I have dogs — three to be exact. And not much is more important to me than my dogs’ health. Yet here we are with another — major — potential pet food recall. Sixteen brands are under the FDA’s watchful eye; most are grain-free versions but the players are some of the higher-end (and more expensive) brands.

Grain-free is supposed to be a healthier food, right? And, to think that lentils or peas may be the problem is odd. A lot of testing surely goes into making pet food.

This particular find on these major brands, the FDA cites, shows a link between the food and canine heart disease, aka dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

I reviewed an FDA report on DCM from 2014-2019. Between Jan. 1, 2014, when the FDA first received a few sporadic reports, and April 30, 2019, the FDA received 524 reports of DCM (515 canine reports, 9 feline). Breeds that are typically affected are large and giant breed dogs.

The FDA states that, for now, it isn’t necessary to stop feeding the foods under investigation. But why wouldn’t we? Granted, 524 aren’t many out of the millions using the 16 brands, but I’m not going to risk it. I sure didn’t risk eating the romaine lettuce when it was recalled earlier this year.

Are we doing all we can in the manufacturing phase to keep consumers (and their pets) safe? The FDA isn’t responsible for going into plants to check the ingredients. It begins with the ingredient suppliers.

The Pet Food Institute shares a six step process for “how pet food is made”: reliable and trusted ingredient suppliers, hygienic and secure design of pet food manufacturing facilities, inspecting and testing ingredients during arrival and unloading, continuous monitoring during manufacturing, safety and traceability assurances during packaging, and regulatory oversight.

Pet food is regulated at both federal and state levels. The FDA, Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture all have a role.

Many consumers are moving to a raw diet for their pets: homemade food with simple ingredients. Sources suggest many nutrients are missing from the raw diets, however. Either way, just as with human food, there is more work to do behind the scenes.

And hey, it’s PACK EXPO Vegas time! I hope to see you there.