Nature’s Variety Issues Voluntary Recall for Salmonella

A voluntary recall was issued by popular pet food brand Nature’s Variety on select lots of their Instinct Raw Chicken Formula dog food. The recall was announced after the company learned about a possible salmonella contamination from the FDA.

On a routine inspection, seven pounds of food tested positive for the deadly bacteria. So while the vast majority of Nature’s Variety food remains untainted and therefore still safe to consume, the following lots are being pulled off the shelves:

  • UPC# 769949611431 – Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Bites for Dogs 4 lb.; Best By 04/27/16
  • UPC# 769949611448 – Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Bites for Dogs 7 lb.; Best By 04/27/16
  • UPC# 769949611486 – Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Patties for Dogs 6 lb.; Best By 04/27/16

If you feed your dog the Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Chicken Formula, please check to see if any of the markings on your bag match with the aforementioned UPC codes or expiration date. If so, please dispose of the food quickly and safely, and stop feeding it to your dog immediately. Also, if you have been feeding your dog from one of the bags being pulled off the shelves, you might consider taking them to the vet to have them tested for salmonella.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a bacteria that lives in food and can affect a number of species of animals, from cats and dogs to people. A salmonella infection manifests itself as such:

  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stool
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abdominal pain

In some rare cases, Salmonella can cause the following complications in people:

  • Arterial infections
  • Endocarditis
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle pain
  • Eye irritation
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)

Threat Level


No infections have been reported as a result of this contamination, and the fact that the recall was issued by the company and not the FDA supposes that this recall is largely preventative and is not of tremendous concern.

What should I do?

If you have any unused product that is listed above as contaminated, dispose of it immediately and keep an eye on your dog and your family for any of the aforementioned symptoms. If you detect any signs of Salmonella, contact a vet or doctor right away.


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New Outbreak of Deadly Dog Virus: Are You Safe?

Throughout central New Jersey, a viral outbreak has started to grow, taking the lives of many families’ furry friends. While the outbreak is contained to the central Jersey area for the time being, due to the highly contagious nature of the virus, it could potentially become a full-blown epidemic.

The virus, more commonly known as the parvovirus, is only spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected dog. So, while it is not an airborne contagion, given our dogs’ “lick first, ask questions later” mentality, it is still considered highly contagious.

Parvo is a condition that causes those infected to vomit and suffer from diarrhea, there is no shortage of contaminated fluids to spread around. Also, due to the viscous nature of an infected dog’s eliminations, cleaning up after is nearly impossible. This leads to a higher rate of sick dog messes lying around, and an increase in the odds that your dog comes into contact with one of the aforementioned contagions.

Places like dog parks, hiking trails, or any other known area where dogs are allowed to roam free, should be traversed with caution as these are the places where a dog is likely to encounter the disease. For safety purposes, it is recommended that you limit your dog’s exposure to highly trafficked areas or any unknown dogs.


It is also advised that you familiarize yourself with the symptoms of parvo. Be on the lookout for:

  • Extreme diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Blood in stool
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Intestinal pain
  • Lethargy

If you think your dog may have parvo, take a stool sample to the vet so they can have it analyzed.

And, if you haven’t done it already, make sure to get your dog vaccinated for this contagious and life-threatening disease.

ABC News – Officials Warn Virus Could Sicken, Kill Dogs

Worried that your dog may be sick? PetPlus can help! With tons of great information on how to keep your pet protected, as well as huge savings on pet care products, medications, food, and services like vet care or vaccinations, PetPlus has your pet covered. 


How to Exercise Your Dog When You’re Sick


Waking up with a headache, sore throat, and stuffy nose is no fun, and the last thing most people want to do when they’re feeling under the weather is take their dog out for some exercise. But your dog depends on you to provide them with mental and physical stimulation as well as bathroom breaks (unless you have a doggie door), and it’s up to you to find a way to give your dog those things even when you’re unwell. Here we’ll present some alternative ways to exercise your dog when you’re sick.

Note: Remember that forcing yourself to take your dog out for their regular exercise could make your illness worse. Consult your doctor if you are feeling out of sorts and you’re not sure how much activity is appropriate.

Indoor Games

Indoor games are a great way to get your dog active when you’re feeling sick. Many games can even be played right from the comfort of your own bed. Here are some examples:

Laser Pointer Chase: Buy an inexpensive laser pointer and shine it back and forth across the floor. Your dog will delight in chasing the moving light, and will wear themselves out in the process. Remember not to shine the laser pointer into your dogs eyes as it could damage their retinas. Read these other tips for playing laser pointer chase for your dog without driving them crazy.

Indoor Fetch: If you have a long hallway or other large indoor space, you can play fetch indoors. You may even be able to play it from the sofa or your bed.

Tug-of-War: Another stimulating game that you can play while laid up is tug-of-war. Many dogs love to play this game with a rope toy, but remember that it can bring out your dog’s competitive side, and you should make sure that you have a solid relationship in which you are the pack leader before engaging in this type of game. Many trainers also recommend ending games of tug-of-war with you successfully winning the toy.

Puzzle Toys: Puzzle toys require your dog to problem solve in order to release food or treats that you stuff inside. There are many different types of puzzle and food-dispensing toys, and a variety could occupy your dog for hours while you get some rest.

RELATED STORY: The Benefits of an Active Dog

Low-Impact Outdoor Exercises

If you’re feeling well enough to go outside but still not 100%, you can engage in some outdoor activities while still taking it easy.

Cut Your Walk in Half: If you usually take your dog for a half-hour walk, take them for a 15 minute walk instead. Choose an area with easy terrain (no hiking!) and a time of day when the weather won’t be unpleasant (e.g., in the summer, walk in the early morning or late evening to avoid high heat). Then, give your dog the rest of their exercise by playing some indoor games or offering them a puzzle toy.

