Disclaimer: The “we” referenced in this post isn’t representative of Banfield: The Pet Hospital. The advice contained therein is not advice from Banfield, and the recommendations are not sponsored by Banfield. Banfield is not responsible for anything, good or bad, that happens as a result of the information contained in this post, and in any other posts containing advice regarding pet care that may be found on this site.
I have no “official” sources for this…only what we’ve been seeing at our pet hospital in the past week.
We’ve had a total of 5 dogs (one of them being JB’s – Angus, the Scotty) who’ve been brought in for severe vomiting.
Fecal exams, urinalysis, and blood tests have revealed no abnormalities, aside from elevated liver enzymes (which happens when animals are stressed out and have vomiting and diarrhea – it’s a reactionary, rather than causal, abnormality).
Basically, what that means is that these animals are all otherwise healthy, but something has caused their bodies to react as if they’d swallowed poison.
The dogs are all different breeds, all different ages, but upon interviewing the owners, we’ve found one common factor (the ONLY common factor): all of these dogs have been fed Beneful, if not for a long time, then recently.
Angus has been eating Beneful for a while, and just came down with the symptoms last week. Part of the reason I was at work so long on Thursday was because JB and his parents drove out from Covington to have our vet look at him.
We’ve been dealing with a dog who’s got all kinds of other issues (he only has one working kidney, among other things), but who’s been relatively healthy for the past year. Last week, his owner brought him in because he was wheezing and throwing up. What’s he eating? Beneful.
We had to give emergency fluids to a dog this weekend who had such a severe reaction that he couldn’t even keep Pedialyte down.
I know there have been rumors circulating about Beneful (even snopes.com has it listed as “unconfirmed” on their site, and it was last updated in 2007), that it has mold in it, and that dogs are glassy-eyed and uninterested in food and water, etc., but this is something that’s actually quite different than that.
The dogs are reacting fine – just worn out from vomiting. They’re interested in food and water, they just can’t keep anything down. None of them have diarrhea or any other indication of disease.
What this indicates is a bad batch of dog food.
If you’re currently feeding your dog Beneful, stop as soon as possible.
We recommend Nature’s Recipe dog food – it’s about the same price, and as far as we know, there haven’t been any major issues with any animal eating it.
If you don’t want to go by my food recommendation – I understand. However, if you’re going to try to feed something else, here’s a handy tip: in Petsmart stores (at least, the one I’m in), the dog food is arranged with the higher-quality food in the front, and the lower-quality food in the back. The closer to the front of the store you’re picking up the food, the better off your dog will generally be. If you’re still unsure, just check the ingredients on the bags toward the front, and compare it to the bags in the back. There’s a notable difference, and for dogs it’s the difference between us preparing meals at home that are well-balanced, or eating at Taco Bell every day.
Switching your dog’s food suddenly will result in some stomach upset, so unfortunately, you’re going to have to mix it with Beneful for at least a couple of days, then feed them the newer food exclusively.
Hang on to a little bit of Beneful, and make sure to note the batch number on the bag. Keep the bag, if possible. If there’s a recall because of a contaminated batch, that’s how it’ll be announced.
I’ll try to keep updated on the situation, and will continue to post about it here.
Please spread the word. This isn’t some email/spam joke or scare tactic – this is from someone who’s been dealing with the problem firsthand.