Recently, some negative statements have appeared on various blogs concerning Purina’s Beneful brand dog food. These allegations and misleading statements indicate that the product may cause specific problems, ranging from basic vomiting and diarrhea to death. These statements are not backed by any scientific studies, and the conditions described in the postings are amongst the most common conditions seen in everyday veterinary practice.
When a pet is sick, pet owners often look first to the pet’s food as the cause. However, it is rare that their food is responsible for the illness.
I’ve read through many of the current comments regarding Beneful and believe they do not provide any evidenced-based rationale for making such claims. Some of the comments mention illness resulting from a “one time feeding,” which in itself could be the cause of the gastro-intestinal symptoms described. A pet’s food should not be changed abruptly. Instead, whenever a new food is introduced, it should be mixed with the previous food on a gradual basis, over a period of a week to 10 days, to help prevent such symptoms from occurring. Other claims are that the dog suffered from chronic weight loss, or even death, but from these internet descriptions, it seems possible that these animals were ill to begin with and thus the diet (Beneful or otherwise) likely had nothing to do with the illness.
I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 40 years, specializing in small animal internal medicine and cardiology. During this period I also have participated in numerous pharmaceutical and food trials as well as writing scientific papers on the results of these clinical studies. I edit and am a contributing author of the Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, a book used throughout the world by veterinary students and clinicians for up-to-date, timely and peer-reviewed information on veterinary medicine, including nutritional aspects of medicine.
While in practice, I have trained externs (preveterinary school graduates), interns (first year veterinary graduates) and residents (graduates pursuing a specialty). One of the hallmarks of the training (and that at accredited veterinary institutions) is the need to look for empirical evidence regarding statements made about diseases, drug therapies, surgical techniques and nutritional requirements. To lay blame on one particular product without substantial studies as proof of claim is inappropriate and misguided.
As someone who has worked in the industry for years, including work with Purina, I have been impressed with Purina’s quality and safety standards. Purina pet food products are made under rigorous quality supervision. Prior to making accusations that may be unfounded, it is first necessary to investigate the actual cause of a dog’s illness. Veterinary scientists can help to identify causes of illness and death and should be consulted for their expertise before making broad statements that have not been shown to have a scientific basis.
I do agree that ANY abnormalities noted by pet owners should be brought to the attention of their veterinarian, and any concerns with a particular product should immediately be brought to the attention of the manufacturer so that information can be collected and products appropriately monitored. The veterinarian and the pet owner then can decide whether to contact the FDA, as well. To date there has been no evidence that Beneful has caused any problems when fed to dogs. Poison control groups have not expressed any concerns, nor has the FDA.
As a final remark, I might mention that my own dog, Katie, a happy, healthy 8-year-old Newfoundland has been fed Beneful virtually all of her life. I feed her Beneful because she is a very fussy eater and has refused every other dry food we have tried. Neither cost, nor for that matter, contents are the reason for her getting this food, but rather her own preference. Until I am aware of there being a real reason to discontinue any pet food product made under such rigorous standards and controls, I will continue to feed her the product she chooses to eat.
Dr. Stephen Ettinger is a world-renowned veterinarian with more than 40 years of experience in the veterinary care industry. His areas of expertise include small animal veterinary internal medicine, small animal cardiology, hospital management and professional veterinary development. He continues to practice small animal medicine and works with a number of animal health companies, including serving as the Nestlé Purina Fellow in Veterinary Medicine and as a spokesperson for Purina Care pet insurance.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 1 month ago | Flag
I have 55 years experience
in the dog-loving and dog-care fields and I KNOW that moldy Beneful made my dog Fred ill with UTI symptoms x 2 including hematuria x 1. I have worked in the medical field and in the veterinary medicine field all my life. When I heard the news about Beneful, I immediatel y switched Fred's food. No more UTI symptoms; no more lethargy, drowsiness , sleeping all day, changes we had attributed to age; he is alert, oriented x 3, and plays all day long. He is back to being what he is meant to be: a stubborn wirehaired dachshund.
