Panic in the Aisles: The Beneful Lawsuit and You

As you may or may not have heard, the internet was abuzz last week with a series of alarming headlines, such as:

PURINA IS KILLING DOGS

or

CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST DOG-KILLING BENEFUL POISON

etc, etc.

And as these things tend to do in today’s internet age, the story has taken on a life and momentum of its own, just like last year’s “Eukanuba is killing dogs” story that ended up fizzling out and the “New parvo strain is killing dogs” story that also ended up fizzling out. Remember those? No? They were huge at the time, until they realized there was no actual evidence to support the claim and WHOOSH gone, not that it seems to matter these days.

1-800-BetterCallSaul

I take lawsuits with a big huge salt-lick sized grain of salt, because once you’ve seen what people do in court rooms you gain a grim view of human nature. One veterinarian I know of lost a court case alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress for a phone call that never happened, because the plaintiff was able to bring in several family members to perjure themselves and say they heard the harassing call that never took place.

The veterinarian was able to prove the call never occurred using phone records, and the case was overturned on appeal, but not before the plaintiff called in the local consumer advocate, got the clinic on TV, and had to endure months of people coming into the clinic and yelling at the staff. The damage was done.

CC by MikeMccaffrey on Flickr

CC by MikeMccaffrey on Flickr

Filing a lawsuit is easy. Anyone can do it. I can sue the guy across the street tomorrow if I want to. I’ve never met him or interacted with him, but I could, just because. Winning one, proving damage- that’s another story.

Here’s a hard truth: a lot of dogs die every day, and much of the time we don’t know why because people don’t have the money to spend getting a definitive diagnosis on a 15 year old dog who has been vomiting. So they look to the obvious thing: the food! and never actually learn that the dog’s had a percolating abscess in the liver, or a hemangiosarcoma that metastasized, or any one of a number of things that happen. If 1.5 billion bowls of Beneful got eaten last year, it’s a given some of those dogs will die because that happens in life not because their food killed them; but they’re the easy target.

Here are my own FAQs based on the questions I’ve been getting this past week:

1. Is it possible that Beneful has a problem?

Sure. It is possible the case has merit, but until we see the actual proof I can’t say much about it. Given the fact that the suit mentions “propylene glycol” as an antifreeze analogue (it’s not), it seems to be one more tired rehashing of the whole ‘I can’t pronounce it so it’s bad’ argument people like the Food Babe have made so popular recently. Possible? Yes. Likely? I can’t say I have seen any evidence of it. Dr. Weeth has an excellent analysis here.

Were you to believe every “this kills dogs” claim on the net in the last 10 years, you’d have to have given up the following entirely:

Febreze, Swiffer, Iams, Eukanuba, Purina, any commercial dog food, Trifexis, ice water, vaccines, corn, anything with toxins, preservatives, moldy food resulting from lack of preservatives, veterinary care, Advantage, life as we know it.

2. Don’t you believe this poor man?

I believe that the man who filed this lawsuit believes in his heart that this is what killed his dogs. My heart goes out to him for his losses, it truly does. People want accountability for sad events and that is understandable. That still doesn’t prove that the food had anything to do with it.

3. What about melamine? Is your memory so short that you think pet food companies are flawless?

Here’s the thing about the melamine incident I want everyone to remember: Do you know how that story was discovered?

-It was not one person with a Google account and a phone book opened to “law offices.”

-It was not the FDA or companies testing dog food (melamine isn’t something normally tested for.)

-It was individual veterinarians who noticed a pattern, did some digging, talked to each other, and pursued an answer. I watched it happen, and it was incredible. There are some smart vets out there.

I can list about 3 major food problems off the top of my head that veterinarians figured out, and based on their experiences I would agree that not all pet food companies are forthcoming or proactive when it comes to potential issues (none of those companies I am thinking of, by the way, is Purina or any of the other big name companies. They were boutique ‘premium’ brands.) Yes, it happens, but the answers come with careful analysis by trained scientists, not lawyers.

4. If I feed Beneful, should I change my food?

Purina-Beneful

Food is kind of like religion: people get really worked up about it. Each food has its place in the market, and if you’re the type to obsess over food labels and ingredients (nothing wrong with that! I do!) you’re probably purchasing a different category of dog food anyway, right? But this food has its place too, even if it’s not in your house. For plenty of people it’s been working fine.

I say the same thing about this that I do any food: if your personal individual pet is doing fine on their food, I wouldn’t change a thing. If he isn’t? Well, let’s talk. So yes, you should always report weird symptoms to your vet and tell them what the dog is eating (it is one of many, many data points.) Most of the time it is not the food. On occasion, it is.

Any questions? Then carry on. I have to catch up on Walking Dead.

Disclaimer: This post was NOT sponsored by Purina, Nestle, Big Pharma, or Corporate Shills. In fact I’m losing money writing this because I could be working on another project I actually get paid for. Information in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not substitute for mass hysteria generated by your regular inflammatory website.

