I was just made aware of yet another dry kibble diet that is being recalled due to potential Salmonella.
However, what is interesting, is that one of the most dangerous and common reasons why pets become seriously ill from a dry, kibble diet is the presence of aflatoxins, or simply speaking mold. A major fallacy is that you should store kibble pet food in a separate plastic or rubber bin or even in the freezer to better preserve it.
The expense that pet food manufacturers incur to produce special packaging to protect their diets and keep them as fresh as possible is huge. It is strongly recommended that you keep the food in the original packaging. If you want to put that bag inside a larger bin, that is fine. (Of course this may help to keep insects or other pests out of the food if it is stored in the garage or a basement.) It is best that the food not touch the plastic sides of a bin. It may absorb toxins from the plastic. Storing dry kibble in the freezer can actually increase the development of moisture in the food. This will enhance the growth of mold when the product is removed from the freezer. It is important that the food stay dry and at normal room temperature.
Manufacturing of quality bags is an industry in itself. In particular, the companies which produce foods without artificial preservatives will utilize packaging with special lining, seals, ziplocks and even vents in the bag. This same companies use more natural preservatives such as Vitamin E and rosemary. But, remember, no matter what, these dry, kibble diets sit on warehouse shelves for weeks to months. Sometimes, aflatoxins are present before you even purchase the food. Kibble diets are never really "fresh". Try to purchase from small retailers that purchase in small quantities and have the freshest available.
For truly fresh food, consider quality, meat protein, commercial raw diets. You can feed these exclusively, or combine them with a kibble diet. For more on this topic, visit www.animaldoctorholistic.com. A book with research on aflatoxins is Food Pets Die For, by Ann Martin.
Jodie Gruenstern,DVM,CVA is a UW-Madison graduate and has been practicing veterinary medicine in Muskego, Wisconsin since 1987. She is a certified veterinary acupuncturist and food therapist by the Chi Institute. Dr. Jodie is the owner of the Animal Doctor Holistic Veterinary Complex, an integrated small animal practice. She has been an advocate for natural pet care through writing, speaking, radio, television and the manufacturing of unique products. Dr. Jodie is founder of the non-profit iPAW: Integrating People for Animal Wellness.