Animal & Veterinary

How to Report a Pet Food Complaint

Report a Pet Food Complaint

You can report complaints about a pet food product electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or you can call your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

Your report to FDA is important and we thank you for submitting this information. Your report will be reviewed by the FDA to determine if any follow-up is possible or needed based on the information provided. Follow up could include pet food or treat collection or diagnostic sampling from your pet for analysis. Even if your pet food product or other samples are not tested, information from your report will help with the FDA’s efforts to monitor and ensure pet food safety through adverse event and product problem surveillance. You may choose to have your pet food product tested by a private laboratory; however, it may be costly to have numerous tests conducted on your sample. Please note that FDA cannot cover your private laboratory testing costs or provide reimbursement for veterinary costs associated with your animal’s illness. Please be assured that FDA continues to devote time, energy and resources at multiple levels of the agency to monitor reports of illness that could potentially be related to pet foods and to determine their root causes where possible.

Please have as much of the following information available when submitting your complaint:

Consumers often transfer dry pet food into other containers for easier handling.  If possible, please save the original packaging until the pet food has been consumed.  The packaging contains IMPORTANT information often needed to identify the variety of pet food, the manufacturing plant, and the production date.

  • Exact name of the product and product description (as stated on the product label)
  • Type of container (e.g. box, bag, can, pouch, etc.)
  • Product intended to be refrigerated, frozen, or stored at room temperature
  • Lot number - This number is often hard to find and difficult to read.  It is stamped onto the product packaging and typically includes a combination of letters and numbers, and is always in close proximity to the best by/before or expiration date (if the product has a best by/before or expiration date).  The lot number is very important as it helps us determined the manufacturing plant as well as the production date.
  • Best by, best before or expiration date
  • UPC code (also known as the bar code)
  • Net weight
  • Purchase date and exact location where purchased.
  • Results of any laboratory testing performed on the pet food product
  • How the food was stored, prepared, and handled

Description of the problem with the product.  Examples include:

  • Foul odor, off color
  • Swollen can or pouch, leaking container
  • Foreign object found in the product.

If you think your pet has become sick or injured as a result of consuming a pet food product also provide information about your pet, including:

  • Species (dog, cat, rabbit, fish, bird, other)
  • Age, weight, breed, pregnant, spayed/neutered
  • Previous health status of pet
  • Any pre-existing conditions your pet has
  • Whether you give your pet any other foods, treats, dietary supplements or drugs
  • How much of the suspected product your pet normally consumes
  • How much of the “suspect” product was consumed from the package?
  • How much of the product you still have
  • Clinical signs exhibited by your pet (such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy)
  • How soon after consuming the product the clinical signs appeared
  • Your veterinarian’s contact information, diagnosis and medical records for your pet
  • Results of any diagnostic laboratory testing performed on your pet
  • How many pets consuming the product exhibited clinical symptoms
  • Whether any pets that consumed the product are not affected
  • Whether your pet spends time outdoors unsupervised
  • Why you suspect the pet food caused the illness


Page Last Updated: 11/20/2015
Note: If you need help accessing information in different file formats, see Instructions for Downloading Viewers and Players.