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The horror: Euthanized animals in pet food

Ever wonder what happens to the millions of unwanted puppies and kittens, the discarded cats and dogs that languished in animal shelters and never found a forever home?

Do you know what happens to your beloved pet after they are euthanized? Does the vet clinic have them cremated or sent to a rendering facility?

Have you ever wondered what the most commonly used pet food ingredients, such as animal fat, by-products, meat and bone meal, and animal digest could possibly be?

You don’t have to wonder anymore.

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

The conclusion was they could not determine any species responsible for the pentobarbital contaminated dog food.

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.”

Until the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine gives the consumer a better conclusion to the question, as to what species the pentobarbital originates from in pet food, we should remain highly suspicious of the quality and contents of commercial pet food.

To reiterate, to date, the FDA does not know exactly how the lethal drug pentobarbital gets into pet food.

Dog 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.

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  1. Pingback: Euthanasia Drug Found in Evanger's Dog Food, Causing Illness and Death of Dogs - Poisoned Pets | A look inside the pet food industry


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