With Food Contaminations Occurring More Frequently, Petplan Pet Insurance Urges Vigilance About What Goes into “Fido’s” Bowl

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Petplan Pet Insurance offers diet tips to protect them from foodborne illness and add up to three years on your pet’s life

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Recent studies have shown that pets fed a correctly balanced diet enjoyed an average of an additional three healthy years of life.

Food recalls have been increasingly grabbing headlines. While many may have become used to news about human foods contaminated with salmonella or other toxins, the 2007 pet food recall was the first major contamination that affected pets. As a result, public awareness of pet food ingredients and manufacturing has increased dramatically.

The 2007 melamine recall also caused many pet owners to change the way they were feeding their pets – whether this was a switch to organic, grain-free or even a raw diet, what was previously a niche market segment has rapidly increased in popularity. According to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), sales of organic pet food increased ten-fold from 2002 to 2009, and industry research company Packaged Facts predicts sales of natural and organic pet foods to continue to grow three times faster than pet foods overall through 2015.

“I’ve definitely seen an increase in the ‘What should I be feeding my pet?’ questions during regular veterinary appointments,” says Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President of Veterinary Services at Petplan. “With a topic as important as nutrition, it’s great to see pet parents becoming more educated. Recent studies have shown that pets fed a correctly balanced diet enjoyed an average of an additional three healthy years of life. With so many choices of pet food out there, it’s increasingly important to work closely with your veterinarian and their team to establish what (and how much) your pet should be eating to live life to the fullest.”

Petplan, America’s top rated pet insurance company, offers the following guidelines for pet food selection:

  • Organic vs. Natural: When a pet food is labeled as “organic”, the ingredients have been produced in accordance with guidelines of the National Organics Standard Board (NOSB). The term “natural” is not regulated and therefore there are no criteria governing how that food’s ingredients are produced.
  • Be alert: The FDA recently posted a new website (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/) which allows consumers to view food recalls and sign up for safety alerts. While feeding quality foods with responsibly-sourced ingredients lowers the chances of contamination, signing up for pet food alerts will keep you in the loop, just in case!
  • Purchase properly: Buy only products that look to be in good condition, without signs of damage to the packaging such as dents or tears. Damaged food containers are at higher risk of fungal contamination.
  • Safety first: If you’re preparing a home-cooked or raw diet for your pet, ensure that you are following proper food handling guidelines to protect you and your family from foodborne illnesses. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service produces comprehensive fact sheets for consumers that are available on their website (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets).
  • Balancing act: Consult with your veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist regarding long-term diets for your pets, especially if you are considering a home cooked or raw food diet. Providing a balanced, healthy diet for our pets using non-formulated pet foods can be challenging, and these experts can offer crucial advice.

For more information about feeding your pet safely and pet health, please visit http://blog.gopetplan.com/.

As America's top-rated pet insurance provider, Petplan, through one or more licensed insurers, offers customizable policies to meet any coverage requirements and budget for pets of all/any age. The policies offered by Petplan cover all hereditary and congenital conditions for the life of the pet – without dollar limits per condition. For information, visit http://www.GoPetplan.com or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Sara McMillan
Petplan Pet Insurance
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Bill Tierney
Brian Communications
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