Purina sued over claims it killed 4,000 dogs with 'toxic' food


It never ceases to amaze me how people will spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a pet dog, and then spend as little as possible to feed it. Beneful? A bunch of corn meal where the only named proteins are chicken by-product meal (which is basically ground rendered carcasses after the muscle meat’s been taken for more profitable products, with some small proportion of organ meat) at #2 and beef (which must be muscle meat) at #7 by weight. Not to say that one should expect the cheap supermarket pet food to be actively harmful… but as a rule I avoid inexpensive mass market foods like the plague because they’re a nutritional mess. And when the bulk-sourced filler from some overseas producer starts making animals sick, you can bet it’s way more likely to be the really cheap stuff.

Hint: if the first (primary) ingredient of your kibble is a grain and not a named protein, you’re buying crappy food. Corn, wheat flour, brown rice, and pearled barley are fillers and empty carbs. By contrast, a good kibble ration will have named protein sources as its primary ingredient by weight (chicken, duck, turkey, beef, fish, etc. and rendered meals of those proteins which contain ground bone and organs of specified protein sources) and present in 2-3 of the top ingredients at minimum. The ration for my pups has 4 of the top 7 ingredients as named proteins, and if you want to get really persnickety you can feed kibble that doesn’t contain grain (legumes, potato, and sweet potato usually take their place). I also mix in some canned food that, honestly, I’d pour in a bowl, heat, season with salt, and have for lunch in a pinch. It costs me about $50 a month for 40 pounds worth of dog, which isn’t exorbitant. Way less than what I pay to put meals in my own food-hole.

I’m sure the BARF folks will come out of the shadows to jump on this, but I wouldn’t recommend a raw diet for an inexperienced pet owner. However, with even a modicum of forethought and planning anyone can feed a quality dry ration.


Interestingly enough, one of the possible sources of the poisoning is from molds in the grains. The price may have gone up over the past few years, but switching my pups to a basic fish-based grain-free kibble a few years back produced noticeably better results.

Just look back to the 2007 melamine recall to see all the fancy-label brands from the national brands using substandard crap. If Ekanuba and Evo end up on the same list as Ol’Roy (Walmart’s finest), you know you’re being ripped off.

Also, Dick Van Patten’s brand may test all their foods for contaminants, but it gave my dogs the worst shits of their lives.

Sounds like what happened to my dog about 5 years ago. And fuck me, his other owner was feeding him that food.

I see what you’re saying, dude, but I’d like to live in a world were people can buy something labeled “dog food” that doesn’t fucking kill their dogs…


In fairness, the domestication and evolution of dogs from wolves has always been about us feeding them the most worthless garbage from our kitchens. I’m not saying people shouldn’t treat their pets well or ethically, but that’s just the wretched history of it. The reality is we use protein that’s cheap and plentiful and won’t piss people off. It’s kind of like when there is chicken or beef in cat food. You know a cat ain’t taking down livestock in the wild anytime soon. Tell someone you’re starting a mouse and sparrow farm to make cat food and PETA will show up and wreck your shit. That’s why a lot of cat food these days is starch pellets sprayed with protein slurry.


Even after reading the original article I can’t figure out if they’re talking about the dry Beneful or the canned kind. Does anyone have this info? My two dogs have been eating the kibble and thank god they aren’t showing any signs of sickness but this scares the daylights out of me.

Ok, after some Googling it looks like the Original kibble has tested for mycotoxins. First thing tomorrow I am buying new food & throwing the Beneful out!

In fairness, what we bring into out kitchens in the first place isn’t what it used to be.


Mycotoxins are nasty things. They’re what caused most cases of ‘possession’ and ‘witchcraft’ since they have some very nasty effects on people. It was especially bad in colonial america, where people were often growing European grains in a climate that didn’t suit it. The pioneer lifestyle meant that you couldn’t just chuck out the grain if it had a bit of mould, since you’d starve. It’s also really hard to stop them and one of the main reasons for using fungicides.

I’d guess that dogs generally aren’t used to a diet of grains (being carnivores and all) and have had much less time to adapt defences than humans. Couple that with dog breeding that doesn’t give a damn about the health of an animal and you’d expect dogs to suffer badly when exposed to low levels of mycotoxins.

