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Alert! Dog Treats Killing Our Dogs

We've been hearing reports in the news of dogs getting sick, and in some cases dying and no real connection has been made - yet.

NBC, ABC and others have done or are doing pieces in TV news and in print on this matter, but I haven't noticed them until just recently; probably because the pieces were infrequent, they weren't headlined and our dog exhibited no problems so, like most I suspect, I just didn't pay much attention to it -- until about a week ago.

I have had dogs, among other animals, all my life. We currently have just one; a Queensland Healer, and he's awesome. We just lost our Chocolate Lab; he had cancer and had to be put down, but he loved a long and pretty good life.

About 2 weeks ago I noticed our little guy wasn't up to snuff. He was somewhat listless, ears weren't perked up, he didn't have that proud bouncy step he usually has and he just wasn't as gregarious as he usually is, going off by himself and just laying around. He even vomited and in the almost three years we've had him this was the first time I recall him getting sick. Odd, but we couldn't put a finger on it.

Then, just this past week, I saw a teaser on NBC about dogs getting sick. I didn't put it together and all I saw and heard was the teaser - and I wasn't glued to the TV when I heard it either. But from what little I heard, my first thought was feed. The incidents were not location specific, area specific or even state specific, but they had a common thread; dogs were getting sick and dying.

Well, our little buddy started to vomit more, sometimes 2 or even 3 times in one day; but not everyday. Sometimes after he got sick, his pep would return just a bit later and all was forgotten -- until I put 2 + 2 together and started to Google info.

The result of that search? No More Treats for our little guy; not even one.

Here's just one of many, many pieces I ran across: Web Link

My wife buys the bulk of treats from Costco. We have boxes of the stuff; all kinds.

I just got done reading the containers the treats we have are packaged in. One clearly states distributed by Kirkland (Costco brand) and Made in USA. They're rather large "Milk Bones". The next one I read was a little harder to deal with. Also purchased at Costco, I could not find where it was from anywhere on the box. The distributor, however, is prominently displayed - Nestle's. Nestle's is on the list of bad treats as a distributor of the treats made in China. That box is out of here, In fact, until I can be certain, our little fella isn't going to be as happy as he's been in the past because he gets No Treats of any kind unless and until I am sure of the safety of it.

In the meantime, I will do some research. I would suggest any other dog owners do the same. Poison is poison. It doesn't take much to start shutting down the organs of our friends and companions and it may (as some poisons are, be cumulative).

Be very careful what you give your friend(s).

Anyone else out there have something similar? If so, please share. The more we know, the better decisions we can make going forward.

Thank you.


Yes, i read labels VERY carefully for anything that gets anywhere my dogs' mouths. Only specific products made in the USA, in small quantities. Brand is not safe, they may have one product made here and other similar products made in China. If it only says "Distributed by..." it stays on the store shelf, regardless of what brand it is. Same caution for products like rawhide bones, any kinds of treats or chewies, food, biscuits, etc. I currently trust no one, and the bigger the corporate owned, the more likely you can get a toxic product from them...cheap is the byword, except for executive salaries.

Also, there are an increasing number of food allergies I'm seeing in dogs, especially chicken. Since chicken used to be the meat of choice for allergic dogs, this tells me that it's something being fed to the chicken that's the problem. Could be antibiotics, drugs of all kinds, genetically engineered crops (which many farmers are finding their cattle won't touch...), even arsenic. Yes, I said arsenic! Apparently arsenic makes food birds gain faster, have fewer parasites, etc. And no, the FDA and USDA are not planning to do a thing about it. Big Ag talks and spreads too much money around the halls of Washington, and the revolving door for top level people in related gov't agencies between jobs in these companies and jobs in those agencies is too well greased to expect any action in our behalf. Same thing is true in large animal feeds; I read labels on goat feed as well.

