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Archive for the ‘Pet Food Recalls’ Category

An Open Letter to Petsmart

December 12, 2012 32 comments

PugDear Petsmart

I am writing to you to express my deep disappointment in your company and, in my opinion, it’s clear lack of responsibility and concern for its customers and their pets.

On November 18th, I entered one of your stores with the sole purpose of purchasing some cat food and cat litter for my cat.

As I entered the store, I immediately noticed a colorful display featuring Christmas colors and decorations featuring chicken jerky treats made by Nestle-Purina. The bin containing the treats was huge (approximately 4′ x 4′ x4′) and had large signs posted all over it announcing a sale on the large bags of treats.  It was conveniently located right behind the cash registers where people were bound to see it.

I am guessing that many an unsuspecting dog owner has been waiting in line and seen that conveniently placed large bin of treats and made a last-minute purchase for their pet, thinking it would be a nice “special’ treat to give them. Little did they know that in doing so they could be placing their pet’s life in danger. But, you did know, didn’t you?

I am embarrassed to say that I went ahead and got my cat supplies, instead of leaving immediately, and stood in line at the cash register, continuously looking at that bin of chicken jerky treats with disgust and disappointment.

I was so upset I even mentioned it to the cashier, telling her how disappointed I was that Petsmart was promoting a product that had been linked to so many dog illnesses and deaths. What she told me next was either a bald-faced lie or something she made up on her own. She said that the dogs who had gotten sick had only gotten sick because people were feeding them to their pets as meals and not treats. Seriously? Are you kidding me?

I was furious. I told her that she was wrong and that what she said wasn’t true. She didn’t respond any further, but I left your store absolutely fuming. What the hell???

I was so mad that I then posted this on my Facebook page:

“Wow Petsmart. Is that what you’re telling people now? The dogs that died from Chicken Jerky treats died because the owners were feeding them as meals. Really? Nice that you have them in a big sales display by the registers too. On sale. Ugh!!!!!”

I expected to have some of my dog blogging friends to comment on my post, but imagine my surprise when one of my friends mentioned she had been told the very same thing about a month before by another Petsmart employee in another state!

Kind of a strange coincidence don’t you think Petsmart? It makes me wonder… Are you purposely lying to your customers so they will spend money in your store regardless of the danger these treats pose to their pets? Or, are you selling these treats because you have some sort of contract with their maker that you must fulfill? Neither answer is a very good one for your customers is it?  If they lose their pet, you still make money. If they lose their pet, the company making the treats still makes money too. But, is it worth losing a customer and their money?

Because you just lost me. You may choose to sell these products for the almighty dollar, but you will never see my dollars gracing your store again. You can choose to be honest with your customers and tell them the truth AND stop selling these treats, OR you can choose to put money before the pets you so actively claim to care about, but you can’t do both. I won’t support a company that tells its customers that the only dogs impacted by these treats were the ones who were fed it as “a meal.” You know it’s not true and so do I.

By the way…

That same day, another friend who also happens to be a pet sitter told me about a dog client who almost died after her client fed them to her dog. Luckily, my friend was aware of the dangers of these treats and alerted her client immediately. The dog spent a week in the care of university veterinarians and almost didn’t make it.

A week later, a friend contacted me because both her dogs were ill. They were throwing up, had diarrhea and were lethargic. My first thought was to ask her if she had given them any of these treats. She had. Imagine her horror at discovering the treats could have killed her cherished companions? Fortunately for her, her dogs recovered, but so many have not.

Signed,

Your former customer

For Pet Owners:

Canadian Video Exposes the Dangers of Chinese Chicken Jerky Treats (Dog Food Advisor)

Documents Related to Jerky Treats Investigation Released by FDA (PetSitUSA)

Nestle Purina: Recall Chicken Jerky Treats Made in China (Change.org)

FDA Reports 360 Dogs, 1 Cat Dead After Eating Chicken Jerky Treats (NBCBayArea.com)

Dogs Still Dying of Chinese Made Jerky Treats, Enough is Enough (Steve Dale, ChicagoNow)

FDA warns about US-made chicken jerky pet treats (NBCNews.com)

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The Pet Food Recall and Concerning Implications

May 4, 2012 16 comments

As some of you may know, Diamond Pet food issued an expansion to their recall Friday evening. This is commonly known as a dump and run by many who have dealt with these recalls before. A dump and run is when a company, in this case Diamond, Wellness and many others, issue a press release/recall after closing hours so they don’t have to deal with consumer questions and complaints. I guess they are hoping that we will all have forgotten about the recall by Monday morning.