Beneful is poison. I have sent samples to the state vet toxicology
lab. Purina needs to develop some integrity, grow some testicles, and recall this death in a bag. I have seen too much of it not to believe that Beneful is the sole cause of Fred's illnesses and taking him OFF Beneful brought about his complete recovery.
Marcia from Arkansas
Cikala, 2 months ago | Flag
So you don't think that the number of recent cases where a pet owner opens up a new bag of Beneful and within days their perfectly healthy pet is suddenly very sick or dead is alarming? A commmon question from the vets of these animals is 'did it get into antifreeze?' and that's not alarming? It's too much of a coincidence. And to try to claim that all these people are just lying is way over the top. Just because Beneful refuses to do a voluntary recall does not prove that it's not the food. There is very little regulation of pet food, and what regulation there is is very confusing to the consumer.
I still find it extremely difficult to believe that any vet would endorse Purina pet foods unless they are being compensated. The ingredients alone speak for themselves. On the other hand, it's my understanding that vets receive very little training on pet nutrition, and the classes they do go through are sponsored by major pet food manufacturers. This is really no different than the physicians who are paid to prescribe certain prescription drugs. The fact is, as a pet owner, I can not trust a professional who endorses a product because they are paid to do so. Consumers need to do their own research. If you really feel the ingredients in Beneful are nutritious for your dog after researching them, well, so be it, but I feel sorry for your dog.
GGexpress, 2 months ago | Flag
Wow. I am somewhat offended that the general public does not know enough about veterinary medicine to stop and think- is this really what I beleieve? Just because a vet is paid or speaks up on a particular matter, it seems we get lumped with WallStreet and we are evil and do anything for a buck as opposed to endorsing something we actually research and enjoy. Have you ever stepped into a first year class at vet school? its just not the case- most students know NOTHING of business.
I know for a fact Beneful is a great choice (and used without paid endorsements in VET ICU's) and I would ask all the pet owners who bad-mouth any nutrition company to stop and say- is it just the food or could it be how I treat my pets? Am I making enough PROPER sacrifices to meet the needs of my dog/cat/horse? Do I exercise this pet properly? Do I offer it true to nature stimulation? Am I projecting my own human issues on my pets? Start there first.
FYI-dont think ive seen beneful on a recall list- cant say the same for EVO, Natura or Blue Buffalo. Them be the facts!
Cikala, 2 months ago | Flag
Ah yes, a vet paid by Purina, and we're supposed to trust you when you say that everyone else is lying and only Purina is telling the truth. I can not believe that as a vet of 40 years you would knowingly feed the trash that is Beneful to your dog. Let's forget about the "allegatio
ns and misleading statements " for a moment and focus on the ingredient s of all Purina food. It's trash, pure garbage. There is nothing healthy about it. A concoction of questionab ly sourced animal byproducts with artifical ingredient s and chemicals, not to mention supplement s sourced from China. I wouldn't feed my worst enemy this crap, much less a loved member of my family. Even if you weren't paid by Purina to spout this drivel, the fact that you feed this to your dog would make me not trust a thing you say about animal nutrition.
Ms.Maggie61, 2 months ago | Flag
Really?? I lost one dog to kidney failure another who has high liver enzymes and under vet care. Another that was getting sick. And you are telling me it's not the food! You kidding right! I was told be my vet to switch their food immediately and guess what? they are doing much better. Do you really think that I would ever take to chance of feeding them Beneful again!! I had 5 now I have 4 my dogs that go for check ups every 6 months and you are telling me I must of had sick dogs to begin with!! It was the dog food or should I say the posion that was feed to them because there is no way of explaining why they are doing much better after removing them from Beneful. Shame on you! I will never let a family friend co-work feed their dogs this garbage. I'm telling everyone I know about my experience with this product and let them decided if they would like to take the risk. I am also letting them know to take their dogs to the vet immediately. I have already had reports from people that I have have told that they are experiencing some of the symptoms that my dogs did. If I save a dog I will and hopefully I have saved some already.
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