Hill’s Expands Dog Food Recall in the Face of Multiple Lawsuits

Back in early December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a widespread voluntary recall of canned dog food products from several companies because the food could contain toxic amounts of vitamin D.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition wasn’t one of those companies included in the FDA’s list, but on Jan. 31, nearly two months later, the company issued a voluntary recall for 25 of its Prescription Diet and Science Diet canned dog food products—13.5 million cans—because they, too, could contain excessive amounts of vitamin D. On March 20, Hill’s expanded the recall to eight more products, after the company received some complaints about pet illnesses connected to products that weren’t included in the January recall. (Here’s the complete current list of recalled Hill’s canned dog food products.)

Many dogs have gotten sick or died after eating Hill’s canned pet food, according to several lawsuits filed by pet owners who say the company waited too long to recall these products. What’s especially troubling is that many veterinarians recommend and sell Hill’s dog food to help improve their patients’ health. Tragically, the recalled products did just the opposite.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition, which is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, “dragged its feet in issuing a recall” while continuing to sell its products to tens of thousands of consumers, alleges a class action lawsuit filed in February by a Chicago law firm, CBS News reported. An attorney with a San Francisco law firm that’s also filing two class action lawsuits against Hill’s told CBS News the firm received “an outpouring of distressing calls and emails” from people whose dogs had died after eating the products.

“We understand that this recall has caused pet parents considerable anxiety and that the well-being of their pets may have been affected,” wrote Jesper Nordengaard, vice president and general manager of Hills’ Pet Nutrition, in a March 20 letter the company sent to veterinarians prior to announcing that it had expanded the voluntary recall.

The cause for so much vitamin D in some of Hill’s canned dog food was a vitamin premix used in some production lots of its canned dog food products, Nordengaard wrote. The FDA said in a statement that its scientists are analyzing reports submitted by Hill’s along with other information to determine whether the dogs’ illnesses are connected to the recalled products. The agency told CBS News last month there appeared to be no connection between the source of vitamin D used by Hill’s and the sources for the other companies whose products were recalled in December.

Vitamin D in much smaller doses is an essential nutrient for dogs as well as humans. It regulates the body’s balance and retention of calcium and phosphorus. But the toxic levels in Hill’s and the other companies’ recalled products can lead to symptoms like vomiting, increased thirst, loss of appetite and, in the worst cases, kidney failure and death. If you’ve been feeding your dog any of the recalled products and see these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition will pay for the diagnostic screening for vitamin D toxicity in dogs that have consumed its recalled products, Nordengaard wrote, and for continued diagnostic testing until the dogs are back to normal. It will reimburse pet owners for any medical expenses for treating dogs that became ill after eating the food.

If this recall has you thinking about feeding your dog a homemade diet, here are some tips. Should your pet get sick after eating commercial pet food, contact your veterinarian and submit a report to the FDA through its online Safety Reporting Portal or by calling your state’s FDA consumer complaint coordinator.

Photo credit: Getty Images

69 comments

Patricia A
Past Member 14 days ago

Thank you for posting

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Nicky Heindryckx

I have never been in favour of prepared food for my dogs. I cooked each week for them, and it was a big soup kettle of about 10 litres. I just minced fresh meat from the butcher (amongst which liver, heart, chicken, etc..) and I added lots of vegetables which I had at home, or bought some additionally and cooked that together with full grain pasta. Sometimes I also added canned white beans or chickpeas. We had 6 adopted dogs, and they all loved it, and had a long and healthy life. When I read the labels on the cans, with all the E-additions, etc.. my stomach turned. How can that be okay for our best friends. And when their laboratories do such good job in adding a 10-fold or 100-fold certain vitamines, or other stuff, it's no wonder our animals get sick and die. It's not easy to cook their meal each week, specially when you have 3 or 4 big dogs at the same time. And I must admit I also gave them from time to time some dry food, which, according to my vet was of a better quality than the canned food. None of our dogs got cancer or other severe diseases and all died from old age. As it is the case for everything all that matters to these Multinationals is the profit they make by the end of the year to keep their shareholders happy. And latter do not bother whether your dog has healthy food or not.

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Caitlin L
Past Member 26 days ago

TYFS

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Janis K
Janis K26 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson27 days ago

Shared. ty

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Leo C
Leo Custer27 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Melanie St. Germaine

Thank you for sharing

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Chris C
Chris C27 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Hannah A
Hannah A27 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Jennifer H
Jennifer H27 days ago

But the vets swear by Hill's. Disappointing. It used to be a good food but looking at the ingredients on a bag isn't impressive. Being owned by Colgate-Palmolive means animal health isn't a priority.

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