Lawsuit Against Beneful and Purina on Dog Deaths Is Why I Don’t Trust Purina and Nestle Products

Anyone who follows this blog read about my trials with Lettie, my departed dog.  She contracted Chronic Renal Failure and died about two years back.  All that we went through is documented with that tag if you care to search for it from .

She always, and I do mean always, ate Purina products until she got sick.  Then it was too late.  I went through about two years of syringe feeding her until it got to be too much for her and we had to put her to sleep.

After she was gone, we started hearing about Purina and their practice of sourcing ingredients from China in order to prepare their so-called foods.  An overview of the 2007 recalls of petfoods is on Wikipedia, but frankly, a recall of petfoods like the Beneful that I fed Lettie won’t bring the pet back.  Once the kidneys are damaged beyond a certain point, function will not be restored.

About the same time, the story leaked out about how the parent company, Nestle believes that all water should be corporately owned.  They’re also the same company that aggressively targets women in Africa to get them to buy their own baby formulas.

Kind of sleazy in my opinion.  You judge for yourselves.

After going through all of that, I simply decided for myself.  No Purina for my dog, No Nestle for me.

Simply put it’s safer.   A company that is producing something that is fed to a dog is making a decision for a creature who can not decide for themselves.  You can and should decide for them.

When we got Rack, my McNab dog two years back, we vowed never to feed him anything that we could not trust.  That evolved into no US Made dog foods at this point because of the stories of tainted treats and foods that we kept hearing. 

The Federal and State food inspection regimens have been diluted by defunding of the protective agencies.  All inspection that is done by a percentage sampling basis.  That percentage as a result gets lower because of fewer inspectors.  Logically, it would mean that there is a greater chance that tainted food gets through the sampling procedure as a result.

The brand we were recommended to try, Orijen, is made in Canada.  Apparently the laws there are much more strict than the laws we have here.  It’s produced with “Human Grade” food, I once read.

Unfortunately, they’re so well liked, that Orijen is going to open a plant here in the US, in Kentucky, to meet demand.

So lets see, I’ve been paying a premium for dog food produced in Canada that will now be made in one of the most poorly enforced states for food production, In My Opinion, in the United States.

When Orijen begins producing the food in the US I will cease purchasing their products.   I don’t know where I will go, but I have absolutely no confidence in the ability of inspectors in Kentucky at this time.

Again, My Opinion.  Yours may vary.  I may be overly critical, but I also was the person who had to prepare a slurry of food to syringe down my dog’s throat twice a day to keep her alive.

The difference is that the US allows a markedly lower quality of component foods to go into dog foods.  Markedly lower quality meaning sourced from overseas at times.  Yes, you guessed it, China.   China doesn’t effectively police their own foods.  Things get sold simply because you are willing to buy them, and there is no active warranty for anyone to pursue.  Just look at the mess that the online electronics markets have become and how easy it is to find on the larger international websites items that have been shipped here directly from China or shipped through other countries to mask their origin.

While a trinket will most likely break and be discarded like so many glow sticks on the street after the latest holidays, a dog, or other pet, is something that a person builds a relationship with like a family member.

Would you feed a child food that may or may not kill them?  I certainly wouldn’t with my dog and I won’t take a chance with a tainted supply.

So Nestle is off my menu, as is Purina for my dog.  I only wish I knew beforehand since my own Lettie could still be alive today.

Now there is a class-action lawsuit against Purina for these tainted foods.  That won’t bring Lettie back.  It won’t make the Chairman of the Board lose any sleep.  It will be a slap on the wrist, and they’ll just go on draining the water tables since they don’t believe that access to water is a fundamental human right, and continue importing Chinese components that may or may not be tainted with Melamine to go into their pet foods.

No matter what, I won’t be back.

Again, it’s only my opinion.  You decide for yourself.  But I won’t buy Nestle or Purina products.

Problems Feeding Your Dog? Check Their Teeth

I always feed Rack, my McNab SuperDog, dry food.

The wet food is too much of a hassle.  Cans, smell, storage, expense.  We just never considered it for Rack or Lettie before him.

At this point we are feeding him Orijen or Acana.  Once they open their plant in Kentucky later on this year we will reconsider and look for another food that is not made in a place that has such lax laws.

