What to Do if Your Dog or Cat Has Been Sickened by Contaminated Pet Food

Ryan Osterholm and His Dog, Norm
Attorney Ryan Osterholm and His Dog, Norm

Money damages recoverable in pet injury or death cases are controlled by the law of the state in which the incident occurred. Because there are 50 different rules affecting such claims, it is not possible to give a comprehensive answer about the laws in all 50 states.

Generally speaking, however, many states’ laws limit the recovery in pet cases to the replacement value of the animal (in the case of death) and/or the cost of veterinary bills incurred in treating the animal. Most states do not allow for the recovery of sentimental or emotional loss suffered by the pet owner.

Laws that limit damages recoverable by pet owners are antiquated and unfair. Unfortunately, attempts to overcome those laws have not met with much success. Most likely, your state does not give you or your pet the legal right to sue for your or your pet’s pain and suffering.

If your dog is currently sick or has recently been sick, and you believe it is connected to contaminated pet food, you can report this to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the Safety Reporting Portal.

The FDA recommends working with your veterinarian to submit the information.

The following is information you should have before you go to this federal reporting page:

  • Species (dog, cat);
  • Age, weight, breed, pregnant, spayed/neutered;
  • Previous health status of pet;
  • Any pre-existing conditions your pet has;
  • Whether you give your pet any other foods, treats, dietary supplements or drugs;
  • How much of the suspected product your pet normally consumes;
  • How much of the “suspect” product was consumed from the package;
  • How much of the product you still have;
  • Clinical signs exhibited by your pet (such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy);
  • How soon after consuming the product the clinical signs appeared;
  • Your veterinarian’s contact information, diagnosis and medical records for your pet;
  • Results of any diagnostic laboratory testing performed on your pet;
  • How many pets consuming the product exhibited clinical symptoms;
  • Whether any pets that consumed the product are not affected;
  • Whether your pet spends time outdoors unsupervised;
  • Why you suspect the pet food caused the illness;
  • Exact name of the product and product description (as stated on the product label);
  • Type of container (e.g. box, bag, can, pouch, etc.);
  • Product intended to be refrigerated, frozen, or stored at room temperature;
  • Lot number of product;
  • Best by, best before or expiration date;
  • UPC code (also known as the bar code);
  • Net weight;
  • Purchase date and exact location where purchased;
  • Results of any laboratory testing performed on the pet food product; and
  • How the food was stored, prepared, and handled.

Our law firm represents people harmed by adulterated food products. Unfortunately, we do not handle pet injury or death claims and cannot represent your pet in a claim. However, as loving pet owners ourselves, we wanted to provide information on what to do if your pet has been sickened or killed after eating contaminated pet food.

Pet Food Recalls

For more information about the most recent recalls for contaminated pet food, visit the FDA’s web site. In most cases, you can return any recalled pet food product for a refund to the store where you bought it.

Nutrena NatureWise Meatbird Feed

July 1, 2014 – Cargill recalled certaon lots of Nutrena NatureWise meatbird feed because of excess levels of sodium. Excess levels of sodium in diets for meatbirds can cause pulmonary hypertension, increased mortality, reduced growth rate, increased water consumption, wet droppings, and wet litter. The recalled feed was distributed in Iowa, Illinois, and possibly Missouri. Products were sold in 40-lb. bags under the name NatureWise Meatbird 22% Crumble with the product code 91585-40 and lot code 5941181016. You can return any remaining product for a refund.

Abady Cat Food Recall

April 8, 2014 – The Robert Abady Dog Food Co., LLC of Poughkeepsie, NY, has recalled 2 lb, 5 lb & 15 lb boxes of “Abady Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula for Cats”. This product may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, which can cause serious injury and death in both cats and humans. The recalled product comes in a 2 lb, 5 lb, & 15 lb, corrugated boxes with plastic liners marked with lot #14029/21 stamped on the right side top of the box. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

Pro-Pet Dog and Cat Food Recall

February 5, 2014 – Pro-Pet LLC, St. Marys, Ohio, has initiated a voluntary recall of a limited number of Dry Dog and Cat Foods for possible Salmonella contamination.

January 25, 2014 – PMI Nutrition, LLC (PMI), Arden Hills, Minn., recalled 20 lb. bags of Red Flannel® Cat Formula cat food for possible Salmonella contamination. The recalled Red Flannel® Cat Food was manufactured by a third-party manufacturer for PMI. The lot number and best-by date affected by this recall are as follows: Red Flannel Cat Food Recall

Best by 05 06 14 096 13 SM L2 1A (lot number).

The UPC code for the recalled product is: 7 42869 00058 5. No other products/lot numbers are affected by this recall.