July 23, 2024

How Do People Get Sick From Contaminated Pet Food?

Pet food recalls for bacterial contamination are pretty common. And occasionally, there is an outbreak linked to those types of products. Many people wonder, how do people get sick from contaminated pet food?

How Do People Get Sick From Contaminated Pet Food?

On social media, there are often comments made about people feeding children dog food, or eating it themselves. That is not how these outbreaks happen.

Any type of pet food can be contaminated with pathogens. There have been recalls linked to raw frozen pet food, to canned pet food, and to dry kibble. Just like human food, pet food can be contaminated with pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

When pets eat contaminated food, several things can happen. The animal may not get sick at all. Or they may become carriers of the pathogen without showing any symptoms. Or the animal may get sick, with symptoms ranging from lethargy to a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.

When the pet is sick or a carrier, they excrete the pathogen in their saliva and in their feces. If you have ever owned a dog or cat, you know that it is almost impossible to prevent children from kissing and hugging these animals. Saliva can be on the pet’s face, on its fur, and on bowls, pet food containers, rugs, floors, grass, and toys.¬†And feces can contaminate the pet’s fur, grass, toys, furniture, and other objects.

The current Salmonella Kiambu outbreak that is linked to Victor Dog Food has sickened mostly infants. Babies crawling on the floor or grass are going to pick up bacteria on their hands. And parents know it’s practically impossible to clean their hands before they put their fingers in their mouths. That’s most likely how six infants were sickened in this outbreak.

So if you have pets in your life, pay attention to recalls. The FDA regulates these foods and will post a company’s recall. When you get rid of the contaminated food, be sure to clean the pet’s bowls, and any containers that may have held the product. If your pet has been sick, clean their toys, your floors and furniture, and your kitchen. The sooner you can get a recalled product out of your home, the better your odds of protecting yourself and your family. Including your pet.


  1. Marie Rabago says

    Stay vigilant about pet food recalls to protect your family’s health. Contaminated pet food can expose children to harmful pathogens like Salmonella, emphasizing the importance of thorough cleaning for pet bowls, toys, and living spaces.

    • Linda Larsen says

      Exactly. This outbreak is linked to dry kibble, which I think most people wouldn’t consider vulnerable to contamination. But if ingredients like flour can harbor pathogens, kibble certainly can.

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