Several kinds of canned dog food are being recalled for containing a drug used to euthanize animals.
The J.M. Smucker Company said it is recalling certain products, including Kibbles ‘N Bits and Gravy Train cans, for turning up positive results of pentobarbital.
Pentobarbital is most commonly used in animals as a sedative, anesthetic or for euthanasia.
The low levels of pentobarbital present are unlikely to cause any health risk to pets, the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.
Still, the administration said, “any detection of pentobarbital in pet food is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act — simply put, pentobarbital should not be in pet food.”
Pets who eat food that contains the drug can experience “drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner) and inability to stand,” the FDA warns.
The J.M. Smucker Company initiated the product withdrawal, saying in a statement that the specific shipments of Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits, Ol’ Roy and Skippy canned dog food “ do not meet its quality specifications due to the presence of extremely low levels of pentobarbital.”
“We take this very seriously and are extremely disappointed that pentobarbital was introduced to our supply chain,” said Barry Dunaway, president of Smucker’s Pet Food and Pet Snacks, in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with our suppliers and veterinarians to ensure the ingredients used in our products meet or exceed regulatory safety standards and our high-quality standards. Above all, we are a company that loves pets and understand the responsibility we have in providing high-quality food for the pets our consumers love.”
Doctors at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston also advise pet owners to avoid the affected brands, said Rob Halpin of the MSPCA, but still warn that they need to ensure their animals are eating the right food.
"These are always scary moments," Halpin said. "The doctors are concerned that more pet owners will turn to homemade food, which can be fine but only if the specific nutritional needs of dogs and cats are met — and most commercial foods meet those needs well."