- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 8, 2007

ATLANTA

Some worried pet owners are grinding up meat in their kitchens and making their own dog and cat food because of the contamination scare blamed for numerous animal deaths.

Sales of pet-food recipe books also have shot up since the nationwide pet-food recall began two weeks ago.

Amy Parish, 40, stopped giving her two aging chowchows canned food. Instead, Miss Parish mixes dry food with a mash of chicken, rice, oatmeal and cottage cheese that she prepares twice a week.

“I’m very suspicious of any large-brand manufactured dog food,” said Miss Parish, who lives in the Atlanta suburb Tucker.

Veterinarians warn that making balanced meals for pets can be complicated and should be only a temporary remedy until the scare passes.

Nearly 100 store and major-brand pet foods were recalled by manufacturer Menu Foods Inc. on March 16. Three other companies also have recalled some foods.

Food and Drug Administration testing found that wheat gluten imported from China was contaminated with a chemical used in the manufacture of plastics. The Food and Drug Administration has confirmed 15 pet deaths, and anecdotal reports suggest hundreds of cats and dogs may have died.

Some pet owners are not taking any chances.

After Hills Pet Nutrition Inc. recalled one of its cat products, John Slavens, 41, of San Diego, started making homemade food for his two border collies.

He spent five hours in the kitchen Sunday, grinding beef and boiling potatoes and pasta for a week’s worth of stew, supplemented with an all-in-one vitamin-mineral powder.

“These dogs are my family,” Mr. Slavens said.

The FDA and the American Veterinary Medical Association are urging pet owners to switch brands if they are worried. The veterinarian group also warned that many common foods are not safe for pets, including salt, garlic, onions, grapes and chocolate.

Making pet food at home is “kind of like canning: You have to think about bacterial contamination. And how do you make sure it’s nutritionally appropriate and balanced for the animal?” said FDA spokeswoman Julie Zawisza.

On Amazon.com, the cookbook “Real Food for Dogs” moved into the list of top 200 best-sellers last week.


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