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Looking for Featured Pet Sitters

It’s been a while since there has been a featured pet sitter or business on PetsitUSA.  We would like to post an interview from pet sitters that has been in the business for years and thinks they could provide helpful information to other pet sitters, especially ones who are just getting started.  If you are interested, send an email to PetsitUSA!  The interview will be posted on this blog and a link to it will be posted on PetsitUSA’a social media outlets.


PetsitUSA Blog

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Dec 18, IgG and IgE tests

I cannot find a laboratory that will do both IgG and IgE tests for dogs (pets in general). Do you know of a lab that will do both
Dog Food Blog | Best Dog Food Guide

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When Dog Meets Cat For The First Time Compilation 2014 [NEW HD] ✔

When Dog Meets Cat For The First Time Compilation 2014 Extra Tags : “dogs, babies, dogs and babies, compilation 2014, dogs meeting babies for first time, bab…
Video Rating: 4 / 5

To promote their new sitcom Jack and Triumph, Jack McBrayer and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog appeared on The Today Show to poop all over the anchors. Poor Al…

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Two things people always say when a pet dies at home and other DeathLord lessons

Life is weird in lots of way. Things happen for a reason, and you have to kind of be open to what life’s going to throw at you because you certainly aren’t going to expect most of it. Even the good stuff. Especially the good stuff, which is often hidden in bad stuff.

When I go to a house for a euthanasia, people invariably say one of two things:

1. This must be so hard.

2. I wish we had this for people.

The answer to both is “I agree.” The interesting part is that they co-exist.

Lots of things we deal with in life are rotten: losing an eyeball, I imagine, would be hard. Crawling through the Amazonian rainforest naked and afraid with no water. Chaperoning a group of fifth graders on an overnight field trip on a boat you can’t escape from. All of them hard, and none of them leading me to say, “gee, I wish I could replicate this experience for my family and loved ones.”

Death is hard. It can also, in certain circumstances, be good. Not always. Sometimes deaths are horrible and tragic and cruel, and when we see that we fear it, and forget that many times it can also be meaningful and loving and bittersweet. We need to cherish those experiences to give us the strength for the times it is not. We need to learn that we can talk about it and lean on each other and be there, really be there, in every way we can.

This is what I do as a hospice vet, and while it is very true that this is in my opinion the best way for a pet to experience death, I have found the ones who benefit the most from the experience are the people, not only for their pet but for their whole idea of what death is about.

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Pets don’t know what death is or that it is coming. The fear they exhibit in the clinic euthanasia appointment is fear of the clinic thermometer, because when I go into a home to euthanize a pet I cannot tell you how many very ill pets look up, give me a wag and a lick, and in essence signal to their families that they are ready. It’s quite stunning to see.

When I submitted a talk for Ignite San Diego titled “I’m the Angel of Death, Now Gimme Your Kids” I think I freaked out a good 95% of the attending audience who had no idea who I was or why I wanted to steal their dumplings. By the end, though, I think they all realized that no, really- it’s a good thing to learn to move forward without fear. Pets teach us so much, from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave us. Yes, even then, if we are open to seeing it.

If you want to hear me sum it up in 5 minutes on the nose, here’s the link:

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Iditarod 2015 starts this weekend!

To me, it’s a chance to see beautiful dogs compete at the uppermost level under extreme circumstances. Oh, yeah, and the scenery’s pretty terrific, too! Here’s how the official Iditarod website describes this epic event: “The Last Great Race on Earth®” You can’t compare it to any other competitive event in the world! A race […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Tanja Savić i Bane Mojićević – Zona Zamfirova – Tvoje lice zvuči poznato

Video Rating: 4 / 5

Lice nacije, 04. 12. gost – Miroslav Lazanski- tvosm.

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Little Puppy Tuckered Out

Little puppy all tuckered out after a big day

The post Little Puppy Tuckered Out appeared first on A Place to Love Dogs.

A Place to Love Dogs

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What makes AB tick

What makes AB tick
AB de Villiers jumped across, and Andre Russell followed him with an intended yorker that ended up as a low full toss. De Villiers went down on one knee and played a scoop-sweep over the head of the fielder at short fine-leg for a six. In another over
Read more on ESPNcricinfo.com

Paintball guns could help tick-infested moose
A Smithers wildlife shelter is investigating whether paintball guns could be used to shoot treatment powder at moose with tick infestations. Winter ticks are a common problem for B.C. moose populations, which are believed to be declining in some parts
Read more on Smithers Interior News

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Has PETA finally gone too far in killing pets?

This is the time of year when PETA is busy firing off letters to every news source in their database about how cruel dog sledding is. They use half truths and complete fiction to support their narrative. Unfortunately many news sources run PETA press releases without any fact checking. We always wonder how an organization that has killed thousands of pets, over 90% of the pets in their care every year, can object to an…
The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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