What concerns me most (in addition to the latest recall) are the four other pieces I read late Friday and Saturday evening.

Distributor States Canidae, Natural Balance, and one Wellness Product Recalled  (May 4, 2012, Truth About Pet Food) Please note: it’s what is in this post and not in the Diamond Foods release that concerns me.

CDC: Salmonella in dog food sickens 14 people in US; SC plant had toxic mold problem in 2005 (May 4, 2012, Washington Post)

Salmonella in dog food sickens 14 people across US (May 4, 2012, Wall Street Journal)

State and Federal Programs Helped Catch Contaminated Dog Food: 14 humans ill; CDC says dog illnesses are not tracked (May 5, 2012, Food Safety News)

The toxic mold that was found in this same South Carolina plant in 2005? It killed dozens of dogs. Yes, the latest recalls have to do with Salmonella, but 5 people have already been hospitalized. What would it do to a person with a compromised immune system?

Maybe that’s why Therese Kopiwoda’s post over at PetSitUSA resonated with me so much. Dear Pet Food Companies Have some respect

I am guessing I am not the only one feeling a bit angry and frustrated by all these recalls.

What are we supposed to feed our dogs when even the most trusted brands are compromised? Already I have spoken with two different people who’s dogs or friend’s dogs were being fed the recalled food – both trusted brands. No answers seem to be forthcoming right now, but I think Diamond and the others need to answer a whole lot of questions before I  and many other pet food owners trust them again. I have decided to go completely with The Honest Kitchen.

I wrote this piece back in 2010, but given all the recalls I wanted to share it again – Why You Should Save Your Dog/Cat Food Bag. Please keep your dog and cat food bags. I don’t know where this will end, but I suspect that this is not over yet.

More information on specific company recalls:

Canidae (The recall affects only products distributed in the following Eastern U.S. states and were manufactured at the Diamond Pet Food Gaston, South Carolina plant. Further distribution to other pet food channels may have occurred. States: Florida, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee)

Diamond (The recall affects only products distributed in the following U.S. states and Canada.  Further distribution through other pet food channels may have occurred. States: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Canada)

Natural Balance (This one DOES include Minnesota. States: Recalled products may have been distributed in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming and Canada.)

Taste of the Wild ((The recall affects only products distributed in the following U.S. states and Canada.  Further distribution through other pet food channels may have occurred. States: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Canada)

Wellness (No states listed)

For the latest updates on the recall, please go to PetsitUSA.

Animal Welfare – Wishing for days of old

April 9, 2012 14 comments

Do you ever get weary of all that is going on in the world today? Do you ever wish that you didn’t know as much about the pet world as you do?

I know I do. Sometimes I wish for the days of old; when I was oblivious to all the worries and concerns that I face as a pet owner today.

Back then, I knew so much less about dogs, animal rescue, puppy mills, dog shows, dangerous pet foods, tainted dog treats, lost dogs, etc. The world seemed so much less complex.

I could toss my dog a milk bone and not worry about whether it was from China or would make my dog fat. I could watch a dog show in total ignorance and just revel in the beauty of the various breeds without judgement about whether the dog was able to breathe or had a life span of six years. I could look in a pet store window and just laugh at the cute little puppy inside without thinking about where the puppy came from and what kind of conditions its parents lived in.

It’s so much easier today to become overwhelmed and weary by all that goes on behind the scenes. There is SO MUCH information out there nowadays. Of course, the benefit is that you can just about choose any interest and focus solely upon it, but always, just around the edges, lingering just outside your peripheral vision, is that other stuff. The stuff you don’t want to think about. The stuff you don’t want to know. The stuff you would rather ignore.

I know that educating people about puppy mills does make a difference – even if it only prevents one more puppy mill puppy from being sold or motivates one person to take action to close them down. I also know that sharing information about a dangerous pet product can make a difference, especially for that one person who might have lost their best friend if not for that blog post or status update to warn them. And, I know that sharing that one picture of a lost dog may be the one “share” that makes the all the difference to that lost dog and their owner.

