Why Is There Pentobarbital In My Dog Food?
By Robert Mueller
Recent recalls have uncovered a new concern regarding adulterants contained in dog food. The most recent case involves the recall of Evanger’s
canned beef dog food. This opens up a new discussion regarding a variety of potential adulterants that can be traced to the lower quality diets. It brings up another concern I have over the disclosure of proper labeling and the unscrupulous tactics used to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. The amount of consumer complaints, the FDA recalls, and the misguided label claims are enough to confuse any consumer that is trying to find a safe and nutritionally complete diet for their family pet.
The most recent recall regarding pentobarbital in the Evanger’s
brand of canned dog food is a tragic example of what happens when the law provides an avenue for inferior and harmful ingredients to be used in a proclaimed safe to feed dog food. Pentobarbital is a drug that in low doses can cause sedation and drowsiness, and in high doses can cause respiratory failure and death. The question remains – “WHY is it in the food to begin with”? The answer is simple- it is there because this particular ingredient is able to survive the high application of heat. The federal government regulations allow the use of meat and bone meal in dog food as a source of Calcium. It is easier to use this ingredient than to try and grind up the fresh bones to supply the needed Calcium and Phosphorus balance that is needed to give the proper bone and muscle development for young puppies. Another source may be from the use of inedible cuts of meat that have not been passed for human consumption. (It is classified as 4D meat-downed, disabled, dead, and diseased). Again, the high temperature, heat processing for kibble processing or canning processing will not destroy this component.
This concern was exposed in a Canadian study that was conducted in the late 90’s that I heard about. This expressed a concern when veterinarians in Canada were noticing that animals that were being euthanized with this barbiturate, were not responding properly to the drug and they were unable to accomplish the euthanasia. The residual buildup in the body, even though the levels were minimal, over time was enough to cause the change. This study should have made an impact on the use of this ingredient in dog food, but it has been approved for use even though the concern was exposed. Why does it take several deaths and several different scenarios to alert the proper authorities that this is a harmful agent? Pentobarbital needs to be banned from use in dog food.
The next question that needs to be asked is HOW did this barbiturate end up in the pet’s food? There is only one way that I can relate that can explain why it is in this product. The pet animals and zoo animals that have been euthanized, have been sent to rendering facilities where they are heat processed, separated, dried, and bagged for use in pet food. If you find it bothersome to learn that someone’s pet has been used for this purpose, then you need to search for a more appropriate and higher quality source of food.
The key is to look for a product that is not highly processed and has not been treated with an application of high heat. You guessed it- the BARF DIET
fits this qualification.
||Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of “Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s BARF Diets® patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF®) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere. To receive more articles like these in your email inbox,click here to sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” weekly e-zine absolutely FREE!