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My Pet World: Eggs, salmonella and your pet food

October 12, 2010|By Steve Dale

Q: Recently, you said there were no eggs in pet foods, but I believe the pet food I have contains eggs, or at least that's what the package says. — B.D.

Q: So far, I haven't seen any correction for your erroneous "eggs" statement. Pet owners nationwide want to trust your advice and knowledge. Can you please provide a correction? — C.C.

A: About a month ago, several readers inquired if pet food recalls were related to the recent well-publicized recalls of eggs, also due to salmonella contamination. I pointed out that recent pet food recalls — also due to a potential threat of salmonella — were unrelated to the egg recalls. I was right about that. I added that pet foods do not contain eggs as an ingredient, and I was wrong about that, as many of you pointed out.

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"If you're interested to know if your pet food includes eggs, check the label," says veterinary nutritionist Dr. Claudia Kirk, head of small animal clinical sciences University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville. "If not listed, it's not in the product."

Concerning eggs in pet foods, Kirk adds, "Yes, it is a potential source of salmonella but little risk when (the food is) processed or cooked. Both canning and extrusion easily kills salmonella. Pet food companies treat egg products and meat products as potentially contaminated so they are probably safer than the human foods. We see more salmonella concern with pig ears, hoof chews, and rawhides than anything."

While most pet foods and treats don't contain eggs, many do. I regret the error.

Q: We've had dogs our entire lives, but now that we're older do you think we're past the age of having a dog? We're in pretty good health but well into our 80s. We want to be fair to any dog, and what if your health slips? Our little Pixie, a Bichon Frise-mix, passed away six months ago. You'd think that after 53 years of marriage we wouldn't be lonely for a dog, but we are. — N.H.

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