A pet food–associated illness is any disease condition or illness associated with or caused by pet food. Infections and intoxications are most common, but nutrient deficiencies also occur. Pet food–associated illness is not limited to commercial diets; in fact, most cases of nutrient deficiency in pets result from the use of unbalanced home-prepared diets rather than commercial products. Infections and intoxications may be seen with both commercial and home-prepared diets.
While commercial pet food–associated illness is rare, many clients are concerned about the safety of commercial pet diets and may seek a veterinary consultation. It is thus imperative that veterinarians provide accurate information to clients regarding risks and recognize the more common pet food–associated illnesses they may see in practice.