But every once in a while, just for a second or two, I really DO wish for the less complex days of old.

The Chicken Jerky Treat Jerkaround

April 6, 2012 36 comments

I’ve been watching this story unfold for some time now with much anger and disbelief. I have even posted the stories and news updates on my Facebook page, and on my own personal page, in hopes that by doing so dog owners would know the danger of giving their dogs these treats.

Dog Jerky Deaths With No FDA Recall Prompt Campaign Against Nestle Purina (Huffington Post, March 5, 2012)

3 big brands may be tied to chicken jerky illness in dogs, FDA records show (MSNBC, March 13, 2012)

Consumer Pleas, FDA Warnings Ignored by All Major Retailers (Truth About Pet Food, April 3, 2012)

Consumers desperate for answers clutch at straws to stop jerky treats from poisoning more dogs (Poisoned Pets, February 22, 2012)

Vets discourage use of any pet treats from China (My Fox 31 Online, mysouthwestga.com, February 16, 2012)

It frustrates me that after all the recalls back in 2007 – after so very many dogs died after eating the pet food loaded with melamine from China – that the FDA and the companies that make these chicken jerky treats would continue to allow them to be sold. Have they learned nothing from what happened in 2007? Did dog food companies not lose enough money, enough consumer loyalty, the last time this happened?

Now there is a petition that you can (and I hope will) sign to ask one of the pet food companies mentioned in the MSNBC report, Nestle Purina, to pull their chicken jerky treats. It was created by a woman who lost her dog after he ate Waggin’ Train “Wholesome” Chicken Jerky, made by Nestle Purina.

I can’t say why Nestle Purina (or the other pet food companies linked to these chicken jerky treats) won’t pull their treats, but it does make me wonder…is there something they value more than our beloved furry friends?

If you’re still not moved to sign the petition, then please watch this video. At 1:36 it features pictures of many of the dogs who died or became seriously ill after eating chicken jerky treats. I don’t like to imagine my dog’s faces featured in a video like this. Do you?

When you’re done signing the petition, please share on Facebook, Twitter or in an email. Pet owners need to know the danger that lies ahead if they give their dogs chicken jerky treats.

Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome pet bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!

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Frontline for Pets – Which is the truth and which is the lie?

August 26, 2011 28 comments

Okay. So I admit it. I have purchased Frontline from a big box store. It’s cheaper than buying it from my vet and it’s more convenient (I can buy it while grocery shopping). Same box. Same name. What’s the harm?

What I didn’t know was how much danger I was putting my dogs in by purchasing it from someplace other than my vet. Or was I?

When I first saw this story on Truth About Pet Food I was afraid. The opening sentence read “A veterinarian has evidence of counterfeit Frontline flea treatment believed to be responsible for a pets death.” The story goes on to report on that there may have been as many as 17 dog deaths related to this counterfeit Frontline. Scary? Yes! “I could have killed my dogs!” I thought. I immediately posted the story on my Facebook fan page and then shared it on my personal page.

But then, as I was working on this blog post, I came across a post following up on the original story. It expanded upon the original story about counterfeit Frontline by saying that the real issue was regarding “…a Frontline product that is supposed to be sold outside the US (is) being sold inside the US.” In other words, a Frontline product manufactured to be sold in the UK could “be re-packaged and sold to a US petsumer. Merial told me there have been no reports – to their knowledge – of the flea and tick treatment itself being counterfeit; only the packaging.” Since dosage instructions and weight guidelines are measured differently in the United States than in the United Kingdom (i.e., oz./lbs vs. mg/kg), if a pet were to receive the wrong dosage this could be a problem. The EPA has already reported that many adverse reactions to flea and tick medications are due to improper use.

Susan, from Truth About Pet Food, goes on to say “Merial told me Frontline is ‘only sold to practicing veterinarians’. So I asked…’If Frontline is only sold to practicing veterinarians, then how is the product available on so many online sites?’ They responded ‘we don’t have a direct answer on this, we don’t really know how these sites receive the product’. (My thought was – you have to sell it to them; that’s how.)” So why the company line saying consumers should “only buy it from a vet?”

I was further confused when I saw a comment on this post referencing a piece on VIN News Service. (VIN is a news media arm of the Veterinary Information Network, the largest online information service devoted to veterinary medicine.)