Best thing I can suggest for dogs is to use a limited ingredient feed like Natural Balance limited ingredient products. They have biscuits, canned and dry dog food. I have to use the Fish and Sweet Potato for two of my German shepherds who have food allergies. There a other options in that line as well. I'm not totally comfortable with fish either, because of the terrible conditions in foreign fish farms, but at least it's not chicken.

I've bred, raised, shown, trained, and worked search and rescue dogs for over 50 years, so I have some background in this area. The times, they are a'changin'. Nothing on the shelves can be assumed to be safe without studying labels and avoiding any thing at all that comes from China, or even outside the U.S.

There are some web sites that track these things, as well as a couple that will automatically send alerts. Do a search and get on their lists!

Good luck!

Make your own dog food:

Web Link

and for a few recipes:

Web Link

Scroll down to "Watch the Video on Homemade Dog Food" and "making your own dog biscuits." Both are just above "Ads by Google."

George, are you seriously giving advice about potential dangers to dogs? Don't you think for the sake of clarification and full disclosure that you should remind folks that you shot and killed a dog in your yard a few years back? Doesn't the hypocrisy even occur to you?

"George, are you seriously giving advice about potential dangers to dogs?" Is there something in the piece I wrote that you don't understand? It seems fairly apparent that I am warning anyone interested that there is a very serious issue that needs attention regarding the health of our dogs. Giving advice? Maybe. Alerting dog owners of a very serious matter? Definitely; and eager for constructive input from others on it as well.

In fact, NBC just aired a piece about an hour ago on this very topic.

The incident you coyly mention was a very unfortunate incident. No one won anything that day. It was unfortunate, regrettable and preventable - and it was a direct result of irresponsible pet owners that live in OC. That day can only be measured in degree of loss.

I see no correlation between the two matters; and your closing comment just demonstrates your ignorance to that point - "Doesn't the hypocrisy even occur to you?" No, I don't because there isn't any. If you had a clue as to what happened on that day you would not have been so careless in your comments.

HB, thanks for the links. My wife asked me to find some recipes for doggy snacks not 3 hours ago.

To pae: thanks. I leave reading the labels to Pam, and she's pretty good at it. Of course you know our background with animals which teaches us to read the labels. But this one is slippery. From the examples I mentioned above, nowhere on that one box did it say "Made in China". However, after scouring the container, I didn't see where the product was made on it anywhere. Tricky little buggers; and it is a brand name, too - Nestle's and Purina; names most pet owners have trusted for decades. They not only manufacture, distribute and sell dog treats, they also do the same with dog food. They have been highly regarded in that area for many years. Not anymore.

I am going to take a hard look at HB's info (thanks again HB) and the treats our little buddy Was getting he will no longer have access to. They're gone (poor little guy).

As noted above, there are too many links to provide on this, but if one wants to learn more, just Google 'tainted dog treats'.

George, I'm sorry for your little guy. I feel so bad, because our animals trust in us to do right by them. How are we to know that a Corporation's Profit incentive to import dog food from China could lead to this? Well, perhaps we should know, after all. Look at ethics on Wall Street, in the Lending Industry, heck, just look at Bain Capital, and what they stand for. Profits over People.

Here are some links to check out:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Most dog pros avoid any feed which doesn't have meat (not byproducts) as the first ingredients. Or one that contains much of any cereal grains.

Purina has been one company, along with Nestle, the dog professionals have been avoiding for a long time. Once, many years ago, they weren't bad, but I haven't used Purina for any animals for over 40 years. Why? Before the made in China fiascos, they have been a corn based, high bulk, low digestible ingredients food. you pay money, feed it, and clean up most of it in the back yard. It doesn't have high quality protein sources of any account (ever see the analysis of shoe leather? Looks great, but contains nothing nourishing) Grain based feeds are cheaper, but dogs are carnivores, not herbivores primarily. You can evaluate a feed by the quality of your dog's coat, his weight, and the quantity in the pooper scooper. If it's not digestible, it doesn't do the dog any good. These two companies especially are looking first at their bottom line, then later at the dog's condition. You won't find many Purina users among breeders and show people for that reason.

