They say a dog is a man’s best friend. Indeed, dogs are often a special part of the family, and have inspired sayings such as, ‘Be the person your dog thinks you are’.
It is no surprise then, that a class-action lawsuit pertaining to dogs’ health has been filed after many pet owners found their beloved dogs ill, or even dead.
On February 5, 2015, a potential class action lawsuit against the manufacturer of Beneful dog food was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Plaintiffs allege that certain ingredients in Beneful dry kibble dog food has caused illness in thousands of dogs, and even death in some cases.
Frank Lucido of California is one such Plaintiff. Lucido’s family began feeding all three of their dogs Beneful dog food around New Year’s, after which all three dogs became ill, and one died. The cause of death? It is yet to be confirmed, but internal bleeding in the stomach and liver lesions were found during the post-mortem examination performed on the dog. Similar symptoms were found in Lucido’s other two dogs who had consumed Beneful as well.
Pet owners around the country claim to have had similar tragedies happen to their own dogs, and they, too, believe it was Beneful dog food that poisoned their pets.
Is this dog food really to blame for pet-poisoning, and if so, what exactly is the problem? The lawsuit alleges that certain ingredients found in Nestle Purina PetCare Company’s Beneful dry kibble dog food are poisonous to dogs– particularly, propylene glycol, a known animal toxin that is also found in antifreeze. The lawsuit also alleges that mycotoxins (toxins produced by mold found in grains) pose a threat to dogs’ health. This is, of course, incredibly concerning to pet owners and animal lovers in general.
Bill Salzman, Nestle Purina’s Director of Corporation Communications, called the lawsuit “baseless”, insisting that there is nothing wrong with Beneful dog food. “Like other pet foods, Beneful is occasionally the subject of social media-driven misinformation,” he stated. “Online postings can often contain false, unsupported and misleading allegations that cause undue concern and confusion for our Beneful customers. Bottom Line: Customers can continue to feed [their dogs] Beneful with total confidence.”
Plaintiff’s attorney, Jeff Cerehino of Ram, Olson, Cereghino & Kopczynski isn’t so sure. He says thousands of pet-owners are considering a possible link between Beneful dog food and their pets’ illnesses. “If it’s a hundred or so, it’s like, ‘Okay, a lot of dogs eat Beneful; things happen.’ But when you start getting into the thousands… .”
It is yet unknown how the class-action lawsuit against Nestle Purina PetCare Company will turn out. A company official cited two earlier class-action lawsuits containing similar actions which have been dismissed.
The FDA has never recalled Beneful dog food. Pet owners may want to review the current recall list to see if they have a pet product that has been recalled. The FDA is, however, still concerned about certain dog jerky treats, linked to the deaths of many pets.
In the meantime, veterinarians like Dr. Jennifer Welser with BluePearl Veterinary Partners, urge dog owners to exercise vigilance when it comes to their pets’ behavior and health. “Any time you notice a medical problem or a significant change in your pet’s behavior, you should take them to your family veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital as soon as possible.”
Be the person your dog thinks you are. Take care of your pets.