The symptoms sound like acute poisoning rather than chronic effects, so that would fit mycotoxins too - rather than some other ingredient.

Since grain fodder for dogs is the crappy stuff that isn’t fit/desirable for humans, I would expect storage conditions to be similarly second-rate. It only takes one dodgy grain store and you could spread mycotoxin across a lot of food batches.

This is going to suck for Purina, because they don’t just make pet food. They also feed the wild animals at the zoo, and a lot of farm animals too. You can bet farmers are going to pay close attention to a story like this - they aren’t stupid, and their livelihood could be at stake. It’s going to take a while to earn back that trust.


So this was for Beneful; what about Benefiber?

How’s about feeding dogs what they’re supposed to eat…?! Y’know, meat ‘n’ bones ‘n’ marrow ‘n’ stuff…?

People seem to have forgotten that dogs are wolves, and that cats are basically miniature lions. Every animal (and we’re animals, too, something vegans seem to forget - accidentally or otherwise) has a dietary genetic blueprint, and you don’t see wolves and lions chewing down on grass, do you…?!

The myth that humans need a high-carb/low-fat diet seems to have pervaded vet psyche, too, and our pets are suffering from the same diet-related diseases that we do because of it.

This is bound to be controversial, but I’d ban vegans from keeping non-herbivorous pets; it’s one thing for them to destroy their own health by eating a, virtually-nutrient-free diet, but it’s quite another for them to force that diet on a pet - or a child. Unless they can prove the pet - or the child - will be fed an appropriate diet - otherwise it’s abuse. Vegans claim they’re vegan because they’re against animal cruelty, but I can think of a good few cases where vegans have been indicted for pet and child abuse.

Humans are the only animal species to deny themselves a healthy diet because it’s ‘cruel’. When was the last time a lion quit mid-hunt and thought, “Hang on a minute! Zebra have a right to live, too! I’m so evil for eating them, I think I’ll just munch the veldt like they do”.

I’m afraid I simply can’t understand the vegan mindset, and it’s not for want of trying. Especially when they do things like this:

That’s a vegan dog - looks a picture of health, doesn’t he…?

I won’t get into your misinformed comments about veganism in general, but I will say that I’ve known plenty of vegans and not one has so much as considered feeding their pets (cats, usually) a vegan diet. They’d be the first ones calling the SPCA for that poor dryer dog.


Yeah. It’s better.

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I added emphasis there because, as a BARF guy, I’d like to preemptively come to your defense in case there are those who want to jump on your comment. Choosing a BARF diet was not something my family did lightly or without a lot of careful research and planning. It also hasn’t been a static thing. We’ve had to make adjustments, and have sometimes supplemented it with high-end canned food.

Any BARF folks who want to get foodier than thou are missing the fact that you’re clearly paying close attention to what you’re feeding your pets.

I’ve gotten to the point where I only really shop in four of the 12 aisles at a typical grocery store because all the other aisles are filled with digestible non-food. Don’t think that the pet food aisle is any different from this equation. Newsflash: Mainstream dog food is rubbish, just like cereal, frozen dinners, most canned food, canned soups, crackers, cookies, chips, white bread, soda…

What does this even mean? Of course it’s food. Canning, freezing, and preserving have been around for centuries at this point. It’s not like it’s untested technology. Out modern diets are extremely nutritious, the only problem seems to be we get too much out of our food. Unless you want to go back in time to a period when most Americans got their energy from a diet high in sugar, and suffered massively from deficiencies, or before Sinclair wrote The Jungle, or when when we were using lead as an artificial sweetener. I’d say we’ve got it pretty good.


Interesting, however be careful about getting too fancy with your dog food selection. I recently switched from a high priced fancy no-grain filler dog food that was purchased at a local store to science diet at my vets recommendation. My dogs energy has doubled and all her digestive issues went away. Many of these high protein brands have weird ingredients that can trigger low level allergies in pets. Basically, I am now a walking advertisement for science diet. And pumpkin… plain canned pumpkin for upset dogs.

I moved 2 posts to a new topic: Non-foods