Purina cuts the cornersmon its large animal feeds, too. They like to use cottonseed, for one thing, because it's really cheap and tastes good. They don't talk about the fact that cottonseed contains a toxic substance called gossypol, which causes liver, heart and other organ damage, reproductive failures, birth defects, and other problems. They use it for the bottom line, and because the USDA doesn't say they can't. Many farmers don't know what this substance is or what causes many farmyard problems, and the vets don't tell them. I found out from one sentence about gossypol toxicity in one of my goat medicine textbooks. One sentence! When I ran a search online, I was horrified...over 50,000 returns on gossypol poisoning in food animals. And not one study of what eating those food animals might do to humans who eat them. Try it, you'll be shocked, too. I read goat food labels as carefully as I read dog food labels now. I had goat losses, and didn't know why. Now I wonder...

So, Purina is a dirty word in my house, and Nestle not much better. Both were heavily implicated in the melamine poisonings several years ago as well.

Word to the wise...

Thanks Cid. The little guy is fine. The reason he is fine is because we pay attention to him and caught this thing very early. Although he did get sick a few times, none of those incidents were violent or life threatening.

We don't lavish him with treats, either. He gets them as rewards for doing something he should do or for training purposes mostly.

That's why I posted this thread; so folks that may have noticed unusual behavior in their dog might compare. Had we not caught this early, well... I don't want to think about what might have been. Some of the dogs that have suffered from this - mystery illness - have died.

I hope everyone that has a little buddy maybe takes an extra look, or pays a little more attention. It may save their dog from obvious discomfort or worse.

For those that may not have put 2+2 together yet and have a dog that's exhibiting the behavior described, I would strongly urge you to get your dog to the vet.

I may yet do a blood test on this guy here, if now that his treats are toast he exhibits similar behavior; but I doubt that will happen now.

He's only had a few incidents, none of which lasted long, and that proud pep is in his step. I think he'll be fine.

Thanks again pae. Our posts crossed apparently.

With our livestock, we have always been real sticklers. After years and years of raising different species, we know what feeds are best for what we are trying to accomplish. For example, a newborn critter may need more of one ingredient than an adult of the same species. Protein should be just like you said; at the top of the list.

But with dog food, we've been more relaxed because we've just trusted what seems to have worked over the years. Guess we can't do that anymore.

You have provided some very good information here, pae. Thank you for that. One of the many points you note is something I just do from habit; look at the stool. An animal's stool will tell you a lot, and different animals have different stool characteristics. Goats and sheep, for example, have pellets. We all know what a dog's stool should look like and our little buddy is spot on in that regard. Paying attention to your pet's stool can be very helpful in many regards. One of many good points pae brings.


I must agree with the Grub. The comments George makes, when put in perspective, seem deliberately inflammatory and snide.

Someone lost their dog and true companion that day, regardless of the extenuating circumstances. These comments come off as only a cruel twist of the knife called grief.

This is what killed my pet...

Web Link

I don't think it's fair to blame Purina or Nestles for the melamine poisonings:

"Surplus melamine has been an adulterant for feedstock and milk in mainland China for several years now because it can make diluted or poor quality material appear to be higher in protein content by elevating the total nitrogen content detected by some simple protein tests. Actions taken in 2008 by the Government of China has reduced the practice of adulteration, with the goal of eliminating it. Court trials began in December 2008 for six people linked to the scandal and ended in January 2009 with two of the convicts being sentenced to death and executed."

not to hijacka thread, but here is another animal risk that was just published in the Clifornia Garden Club newsletter regarding PVC Pipes and birds:

