Washington News Service: SEATTLE - Pet owners in the Evergreen State have been given two scares in the past few weeks over contaminated pet food.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to pet owners about food brands, including Gravy Train and Kibbles 'n Bits, after the agency found low levels of pentobarbital, a drug used to euthanize pets.
The FDA has also recalled raw foods from Tukwila-based Darwin's Natural Pet Food after the death of one cat and reports of other animal illnesses, likely from salmonella.
RaeLynn Farnsworth, a professor at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, says people should return recalled food, but she also advises pet owners not to panic.
"You want to be diligent and you want to make sure your pet's fine, but don't panic," she states. "For the most part, pet food is very safe. It's the best thing to feed your pet."
Farnsworth says if your pet has diarrhea, is vomiting or you notice a change in behavior, you should call your vet or bring your pet in for an examination.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture also tests pet foods and is working with the FDA on the investigation into Darwin's pet food.
Mike Louisell, public information officer with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, says pet food contamination is very rare but is more common with wet pet food.
Because diseases such as salmonella can be transferred to humans, Louisell says people should use good hygiene when handling pet food.
"People should take precautions as well when they're dealing with pet foods and making sure they wash their hands with hot water and for a very thorough hand washing after you serve pet foods to your animal," he advises.
Louisell also suggests hanging onto receipts for pet foods in the event there is a recall.