Suddenly, the truth got even murkier. It shared stories of veterinarians being solicited by unknown individuals, asking them to sell their stocks of Frontline to them or to order more than they normally order, so they could sell the product to these “vendors’ for a profit. It also included assertions that drug companies knowingly or “unknowingly” divert their stocks of pet meds to other vendors despite having “long-standing policies of selling their products only through licensed veterinarians, even for medications that don’t require a prescription.”

Since the “path of distribution is a tightly held secret” among the big box stores and online vendors, like 1-800-PetMeds, you have to wonder which is the truth and which is the lie? If Frontline is really only safest if purchased from a vet why are pharmaceutical companies failing to control distribution of their product? Or, at the very least, why aren’t they ensuring that anyone who sells their product, other than veterinarians, is stopped immediately?

As a dog owner it is really frustrating to know what to do to keep my pets safe. Do I only purchase from a veterinarian? Or, is it safe to buy online or from a big box store? If pharmaceutical companies really are selling this stuff through other channels (on the gray market) why don’t they just come clean and admit it?

Pet food companies used to be really great at hiding the truth too… until 2007 when pets started dying across the country. Owners suddenly became much more educated about their pet’s food and a LOT more cautious about which food they fed their beloved pets. Organic, corn-free, wheat-free, all natural – these are the labels we see now, and for those pet food companies who choose to use these labels to try and deceive the public about their ingredients or processing operations, lawsuits are becoming the norm.

So what’s it going to take for pharmaceutical companies to come clean too? Another incident like 2007? God help us and our pets. I certainly hope not.


Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!

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Why You Should Save Your Dog/Cat Food Bag

October 12, 2010 5 comments

It might sound like a silly thing; having to remind people to save their dog or cat food bags but if you’re like me, and many other people with pets, you probably store your dog food in a sealable container of some sort.

I was just reminded this past weekend why we all need to be saving those bags. On Friday, Blue Buffalo announced a pet food recall for certain brands of their dog food. My mother feeds her Sheltie, Jake, this brand so I called her immediately to alert her. When I asked her what brand she fed him she said she wasn’t sure because she had tossed the bag after putting Jake’s food in another container. Oops! Houston, we’ve got a problem here!

Luckily, she was able to find out that her dog food was not part of the recall after calling the pet store, but this little scare has taught her the importance of keeping the bag. She plans to do so in the future.

So why do you need to keep your bag? Because there are several relevant bits of information on that bag that will help you to know if your dog or cat food is part of a recall, and it helps your vet to alert a company to a possible issue if they begin to see multiple illnesses with their dog and/or cat clients.

Here are some of the things that are on your pet food bag that will help you to know if your pet food is part of a recall:

Exact name of the pet food (Many companies carry the same variations of food ingredients, but under different names, so knowing exactly which one you have is very important.)
Bag size/weight (A recall may only include a certain brand of a certain size or weight. For instance, with the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken recall the 4.5 lb., 11 lb., and 24 lb. bags were recalled, but only the 11 lb. and 24 lb. were recalled in the Salmon.)
Best If Used By Date (Each pet food bag contains a Best If Used By Date. If you do not know what date is on your bag you have no way of knowing whether your food is a part of the recall.)
Code date and/or UPC number (Not every pet food company uses the same identifiers, so having this additional information is helpful. For instance in the limited Iams cat food recall in August, the company issued the recall using these numbers.)

You should consider keeping those treat bags as well. There have had quite a few recalls in the past few months involving dog chews and other treats. Knowing which treats are part of a recall is just as important as pet food.

In the meantime, here is a great resource that you may want to bookmark.

And, don’t forget! Save those bags!
It could save your pet’s life, and possibly someone else’s pet.

Yet Another Pet Food Recall: Blue Buffalo Dog Food

October 10, 2010 3 comments

thumb-wild-chicken

An FDA press release came out yesterday alerting pet owners that Blue Buffalo, Ltd. was recalling some of their dog food for containing high amounts of Vitamin D.

Here are the recalled Blue Buffalo brand dog foods: Wilderness Chicken-Dog, Basics Salmon-Dog and Large Breed Adult Dog products. It’s been discovered to be due to an increased amount of Vitamin D in the food.

You can find more info here and here.

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