These foods currently are made in Canada and the laws up there are much more strict than they are here.  In fact, they’re using almost human grade ingredients.  I can’t recommend eating it but you could in an emergency.

I simply don’t trust the lack of oversight in a Republican Tea-party infested place like Kentucky to produce a dog food that hasn’t had food ingredients slip in that were of Chinese origin.  Too many dog food recalls lately, and too many stories of dogs dying of chronic renal failure like Lettie did.  It was why we stopped feeding our pets anything from Purina in the first place. 

If you want to find out what it is like trying to keep your dog alive when her kidneys slowly fail, I invite you to look at this blog for the tag “chronic renal failure”.  That would give you some insight why I am so particular as to what my Rack eats.

But there is a drawback with feeding dry dog food.  Some of those pieces of Kibble are extremely hard.  Rack being a very fearful “Beta” dog, he would soldier on but hate eating the stuff.   We didn’t understand why until I started putting things together.

Feedings got slower.  He would ignore his food.  He’d eat other foods but ignore what was one of the better foods on the market. He got hungry and began to beg for food whenever I would eat.

Eventually I started to wonder what was going on.  One of the feedings took a solid half hour and I had had enough of sitting on the floor and putting one piece of Kibble of food inside his jowls and cajoling him to eat it.

Sometimes I would pour some yogurt over top of the food and that helped somewhat.

We took Rack to the vet.  The vet first started suggesting different medications and food additives.  I was dubious but listened.  Then the vet suggested homemade foods either in addition to or instead of what the commercially prepared foods that he had been getting.

I finally spoke up that they hadn’t looked at his teeth.  They were getting full of tartar, more than I would think is normal in a 2 year old dog.

More medications, preparations, and feeds were suggested.  The whole while he was getting tossed treats.  He would never eat treats without some hesitation.

The treats they always gave before were hard.  This time the treats were soft.  He tore through them like they were long lost friends.

I again insisted that the vet look at his teeth.  The verdict was that I was right, there was a lot of tartar.

A different vet came in, more suggestions, and finally she looked at the teeth too.

He was missing a “Pre-molar” tooth.  No idea how, perhaps it just wasn’t there, maybe it fell out, you tell me.

I took control of the discussion at this point.  Because there was no tooth where one should be, he was trying to chew a hard piece of food against a gum.  Might there be pain that was slowing him down?

The suggestion from the vet was softer food.

My solution was simple.  Boiling water.   I now have a hard and fast recipe for soft dog food.  I also still feed the dry food.

One Cup Dry Dog Food poured into his bowl.  Add to it Ounce of Boiling Water.  Stir the food and water together.  The food would eventually absorb the water over the next five minutes.  Allow it to sit until it soaks up most of the water.

The next feeding when I tried this recipe, it was instant success.   Rack immediately ate the food.

No pushing food into his mouth.
No pleading.
No priming the pump at all.

He began eating the food with a relish I haven’t seen in a long time.  In fact to say he tore through it would be a fair description.

He has slowed down, after all it is the same food he normally gets.  Dogs do get bored of the same old thing every day.

But the bottom line is that since they can’t easily tell you what is wrong you have to watch closely when something is off.   The special diet that people suggest may just be as simple as pouring two tablespoons of water over top of the food and letting it make a gravy to soak in.

The proof is in the gravy, after all.  He will lick the shine off the bowl now to get at the last drop of the gravy.

We’re getting better at it.  He is now getting more confident with his feedings.  After all, how would you like it if you had a big 6′ 4″ guy looming over you begging you to eat your food!

I’m A Box

Well Played, Box, Well Played.

I found myself staring at the bottom side of a box.

Having knife in hand, it was time to slit the strapping tape holding it together.  It was going to be a box no longer.

We do recycle here.  We actually throw out less trash than we recycle, so Box, you will go out to the big green bin to the big green truck for it’s trip to the recycling plant here.   Box will join your friends, then roll down the block scaring my dog on its way.

It’s ok, you couldn’t have know that the very food you contained would sustain the same dog you would eventually scare on your last trip off the island.  He eats better than we do.

You visited me only for a short time.  Arriving crisp and clean, you sat in my dining room awaiting that Friday trip or a respite in a reuse.  We do reuse before we recycle, but that wouldn’t be your fate.  Holding a bag of dog food was one thing that meant you would be too large, Box, for that sort of treatment. 

