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Recall: Blue Buffalo

Pet Food News / Pet Food Recalls By Tim Wall On February 13, 2017

Blue Buffalo recalls chicken dinner canned dog food A production run may have been contaminated with aluminum.

Blue Buffalo recalled cans of their Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight, Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables dog food. A single production run of the 12.5 ounce cans may have been contaminated with aluminum.

Recalled dog food UPC: 8-40243-10017-0

Recalled dog food Best by Date: August 3, 2019 Customers can return recalled cans for a full refund at their local retailer. For more information, please call 866-800-2917. Read the entire article

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Recall: Against the Grain

For Immediate Release February 14, 2017

Out of an abundance of caution, Against the Grain Pet Food is voluntarily recalling one lot of Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs that was manufactured and distributed in 2015.

The 12 oz. Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs that is being voluntarily recalled, due to the potential presence of pentobarbital, has an expiration date of December 2019, a lot number of 2415E01ATB12, and the second half of the UPC code is 80001 (which can be found on the back of the product label).

Oral exposure to pentobarbital can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner), inability to stand and coma.

Note: To-date, no complaints have been reported to Against the Grain for this single lot number nor any of Against the Grain’s pet foods, since the company was founded.

In 2015, this one lot of product was distributed to independent pet retail stores in Washington and Maryland, though it has been verified that this lot is no longer on any store shelves. This voluntary recall only affects one specific lot of food.

Consumers may return any can with the aforementioned lot number, to their place of purchase and receive a full case of Against the Grain food for the inconvenience. For any questions, customers may contact the company at 1-800-288-6796 between 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM Central Time, Monday - Friday. Read the entire article

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Monday, January 16, 2017

How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing!

1. Prevention! Want your dog to stop chewing up your stuff? Don’t let him chew up your stuff. Easier said than done! Puppy proof your house. Keep your puppy where you can see him/her. Having privileges of the whole house need to be earned, after you can trust Rover to not destroy things. Babygates, tethering the dog to you, keeping him/her in the same room you are in so you can keep an eye on things. When your dog has developed good chew toy habits and has stopped making mistakes, you then can allow more freedom when s/he’s home alone.

2. Prevent boredom! Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Go on an adventure: walks, hikes, play fetch, play tug-of-war, play with flirt-poles. Don’t forget about brain work. Your dog needs mental stimulation. Ideas: agility, puppy class, canine disc, trick training, scent work, obedience training. Feeding your dog from puzzle toys such as the Nina Ottoson Brick or Spinner or any of the slow feed bowls also works your dog's brain.

3. Get rid of the food bowl! There is a very simple thing that will produce a fast and huge change in your dog’s behavior — hand feed your dog! Yes, put the food bowl away for a month and feed all meals by hand! When you hand feed your dog, you make yourself very important, you can teach bite inhibition and you will gain your dog’s undivided attention! Click here for ideas on hand feeding

4. Chew toys! Teach your dog to chew on safe pet chew toys such as the class Kong. Make it exciting by not leaving the chew toys out all the time. Make a big deal out of the chew toy when you hand it over. Make your Kong a bowl! You can stuff your dog’s daily food allowance into a KONG instead, offering him much more stimulation and exercise than simply gobbling it out of a bowl. Split your dog’s daily ration of food into 4 or 5 and place into 4 or 5 KONGs. Now hide them in different places about the house or garden.

5. Redirect the wrong behavior! When your dog is in a chewing mood and going for something s/he should not have, get some high-value chews or that stuffed chew toy. Teach your dog, "don't chew that, chew this!".

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Clicker Training vs. Verbal Marker

Clicker Training vs Treat: Equally Good in Dog Training
By: Companion Animal Psychology

Scientists find unanticipated results in a study that compares the clicker to a verbal reward-marker and the use of food alone in dog training.

An Australian Shepherd looks at a clicker in a dog training session

The study, by Cinzia Chiandetti (University of Trieste) et al took 51 pet dogs and trained them on a novel task. 17 dogs were trained using a clicker, 17 using a verbal reward marker (“Bravo”), and 17 with only a reward. Then they tested the dogs to see how well they performed when asked to generalize the training to something similar and something more different.

The results were a surprise to the scientists, who expected to find that using the clicker would lead to better results. In fact there was no difference between the three groups of dogs.

They write,

“Although we should be cautious in drawing any strong conclusion from statistically non-significant results, our study is consistent with previous works conducted in different laboratories with both dogs and horses… which, taken together, point toward no advantage in favor of the shaping method using one acoustic signal over another.”

A clicker is a secondary reinforcer, meaning something that predicts a primary reinforcer (food) is coming. This is a classical conditioning relationship (click means treat). The clicker or verbal reward is used to mark the precise time at which the dog is performing the behaviour that earns a reward. It is commonly used in reward-based dog training.

Proponents of clicker training have often argued there is something about the click which makes dogs learn better. The purpose of the study was to test this idea, since we don’t know without empirical evidence (see: canine science is better than common sense).

In this study, the verbal reward marker was “Bravo.” It was always said in a neutral tone of voice. Read the entire article

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Cold Weather Tips

Cold Weather Safety Tips aspca.org

Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:

Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.

Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and

stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes. Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.

Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death. Read the entire article

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