Is it safe to feed my dog commercial food made in China?

While some people try to avoid any product from China, others regret the “blanket” emotion of negativity, stating that there are some very high standards in that country.

The feeling really became extensive in 2007 when some canines and feline became ill—and some died—because of a pet food ingredient tainted with melamine. The ingredient was supposed to be wheat gluten, but the usual supplier went out of business and the new source provided wheat flour—which was contaminated.

It is important to remember, however, that China isn’t the only problem. In fact, since that 2007 incident, pig ears from Chile were recalled and botulism and salmonella were found in a dog food that was made right in this country. There have also been at least two pet food recalls involving contaminated grain from the United States. However, those product recalls have also included ingredients exported from China.

Many pet food executives, say, however, that it’s absolutely necessary for us to continue to import—often from China. In fact, says one: “You wouldn’t have pet food on shelves if you didn’t import certain things.”

Vitamins and minerals, as well as some meats were two of the biggest products that those interviewed said still must come from China. The last Vitamin C plant in the United States closed in 2005.

Taurine, an essential amino acid for cats, comes mainly from only two countries: Japan and China. Japan hasn’t taken on any new customers in a while.

The Bottom Line

Obviously, this country will still import frequently, from China as well as other countries, but even when a food ingredient is manufactured or grown in this country there can still be a problem.

It’s really now up to the pet food companies to act responsibly, and it’s yours as a pet owner, to research.

The best way to protect yourself and your pet is to thoroughly research the manufacturer to see what kind of complaints have been lodged. Also find out from what countries various ingredients have been sourced; if possible, try to look them up. Talk to your veterinarian, pet food experts and local ASPCA.

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