Even if you haven't lost a pet, the pet food recall can be a challenge...

Bill and Samantha haven't lost a pet they have talked to many people who have suffered. There are now many choices available, and decisions to make about the pet food recall.

"Fortunately, the pet food recall has not directly impacted any of our pets. However, several folks that we correspond with online have either lost a pet or had one fall desperately ill.

"We have read of their emotional pain and feel it ourselves because we love our own animals and take great care to feed them well and provide them with everything they need for a long and healthy life.

"These animals that we heard about were all cats that had been eating those foil-packaged dinners. The primary reason why none of our cats were affected is that we have never trusted the stuff in the foil packets. It looks so highly processed. Since we ourselves avoid processed foods, we don't feed them processed foods if we can help it.

"Our vet also encourages us to feed dry food to help prevent dental problems, and we gravitated to several different organic and specialty foods not made by the company behind the recall.

"The primary reason for our dogs to have avoided exposure is that we had a Shar-Pei who died this past January of lymphoma unrelated to the recall. When she came to live with us and our other animals we discovered that her stomach was sensitive to corn and wheat.

"We switched to an organic brand of dog food that was made of venison and oatmeal, and when that became hard to get, one that was made of lamb and rice. Although Gracie is now dead, our other dogs (we have four) have done so well on it that we have never switched. In fact, shortly before the recall was announced we discovered one of our other dogs, a Hurricane Katrina rescue, had a number of allergies and food sensitivities that require her to avoid not only corn and wheat but also beef and fish.

"Our newest concerns are two. One is that the dry cat foods we use all have corn and wheat as primary ingredients. Even though they are made by different companies than the one involved in the pet food recall we have begun looking for a cat food that has less or no corn and wheat but so far without success. The other worry is recent information in the news indicating that the same substance may have entered the human food supply.

"We have always had a tendency to "shop the perimeter" in grocery stores, meaning that we go to the produce, meat, fish and dairy sections primarily, avoiding the center aisles that are filled with cookies, snacks and processed dinners. Now we are more committed than ever to avoid foods already made by someone else out of who-knows-what. We have even researched homemade pet foods but have not yet decided to switch over."

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