Yard Fetch: Take your dog out to the yard and throw a ball or frisbee. If you’re tired, you could even play fetch while sitting in a lawn chair or reclining in a hammock. Ensure that your yard is secure and all gates are closed and locked so that you won’t have to worry about chasing after your dog when you’re feeling low.

RELATED STORY: 3 Ways to Be Safer Walking a Dog at Night

Ask For Help

If you’re really ill, you may not be able to exercise your dog at all. If this is the case, consider taking your dog to dog day care or a boarding facility while you recover. Alternatively, you could hire a dog walker to stop by once or twice a day to relieve you from your duties.

How do you exercise your dog when you’re sick? Leave a comment and let us know. And to keep your dog healthy, consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at


RECALL ALERT: Hill’s Science Diet Recalls 62 Bags of Food

Hill’s Science Diet Has Recalled Dog Food

June 4 – Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. of Topeka, Kansas is voluntarily recalling 62 bags of their Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small and Toy Breed dry dog food due to a possible contamination with salmonella.


The limited production, consisting of only 62 bags suspected of contamination, can be identified as such:

Product NameBag SizeSKU“Best Before” Date/ Production Code
Science Diet® Adult Small & Toy Breed15.5 lbs.909708 2015 M094


The SKU number of Hill’s Science Diet can be found on both sides and the bottom of your bag.


The product was accidentally released to the public, even though it was deemed unfit for consumption



Only 62 bags have been identified as contaminated, 17 of which have already been identified and collected.


If you have a bag of the aforementioned dog food, stop feeding it to your dog immediatly and contact Hill’s directly at 1-800-445-5777 to have them come and collect the contaminated product directly. Upon collection, Hill’s will issue a full refund. You should also consider seeking medical attention if you or your dog begin to exhibit symptoms of salmonella. To read more about salmonella, visit this page.


Pets that are on Hill’s Science Diet might also like:

Natural Balance L.I.D. (Limited Ingredient Diet)

Wellness CORE Grain Free Ocean Diet

Solid Gold Just a Wee Bit Small Breed




RECALL ALERT: Possible Salmonella Contamination in Lamb Crunchys

May 29, 2014 – Los Angeles, CA. — Pet Center, Inc. has issued a voluntary recall of the 3 oz bags of their Lamb Crunchys dehydrated dog treats due to a possible Salmonella contamination.


Products subject to being recalled by Pet Center, Inc. can be identified by:

  • Code LAM-003

  • UPC# 727348200038

  • Dated 122015


Salmonella was detected by the State of Colorado, Department of Agriculture in a random sample. Salmonella presents a risk to both the pets eating the tainted product as well as the person handling it.

Pets or people infected with Salmonella may present these symptoms:

In rare cases, Salmonella can result in more serious complications in people, such as:

If you or your pet presents any of these symptoms, contact a doctor (or vet) immediately.



As of now, no sickness has been reported, and the low distribution of this tainted batch (only found in CA, WI, CO, and WA) meaning that this recall has a limited pocket of risk. However, if you have any of the products in question, handle them with caution.


  • Return any unused product to the store in which it was purchased for a full refund (as per the instructions of Pet Center, Inc.)

  • Keep an eye out for symptoms of Salmonella (in you and your pet)

  • Contact Pet Center, Inc. with any additional questions at (800) 390-0575


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Changing Marijuana Laws May Lead to Increase in Pot-Related Vet Visits

Since the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in select states across America, the growing industry of distributing cannabis for medical and recreational use promises to stimulate economy, but not without its fair share of controversy and challenges.

One unforeseen challenge arising from this laissez faire attitude towards cannabis is a massive increase in the number of dogs being treated for ingesting large amounts of pot.

RELATED STORY: Poisonous Plants to Cats and Dogs

The Canine Cannabis Conundrum

In Arizona, where medicinal marijuana has recently been legalized, veterinarians are reporting a year over year doubling in the amount of dogs requiring treatment for exposure to pot. Luckily, natural cannabis is generally non-fatal, resulting in your dog feeling sick for a day or two, but without any major lasting effects. Synthetic cannabinoids, however, are trickier. “Because they’re often manufactured overseas, we have seen some dogs with serious illness related to ingesting the synthetic marijuana,” said Billy Griswold, director of medical management for the Emergency Animal Clinic in Phoenix.

The Side Effects


Symptoms of marijuana exposure include:

As far as treatment for exposure is concerned, it is mainly a matter of dealing with the symptoms on a case by case basis and keeping the patient comfortable, as there is no outright antidote to marijuana.

The Takeaway

So, while the recent movement across America to decriminalize, or even legalize, marijuana has many people excited, we cannot lose sight of certain sobering aspects of cannabis, one of them being the strong, and often harmful, effect it has on our pets. Just because it has been made vastly more acceptable for people to imbibe, it is still by and large an emphatic no-go when it comes to our feline and canine compadres.

RELATED STORY: The Most Poisonous Foods for Dogs

pot-dog-3-blogIf you live in an area where marijuana is available, in either a medicinal or recreational capacity, and you choose to use, make sure you treat it like you would any other medication or libation, in that you keep it out of your paw’s reach. When not in use, put your stash in a cabinet or drawer, and try to keep any smoke away from your pets, as even minimal exposure can result in your pet becoming intoxicated.

Most importantly…


If you suspect your pet has gotten a hold of your marijuana, tell your vet.

“To be perfectly honest, we really don’t care what [pet parents] do on their free time,” says Griswold. “We just try and impress upon folks that in the long run it’s better for the pet and usually for your wallet to just own up to it so we can figure out what it is and react in the most specific way possible.”

Have an opinion on what you just read? Let us know in the comments section!