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Could Your Dog Have a Salmonella Infection?

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The risk of Salmonella is one of the more common reasons for pet food recalls (as well as treat recalls). Anyone who has ever had Salmonella themselves know that this is an extremely unpleasant experience, and pet food contaminated with Salmonella can infect your pets as well as yourself, just through handling.

How to Recognize Salmonella in Your Dog

Here’s what the US Food and Drug Administration says about recognizing Salmonella infection in your pets:

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Think your dog might have a Salmonella infection? It’s time for a vet visit!

How to Keep Yourself Healthy When Handling Dog Food

To keep yourself healthy, always make it a habit to wash your hands after handling your pet’s food, treats, and chews.

If you think you might be infected with Salmonella yourself, watch for the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

I carry treats in my dog walking bag and, just to be on the safe side, my first stop when returning to the house is the sink for a good hand washing. The same holds true with any time you serve or pick up your dog’s food–better safe than sorry!

Tips on Safely Handling Dog Food

Just like handling our own food, the handling of dog food also requires certain precautions so any bacteria in the food isn’t transmitted to the other members of your home. You definitely don’t want your dog to get sick from the food…but it sure won’t help matters if you’re sick at the same time!

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has these tips on safe handling of pet food. First and foremost, wash your hands. It’s simple, quick and cheap and it can make a huge difference.

The CDC recommends washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water immediately after handling your pet’s food and treats and always before you prepare or serve food, drink, or baby bottles.

Here are some other tips from the CDC on how to safely handle pet food:

  • Preferably, people should feed their pet in areas other than the kitchen.
  • Wash pet food bowls, dishes and scooping utensils with soap and hot water regularly. Avoid washing these items in the kitchen sink or bathtubs to prevent cross-contamination. In households where there is no alternative, the sink area should be adequately sanitized after these items have been cleaned and removed.
  • Infants should not be bathed in kitchen sinks because of the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Do not use the pet’s feeding bowl as a scooping utensil – use a clean, dedicated scoop, spoon, or cup.

Tips for Safe Storage of Your Dog’s Food and Treats

  • Pet food should not be handled or stored in areas where food for humans is prepared.
  • If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded or closed.
  • Promptly refrigerate or discard unused, leftover wet pet food and containers (e.g., cans, pouches). Refrigerating foods quickly prevents the growth of most harmful bacteria. Refrigerators should be set at 40 degrees F. The accuracy of the setting should be checked occasionally with a refrigerator thermometer.
  • Dry pet food and pet treats should be stored in a cool, dry place under 80 degrees F.

Prevent getting a Salmonella infection from your pet

  • After contact with animals, their food, or their environments, wash your hands well with soap and running water.
  • Clean up after your pet. If you have a cat, scoop the litter box daily and dispose of the stool in a tightly sealed plastic bag. If you have a dog, clean up the stool while on walks or from the yard daily and dispose of the stool in a tightly sealed plastic bag.
  • Children younger than 5 years of age should not be allowed to touch or eat pet food, treats, or supplements and should be kept away from pet feeding areas. Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing and because they are more likely than others to put their fingers or other items into their mouths.

Related Posts

What To Do If Your Dog’s Food is Recalled: A Veterinarian’s Tips

Dog Food Storage: What You Need to Know

How Long Can You Store Dog Treats?

Paris Permenter
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