ALERT: Party Animal canned dog food may be contaminated with pentobarbital

Pet food manufacturer Party Animal voluntarily recalled two variants of their Cocolicious brand dog food after it was determined to be contaminated with pentobarbital, a pet euthanasia drug. The implicated products are: Cocolicious Beef & Turkey dog food (Lot #0136E152 04, best by July 2019) and Cocolicious Chicken & Beef dog food (Lot #0134E152 37, best by August 2019). In a public statement released to the, the company said, “the safety of pets is and always will be our first priority. We sincerely regret the reports of the discomfort experienced by the pet who consumed this food.”

Party Animal was first made aware of these potentially toxic batches after a retailer in Texas reported health abnormalities in a pet after eating samples of the aforementioned products. This was on April 13. Cans of the Cocolicious brand were sent to an independent testing lab where it was proven that the contents did indeed contain pentobarbital. This drug, in large amounts, is used to put animals to sleep. Smaller doses can cause side-effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, loss of balance, or nausea. After receiving the results, Party Animal immediately tracked down the lot numbers and found that these batches were manufactured and distributed in 2015. The company then contacted the two probable retailers who had sold the customer the food and asked them to isolate the remaining cans from these lots. In the same public statement, Party Animal requested all pet owners who have cans with either lot number in their possession to return them to the place of purchase. Owners will receive a full refund.

Retailers are requested to send all contaminated cans back to the company where more independent testing will be conducted. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are retrieving the remainder of these two lots nationwide. We are working with our distributors and retailers to determine if any additional beef-flavored products manufactured during this 2015 production period remain on shelves and, if so, to retrieve them from shelves, immediately, as well,” the company further stated in their recall notice.

The company ended by stating that they have submitted all their recent batches of dog food for testing for pentobarbital.

Other reports of dog food contamination

Last February, Evanger’s Dog & Cat voluntarily recalled their Hunk of Beef products after they suspected these items to contain pentobarbital. The company officially recalled cans manufactured between June 6 and June 13 of 2016 with the following lot numbers: 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB. All of these lots had an expiration date of June 2020. According to the company’s statement, five dogs were taken ill from eating their Hunk of Beef brand. One dog had died. Evanger’s widened their recall recently, including their Against the Grain’s Pulled Beef and their Braised Beef Chunks brands. Since the initial recall, Evanger’s has severed ties with its supplier after four decades. Holly Sheer, President and Owner of Evanger’s told, “in spite of this voluntary, expanded recall, our entire Evanger’s family remains very optimistic for our strong future and serving our customers to the very best of our abilities.”

Protecting your pets and your family

Owning a pet is a beautiful experience. Whatever the species, pets provide comfort and offer companionship. We should repay this kindness by ensuring their safety. An article on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website lists a few tips when purchasing, serving, and storing pet food:

  • Purchasing – Always go to a trusted retailer. While this story does suggest that well-known brands are not invulnerable to contamination, it is still important to choose brands (ideally natural ones) that follow strict guidelines and safety policies in manufacturing their food.
  • Serving – Always wash your hands before and after handling pet foods and treats. This is the simplest way to prevent illness. The CDC recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds. As much as possible, avoid washing pet food and water dishes in the kitchen sink to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Storing – Avoid storing pet food in the same area where human food is stored. Pet food should also be kept in a cool, dry placed under 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most importantly, you should keep yourself aware of what is in the pet food you serve. You can learn more when you visit  

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