When dog food is recalled, it's not just a threat to your dog -- it poses a risk to everyone in your home, especially young children.
A government study found that between 2006 and 2008 recalled dry dog food caused an outbreak of salmonella in humans, affecting 79 people. Almost half of them were kids 2 years old or younger. This resulted from handling dog food that had been recalled for salmonella or by being exposed to dogs who ate the food and passed the germs (even if the dogs did not have any symptoms). In this outbreak, more than 10 people were hospitalized and all survived.
The study suggested 5 tips for keeping your family safe when handling dog food, whether it's been recalled or not:
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1) Wash your hands after being in contact with dogs, dog food and dog food bowls.
Recalls are often a result of a bacterial contamination. Bacteria can spread surface-to-surface, so washing your hands with an anti-bacterial soap will keep you from accidentally spreading the bacteria throughout your home.
2) Clean dog food bowls and the area where they are fed regularly.
Contamination in food often takes months to be discovered and recalled. In the meantime, the food is in your home. Regular cleaning of bowls and the surrounding area is a good just-in-case measure.
3) Do not allow kids age 5 or younger near dog food or the dog's feeding area.
Small children have lower immunity than older children and adults. This means they're more likely to get sick from trace amounts of bacteria than other family members are.
4) Clean dog food bowls in a sink other than the kitchen sink, where people dishes are washed.
This will minimize the likelihood of bacteria from dog food spreading to bowls you and your family eat from. A sink in the bathroom or laundry room will keep the bacteria away from bowls and plates you want to keep bactiera-free.
5) Do not bathe babies in the kitchen sink.
Bacteria thrive in warm, wet environments -- like kitchen sinks. If you do wash your dog's food bowls in the kitchen sink, the bacteria is likely to linger, making it a bad place for babies to spend time. Bathe them in other sinks or special baby tubs instead.
By following these tips, you can prevent bacteria in contaminated dog food from being passed into your food, your body, or your children's bodies. Please pass along this article to other dog owners to keep kids (and adults) safe.
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