Salmonella in the house? From cantaloupes to undercooked meats, food poisoning pops up in the news here and there. When this danger shows up in Fido’s food bowl, Chippy’s hamster cage and Fluffy’s rabbit food dish, guess who’s at risk. (Hint: it’s probably not your furry friends.)
Several years ago, public health officials were puzzled when 30 to 40 children under age 2 came down with salmonella, or food poisoning. Clever investigators finally realized the cause: pet food!
Researchers reported in the journal Pediatrics that it wasn’t that curious children actually ate their pet’s food. Simply touching tainted food and pet dishes spread the germs. All told, almost 80 people got sick—and 11 ended up in the hospital.
Salmonella is a dangerous bacterium. Symptoms of salmonella include vomiting and bloody diarrhea. It can sometimes cause problems for pets, but it’s especially dangerous for small children and people who are sick or have a chronic disease. To help avoid a repeat of the outbreak several years ago, officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are sampling pet food now through next fall. The Wall Street Journal reports that they are "particularly concerned about salmonella being transmitted to humans through pet foods, pet treats, and supplements for pets that are intended to be fed to animals in homes, where they are likely to be directly handled or ingested by humans.”
Prevent salmonella and keep your family safe by taking note:
- Foods being tested are for dogs, cats, rabbits, lizards, snakes, fish, birds, mice, guinea pigs and hamsters.
- Salmonella was found in dry foods only, not wet.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling pet foods and dishes.
- Keep pet treats, dry food and pet dishes out of the reach of kids.
Share this article with all your friends with pets in their family and spread awareness!