Bird and Wildlife Conservation

by Donna Thomas, Conservation Feature Editor

"Any vertical pipe with an open top from one to ten inches wide can be a hazard to birds and other wildlife. The open pipe problem has been highlighted recently by discoveries of dead birds and other wildlife in PVC mining claim markers across the western United States. A biologist in the Ridgecrest Bureau of Land Management Office and the Manager of the California Audubon Kern River Preserve told me about this issue. They spoke about two examples of the hazard that they knew about. A biologist in Nevada removed 195 mine claim markers containing 740 dead birds, including one pipe that encased 31 bird skulls and carcasses. Audubon California staff pulled down a twenty foot tall ventilation pipe with a six inch wide opening from an abandoned irrigation system in a field adjoining the Kern River Preserve and found a seven foot long mass of decomposed carcasses of 231 dead birds and animals including kestrels, flickers, bluebirds and fence lizards. The pipe had been in place for over fifty years posing a silent unknown threat and entombing birds and small animals leaving no trace until it was removed.

Birds in all seasons can fall into open pipes while looking for nesting sites, food, or just out of curiosity. Once inside the pipe, birds are not able to spread their wings to fly out and the smooth sides of the pipe make it impossible for them to climb out. Open top vertical pipes can occur on sign posts, fences, survey markers, irrigation markers, and even on plumbing vents on commercial and residential buildings as well as on motor homes.

Look around your home and property to identify all open top vertical pipes – uncovered vent pipes, chain link fence posts or any other upright open pipe. There are some simple steps you can take to help in bird conservation. You can remove the posts and pipes or take action to cover or cap them. Sign posts, fence posts and mining claim markers can be filled with dry sand, dirt or gravel and then closed by putting a metal or cement cap on top. Vent and dryer pipes on buildings and motor homes cannot be covered completely, but there are several types of covers available commercially that will allow for air flow and yet still prevent birds and animals from entering. You can put screens over sapling or plant protector tubes, or leave openings near the bottom to provide an “escape hatch” in case birds and wildlife enter or fall in.

One final thing that each of us can do to help is to share what we have learned about the dangers of open pipes whenever we see them while visiting other properties whether public or private. Tell others about the hazards so that we can save (and enjoy) the lives of our feathered friends."

"I don't think it's fair to blame Purina or Nestles for the melamine poisonings:"

Although the way so many coincidences line up here, I'm not sure we're blaming anyone, yet. What I have done, for example, is note the manufacturers names of treats that I believe have made our little guy sick; but I don't have proof. All I have is a series of events; but when taken in the context of similar events, some ending in the death of the dog, one certainly should take it seriously.

What's that old saying?: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Works for me. If it were a bicycle tire or a widget, I probably wouldn't give it a second thought; but when it's my little buddy and similar incidents are happening around the country, well ... I believe it prudent to err on the side of caution and at the same time seek help, advice and similar circumstances from others.

Btw, the one container I mentioned above shows Nestle Purina as the manufacturer. That's the one that has no print on where the contents were made. That one now resides in the bin outside that Allied Waste will pick up Thursday.

Now, I should know this, but it seems the two may be in fact one company. Further, I suspect it's publicly traded, but I've never traded any shares so I'm not sure. Plus, there could be several separate companies with similar names: example; Purina, then Nestle, then another with Nestle Purina. I find that a bit hard to believe, but I don't know.

Cid, your realtor slip is showing. Can't take you anywhere. :)

I should eat this well:

Web Link

You and me both.

Thanks HB. Good stuff (in more ways than one).

George, actually, that was my gardening slip.... I used an article out of the CA Garden Club Newsletter... but the way it ended , I can sort of see your point.

Just as a follow-up: From the moment I threw out the treats mentioned above (and AW picked them up this morning), our little guy has had nothing but spring in his step. He's back to the proud little guy we love.

Coincidence? Maybe, but it works for me.

Be very careful out there folks. I hope this thread has helped others. The information that has unfolded since its initiation has been very helpful to me.

Thanks to all that participated and Good Luck.

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