Watch out, Nestle Purina! A very angry mob of pet owners is headed to your door — and don’t be surprised if they come with torches and pitchforks. The word on the street is that you are selling tainted dog treats that nearly a thousand pet owners claim have either made their dog seriously ill or killed them outright. I am one of those pet owners.
Just before I went to Europe on a business trip, I bought a bag of Waggin’ Train doggie treats for my family to give to our dog while I was away. Little did I suspect that this thoughtful gesture would nearly kill my sweet dog.
A week into my trip, I get a text from my husband: “Kona is very sick. She has copious amounts of blood coming out both ends! Do you have the number for our vet?” My first thought was that she ate something sharp that punctured her intestines or stomach. Otherwise, why would there be so much blood? The vet, however, said no, this looks more likely to be a parasite or an intestinal infection, maybe acquired from her not-so-charming habit of eating cat poop. She spent two sad days at the vet with an IV drip being rehydrated and given a wallop of antibiotics. When she finally came home, she was better, but not herself for nearly another week. Furthermore, I have been noticing that a month later, she is often panting moderately when she is just inside the house lounging.
As it turns out, Kona was going into kidney failure. This kidney failure, I am now sure, was due to her consumption of the Waggin’ Train chicken jerky. If it hadn’t been for internet news coverage I stumbled upon last night, I would have entirely missed the connection, and the cause of her illness would have remained a mystery. But owner after owner described their dogs’ illness just as my husband did: copious amounts of blood coming out both ends after eating Waggin’ Train chicken jerky.
A Facebook page has even popped up called Animal Parents Against Pet Treats and Food Made in China where hundreds of pet owners are sharing their stories and calling for a recall of Waggin’ Train. Other brands that have received similar complaints are Canyon Creek Ranch (also produced by Nestle Purina) and Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, made by Del Monte Corp.
With all of this evidence, you would think Nestle Purina would bend over backwards to protect their reputation, but oddly this has not been the case. Instead, they are denying the connection and sending out letters such as this to inquiries from vets and pet owners:
Dear Dr. Haynes,
Thank you for contacting us regarding Waggin’ Train treats. We apologize for the delay in responding.
You are correct – there is not now, and never has been, a recall of Waggin’ Train products. In 2007, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice regarding dog illnesses, but was unable to determine a definitive cause of the illnesses or a direct link to chicken jerky products. To date, extensive testing performed by the FDA has not uncovered a contaminant or specific ingredient as the cause of any illness, including in Waggin’ Train treats.
It is widely accepted that any association between dog illnesses and chicken jerky is likely the result of dogs (primarily small dogs) consuming treats in excess of normal or recommended levels. Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be used occasionally, in small quantities. Consumers should read and follow the feeding guidelines found on Waggin’ Train packages.
We have a comprehensive food safety program in place to ensure the safety of our products. We only use high-quality ingredients in our products, and the production facilities are designed and operated to meet U.S. Department of Agriculture standards. We have a dedicated team of quality control experts on the ground in China – in the plants when Waggin’ Train products are being produced. They monitor various steps of the manufacturing process for safety and quality of the product.
The safety and efficacy of our products is our top priority, and consumers can and should continue to feed Waggin’ Train treats with total confidence.
Seriously, this is Nestle Purina’s response? Rather than initiate a recall just to be on the safe side, they are blaming “irresponsible pet owners” and “over consumption” by small dogs as the problem. First, my dog is not small (she is 60 pounds) and secondly, we feed her two square meals a day. She is otherwise young and healthy with no known pre-existing conditions.
We pet owners are fire and brimstone mad not just because you, Nestle Purina, a trusted American brand, are reportedly producing doggie treats in China that are tainted, but that you actually KNOW about the potential harm being done and you are doing nothing to address the problem! So, Nestle Purina, do not be surprised if the next time you open your door, you are greeted by torches and pitchforks — and one very big class action lawsuit.