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Euthanized Animals; It’s What’s for Fluffy and Fido’s Dinner

Maybe you’ve heard the horrors stories, the rumors, that dog food contains euthanized animals – maybe even dogs and cats. The fear, that the food you feed your pets might be made with animals that died by other means than slaughter, haunts you every time you feed your pet or examine the pet food in the grocery store.

Turns out the answer to the mystery of what’s in your pet’s food may never be known.

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) document titled Dog Food Samples Used in CVM Pentobarbital Surveys and Analytical Results reveals the results of dog food analysis contained the presence of pentobarbital, a drug typically used to euthanize pets.

The document states:

“The selection of products based on specific animal-derived ingredients would tend to increase the likelihood of finding pentobarbital given the assumption that pentobarbital in dog food comes from euthanized animals.”

It continues to say:

“There appear to be associations between rendered or hydrolyzed ingredients and the presence of pentobarbital in dog food. The ingredients Meat and Bone Meal (MBM), Beef and Bone Meal (BBM), Animal Fat (AF), and Animal Digest (AD) are rendered or hydrolyzed from animal sources that could include euthanized animals.”

The FDA eventually developed a test to detect whether dog food contained cat or dog DNA. In the article, CVM Scientists Develop PCR Test to Determine Source of Animal Products in Feed, Pet Food, the FDA developed the test on the assumption that the origin of the pentobarbital was from euthanized dogs and cats.

The trouble with their test was, it didn’t work.

Not only did it fail to detect cat or dog DNA, but it also didn’t detect equine DNA either (the only other animal, the FDA suggested, could have been the possible source of the deadly poison because horses are euthanized using pentobarbital).

In the article, FDA states that:

“The PCR results on the species of origin in the various dog food samples do not support a single point source of protein for the origin of the pentobarbital.”


“While the results of this study narrow the search for the source of pentobarbital, it does not define the source (i.e., species) responsible for the contamination.”

The conclusion was they could not determine any species responsible for the pentobarbital contaminated dog food. To reiterate, to date, the FDA does not know how the drug got into the dog food.

Until the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine can give consumers a better conclusion to the question, as to what species the pentobarbital originates from in pet food, you should be worried.

og Food Samples Used in CVM Pentobarbital Surveys and Analytical Results

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.