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

Ryan Osterholm
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.

Performance Dog Products Recalled Due to Salmonella Risk

Bravo Packing, Inc. of Carneys Point, NJ recalled all Performance Dog products, which are frozen raw pet food products, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The company recalled the products in September of 2018 after a sample of Performance Dog that was collected during a routine FDA inspection of the company tested positive for Salmonella. Distributor Tefco, a company in Brooklyn , New York, generally fills orders to retail stores and other customers. The Performance Dog products come frozen in 2-pound and 5-pound plastic sleeves. The recalled products were manufacture with the date code 071418, which is printed on the boxes that contain the plastic sleeves.

Turducken, Quest Emu Diet, and Quest Beef Diet Recall

Steve’s Real Food of Salt Lake City, Utah voluntarily recalled the following due to possible contamination with Salmonella and/or Listeria: one lot of 5lb Turducken Recipe, one lot of 2lb Quest Emu Diet, and one lot of 2lb Quest Beef Diet. The affected products can be identified with the following UPC codes and the “Best by” date, which are located on the front of the bag: Steve’s Real Food Turducken (5 pound, Lot J155, UPC 6-91730-15304-5, Best by Date 6/4/19); Quest Emu Diet (2 pound, Lot B138, UPC 6-91730-17103-2, Best by Date 8/18/19); and Quest Beef Diet (2 pound, Lot A138, UPC 6-91730-17101-8, Best by Date 8/18/19). The recall was issued after the Washington Department of  Agriculture informed the company that a sample that had been collected tested positive for Salmonella and/or Listeria. The firm conducted their own test, which resulted in a negative result for both Salmonella and Listeria. According to the company, no pet or human illnesses have been reported.

Rad Cat Raw Diet Recall

Radagast Pet Food, Inc. of Portland, Oregon, recalled Rad Cat Raw Diet across all varieties with Best By dates of 10/19/18 through 12/3/19 due to the possibility of being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The following Rad Cat Raw Diet products, which were shipped between 5/10/17 and 8/9/18, are being recalled (lot number range starting with, and including, lot number 62763 through, and including, number 63101):

Rad Cat Raw Diet Grass-Fed Beef Recipe
(1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)
Rad Cat Raw Diet Free-Range Chicken Recipe
(1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)
Rad Cat Raw Diet Pasture-Raised Lamb Recipe
(1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)
Rad Cat Raw Diet Natural Pork Recipe
(1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)
Rad Cat Raw Diet Free-Range Turkey Recipe
(1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)
Rad Cat Raw Diet Pasture-Raised Venison Recipe
(1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)

The Lot Number and BB Date can be found on the bottom of each container. These Lots have Best By (BB) dates of 10/19/18 through 12/3/19.

Turkey Cat Food and Ground Lamb Dog Food Recall

G & C Raw, of Versailles, Ohio, recalled 30 1–lb containers of Pat’s Cat Turkey Cat Food and 40 2-lb containers of Ground Lamb Dog Food due to the the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. These products were distributed in OH, MI, IN, PAN, KY, NC, AND GA. The recalled Pat’s Cat Turkey comes in 1 lb clear plastic containers printed with lot number WWPKTF051618. The Ground Lamb comes in a 2 lb plastic container printed with number MFF022718. These lot numbers are found on the bottom right corner of the label. As of the date the recall was issued, August 3, 2018, no illnesses were reported.