What to Do About Dog Foods Having Euthanizing Drugs

No one would want to think that their dog is no more in this world after eating their favorite meal of one of the popular dog food brands. Unfortunately, this can happen with your Fido too if the food he eats is laced with euthanasia chemical compounds.

Well, this is not something that happens frequently, but there’s always a slight chance that your dog’s food contains lethal substances which you will get to know about after reading this article. As a dog parent it is your responsibility to keep him safe by any means.

A general way to avoid this kind of misfortune is to research about the product. There are many online resources where pet loves best, for example, tests and reviews the pet products thoroughly. It is always good to remember the actual product is quite different than how it is marketed. In a nutshell, do not ever purchase a product without knowing about it contents, customer reviews, and experts’ opinions.

A Little Bit about Dog Euthanasia Drugs

Pentobarbital was found in dog foods during the late 1990’s, in 2000, FDA tested the dog foods and found 98% positive results. In fact, a pug died yesteryear after consuming dog food of a popular brand which I will talk about later in the different section. All the mishaps keep taking place and yet there is no perfect answer to the question, From where the recipes of dog foods get a euthanizing drug included?

Euthanasia in dogs is a process of painlessly killing the patient who has an untreatable disease. Generally, the drug used in euthanasia in dogs is a type of barbiturate called pentobarbital. Pentobarbital can exist in a form of free acids or salts of either calcium or sodium.

Coming to our concern, there were some cases where dog food from the popular brands has pentobarbital in it. The drug was neither purposely added in the recipe nor it had a proportion that can affect a dog. However, there should be no reason for the dog food brands to allow a recipe adulterated with euthanasia drug to reach the market.

This matter needs serious attention and action. Firstly, let us see which dog foods had pentobarbital in it.

Dog Foods with Pentobarbital

There were three renowned brands which were found of having euthanizing drug(pentobarbital) in its recipe. Evanger’s Dog Food, Against The Grain Pet Food, J.M. Smucker. All these brands recalled their products from the market and people who already had bought such products.

The recall list includes Evanger’s wet food recipes, Against the grain wet food recipes. The list below shows the products name and their respective barcode numbers(second halves of barcode)

  • Evanger’s: Braised Beef: (UPC: 20107)
  • Evanger’s: Hunk of Beef: (UPC: 20109)
  • Against the Grain: Pulled Beef: (UPC: 80001)

Also, voluntary recall list included J.M. Smucker brands i.e. Gravy Train, Skippy, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol’ Roy. The list of recalled products shows the UPC or the barcode number of the respective products.

Gravy Train Recalled Products

  • (UPC: 7910052541)
  • (UPC: 7910052542)
  • (UPC: 7910052543)
  • (UPC: 7910034417)
  • (UPC: 7910034418)
  • (UPC: 7910051933)
  • (UPC: 7910051934)
  • (UPC: 7910034417)
  • (UPC: 7910051645)
  • (UPC: 7910051647)

Kibbles ‘N Bits Recalled Products

  • (UPC: 7910010377; 7910010378)
  • (UPC: 7910010382; 7910048367; 7910010378)
  • (UPC: 7910010380; 7910010377; 7910010375)
  • (UPC: 791001037; 7910048367)
  • (UPC: 7910010375)
  • (UPC: 7910010378)
  • (UPC: 7910010380)

Skippy Recalled Products

  • (UPC: 7910071860)
  • (UPC: 7910050243)
  • (UPC: 7910050246)
  • (UPC: 7910050247)
  • (UPC: 7910050248)
  • (UPC: 7910050249)
  • (UPC: 7910050244)
  • (UPC: 7910050250)
  • (UPC: 7910050245)

Ol’ Roy Recalled Products

(UPC: 8113117570)

As the matter of fact, all the recalled products (most were voluntarily recalled) were wet dog foods which were found of having pentobarbital in it.

What is Safe To Feed a dog?

Looking at these popular brands found manufacturing adulterated recipes – accidentally! Then what dog food should a pet parent trust to feed his/her pooch? An answer to this problem is not that simple too.

There are many ways of feeding your dog the healthiest dog food that is available on the market. Additionally, understanding the nutritional importance of genuine ingredients and cheap filler ones.

Finally, keeping a check on the FDA recall alerts and connecting to the customer database of the dog food brand you are feeding your dog. Both these mediums will notify you of any recalls or possible chances of contamination. Staying well aware of the happenings with dog food companies is advisable.

How Pentobarbital Gets Mixed in the Dog Food

Pentobarbital is the euthanizing drug which was found in the dog foods. However, the proportions of the drug found in the dog foods were so negligible to have adverse effects on dogs. This was validated by the scientists from FDA.

Rendering Animal will not Eliminate Euthanasia Drug

If a dog food is found of comprising pentobarbital then the first thing coming to our minds would be – Does the dog foods use euthanized dog/cat as the ingredient?

This was the same case happened in the late 1990’s, at that time many vets noticed of the dogs showing resistance towards the effects of euthanizing drug pentobarbital. Which led to a strong belief amongst many pet parents and vets that dog food companies have been using euthanized dog and cats to prepare the recipe.

Adding to the fact, soon after these allegations, FDA developed a sensitive method to quantify the amount of rendered animal in the recipe. The method can detect up to 0.005% of any rendered animal present in the recipe.

Using that, in 2000 FDA tested all the samples of dog foods to find any inclusion of dog or cats at all. They used protein in the recipe to trace the DNA of dogs and cats in it. Fortunately, there was no inclusion of dogs or cats in the recipe for any dog food products. Yet 98% of dog foods were found positive for having pentobarbital in them.

That could be caused due to using the euthanized cattle or the horse as an ingredient in the recipe.

A Pug Dies After Consuming Pentobarbital(Euthanizing Drug)

After the case of dog foods comprising of pentobarbital noted in 2000, this situation did not seem to be bothering most of the pet parents until a pet died in 2017.

It was New Year’s Eve when Nikki, the parent of four pugs fed them Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Au Jus. After a couple of minutes, all the pooches started showing abrupt symptoms. She immediately rushed to the vet where they all stopped moving till the time.

All of them were admitted to ICU where one of her dogs(who ate the most) couldn’t make it back alive. Also, one of her three pugs had occasional seizures after being released from the hospital.

After this case, Evanger’s spokesperson conveyed their regrets but no immediate recall was placed without the batch samples were tested. In fact, a legit recall was made by the brand on 3rd Feb 2017 i.e. after a month of the incident took place. However, the brand directed the local dealers to recollect the sold products from the customers if wanted to return without any questions asked.

At that time, not only Evanger’s products were recalled for having traces of pentobarbital in its recipes but also the products of Against The Grain Pet Food were recalled.

The EndNote

After this mishap took place, many pet parents started switching to the homemade dog food recipes. Because it was is the only method to check or control which ingredients are used to prepare a dog food. Ultimately when a pet parent is making the food on his/her own then the chances of a dog getting anything harmful are none.

But again, preparing homemade dog food can be a hassle for the people who don’t like to cook or who do not have enough time to prepare food for their pets all the time. So, all you can do is keep yourself updated with the latest updates from FDA and do some homework before you head towards the shop to buy dog food. If you have a gut feeling about your pets not eating or refusing to eat the food properly, that warrants a call to your vet, because not every dog is picky eater!