For many people pets are like a part of the family. But recently some dog owners have become concerned that the food they are putting in their dog's bowl could be making the animals sick.
Kim Scarberry said her dog Chloe died from multiple organ failure while eating a mixture of Beneful and Kibbles 'n Bits.
Another viewer's dog Coa was taken to the vet with symptoms ranging from bloody urine to diarrhea and vomiting. The dog had been eating Kibbles 'n Bits.
Social media has been bombarded recently with warnings from one pet owner to another about the dangers of the original version of both brands of dog food. Beneful's Facebook page is flooded with questions and comments from pet owners now questioning the safety of the product.
But a representative for Beneful said there is no clear proof at this point that any of the numerous cases of sickness or death among pets popping up on Facebook are directly related to their products. A statement from Kibbles 'n Bit did not specifically address the claims of pets getting sick while eating their product, saying that if pet owners had concerns about their pet's health relating to their diet they should discuss it with their veterinarian.
"I think some dogs are more sensitive like some people are more sensitive, and if your dog is sensitive I think it is smart to get the foods that don't have any dyes," said Mary Alice Milnes, Huntington. Her family's dog Roscoe had to be switched to a dye free brand of dog food at the direction of the veterinarian because of ongoing skin allergies that were thought to have been prompted by the dye. Roscoe had not been eating Beneful or Kibbles 'n Bits but another brand containing dye.
Veterinarian Jonathan Warner at Good Shepherd Veterinary Hospital in Charleston said there have been no official reports in his office or through any national official veterinarian sources recently relating to Beneful or Kibbles 'n Bits. He also said he is not aware of any recalls or alerts relating to those brands. He did say that dyes, especially red dyes, can lead to skin allergies.
"His skin itched constantly and he'd scratch and they had to give him steroid pills and once they got off the dyes he has gotten a lot better," Milnes added relating to her family dog Roscoe.
Warner said that he often discusses the best pet food options with dog owners based on their individual pet and what the pet owner can afford to spend on food. He says when it comes to lower priced brands of dog food Kibbles 'n Bits and Beneful are not on the list of his recommendations because of the dyes used in the products.
We contacted both Beneful and Kibbles 'n Bits about the recent concerns raised on social media. Below are their statements:
Beneful: "First, let me assure you that there are no product quality issues with Beneful dog food, or any Purina pet foods. Beneful is a 100% complete and balanced, high quality, nutritious food enjoyed by more than 15 million dogs every year. In fact, in 2012, nearly 1.5 billion Beneful meals were served to the millions of happy, healthy dogs who enjoy and thrive on this food. The foods we make for your pets are the same foods we feed our pets.
The quality and safety of our products are our top priorities, and consumers can continue to feed Beneful with complete confidence. Next, we are not aware of any FDA investigation into Beneful. We support the work of the FDA to ensure the safety of U.S. pet food. We have seen reports that some consumers may have contacted the FDA, but we are aware of no findings that would suggest any type of product quality or safety issue.
There are no product recalls of Beneful, and in fact, Beneful has never had a product recall. Like other established brands, Beneful is occasionally the subject of social media-driven misinformation.
On-line postings often contain false, unsupported and misleading allegations that cause undue concern and confusion for pet owners, some of whom may then conclude that the pet's food must have been the cause for an illness. We are aware that in mid-January, a blogger wrote a misleading article about Beneful with a false and inflammatory headline. That blog was circulated widely, causing undue concern and alarm, but the blog failed to provide specific evidence or factual support for the sensational allegations.
Beneful carefully monitors and controls every step of the food production process, from raw ingredients through finished goods. While we have reviewed our consumer contacts and are confident there is no quality issue with Beneful, we take all comments from consumers seriously. We encourage any consumer with a question or comment about one of our products to call and speak with us directly at the toll free number on every package. Any time a consumer believes their pet may be ill, they should contact their veterinarian who is in the best position to assess their pet's health and the various potential causes for an illness."
Kibbles 'n Bits: "At Kibbles ‘n Bits, safety is our #1 priority because we know that dogs are members of the family. To this end, we have strict standards that ensure the quality and safety of our products. Kibbles ‘n Bits takes all consumer concerns seriously and we review every situation individually. If a pet parent has concerns regarding their pet's diet, we encourage them to consult their veterinarian. Consumers with specific questions regarding Kibbles ‘n Bits products should call our toll-free hotline at 800-469-7387."
Beneful's representative also provided links to some additional information. You can follow those by clicking on the links in bold print to the side of this article.