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Euthanasia drug found in dog food, popular brands pulled from shelves

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Retailers pulled some name brand dog food from store shelves after a euthanasia drug was found in several products.

"I was a little surprised, but at the same time you hear all sorts of stuff about what is and what isn't in dog food," said Sam Porach, pet owner.

The FDA started an investigation after a TV station tested several cans of Gravy Train dog food and found 60 percent contained pentobarbital, a drug used to euthanize animals, found in some products.

"It's a tranquilizing drug that is sometimes used by veterinarians in animal shelters to reduce anxiety in animals and ultimately put them to sleep," said Jackie Bowen, the executive director of Clean Label Project.

The Clean Label Project is a non-profit aimed at educating people about toxins in products, including pet food.

"This industry needs to do a lot more testing and be a lot more critical of the ingredients used in its products," said Bowen.

The J.M. Smucker Co. owns the brands in question including Gravy Train, Kibble 'N Bits, Skippy and Ol' Roy.  The company is investigating how pentobarbital got into the supply chain.

"One possible way is through contaminated ingredients," Bowen said.

Between recalls and reading labels, pet owners are left trying to navigate what's really safe.

"Try to go all natural type yah know baked treats and stuff," pet owner Ryan Searle said.

"I feel like there's been a pretty big movement lately on knowing what's in your dogs' food and having higher quality foods," Porach said.

Smucker's said the low level of the drug found in the food does not pose a threat to pets, but admit it's not acceptable. However, the study that triggered all this started because a woman believed the food killed her dog. 

The Clean Label Project has information about pentobarbital in pet food and safe products on its website.