For a while you sat on my dining room chairs, the solid maple chairs that I brought from my old home in Philadelphia.  You sat there empty looking over my dining room as if to ask what is my next step in life?  You were in effect asking me, “when do I move on?”.

My dog Rack did sniff you over from tape to tip.  After all, you smelled richly of Regional Red.  We got him the best food we could simply because he wouldn’t digest anything else.   Dogs who don’t digest don’t get strong, they don’t thrive.

But for about two months, the bag of Orijen dog food that came from the plant in Canada, then to in New York will bring life to our beloved faithful sidekick.  

Box, if that is what you wish to be called, you will have another life.  Perhaps as paper towels, perhaps as another box, perhaps as electricity.  Tomorrow the food you brought us a month ago will be opened so my dog can sniff it over, and eat slowly all day.  In another two months, Box, your great grandchild will visit us with another bag of imported dog food from the Great White North of Canada.

I am advertising averse.  I watch TV programs only with a remote and a DVR handy.  When a commercial comes on, I either skip past it, or let the delay build up so I can skip later.  But I caught myself looking at you.  Those commercials were not entertaining, but I have to admit I found myself pondering this message.

Once in a very rare while, even I pay attention.

Rack, It Has Been One Year Since We Got You

I have come to expect that when I go into a room, you will be there sitting just outside, in the hallway, waiting for my return.

Walking out of the room, I had to apologize.  You saw that I was looking at you and you just rolled over onto your back.  Stepping closer, I rocked back onto my heel for balance.  You wagged your tail as you always have and managed to put it right under my foot.

Just a slight bit of pressure, you were too absorbed in the act of getting attention, having your belly rubbed, in the hallway and under the air conditioning intake.

Another normal day here.

I’ve had dogs with me since 2001.  You are a very different soul.  A bright and cheery puppy.  A truly gentle and sweet personality.  You came into my life a year ago.  I had just lost my Lettie.  You helped to fill that void.  She and I battled for control all her life and eventually established a balance until she was too old to hold her end up in that bargain.  Then she rolled onto her back once and only once and told me in that one time, that one time only, that her days were growing short.

You were shuttled from an uncaring owner in Rome, GA to a veterinarian’s office where you were surrendered.  From there, you made the trip to Ocala where you sat for 36 days being more confused.  A McNab Dog is way too intelligent for that sort of abuse – sitting in a concrete bunker of a room, your personality spiraled away in fear.  Then the Dog Liberator found you on the same day Lettie left me.   I didn’t know you yet, but within a week I would find you.

You see, I was told to find another dog.  It was a very rough time for us, and you helped us as much as we helped you.

You are no longer shut down.  In fact you have the reputation of being that puppy that jumps six feet in the air.

I’m sure we’re getting talked about.  There’s one cranky woman with a Jack Russell here in town who crosses the street.   You know that dog, the one who starts growling three houses away?  I’m also thinking she needs to work with her dog a bit more.

In that year you shook off the depression you had from being abandoned.  I’m sorry, “Owner Surrendered” is what they called it.  Some people shouldn’t own a picture of a stuffed animal, let alone a dog as intelligent as you are.

The Pit Bull attack two weeks ago is healing.  You have on a T Shirt of mine since the scar is healing and itchy.   That will fade, and we’ve allowed you use of the house again.  I’m no longer on duty watching you every second.

We constantly are told how beautiful you are.   That’s the breed, but it is also you.  Pure black and pure white, glistening in the sun.  We are always told that you look healthy and well.  That came with some effort.   The Orijen food you turn your nose up at helped you heal and get rid of the mange around your eye.  We purged your system of the worms, got your shots, changed to another kind of food that you could actually digest.

You thank Kirby for that every time you see him.  He’s one of your favorite people, a true Friendbeast for giving us the suggestion that brought you to robust health.  When you see Kirby across the street you charge over to say hello as he pets you and you whine in happiness.  When you hear him and his dog walk past the house, you sit up and wag your tail even if you can’t see him through the window.  Every motorcycle that goes by is Kirby.  That little white lie helped you not be afraid of the roar of the motors that are everywhere.

His dog, D.O.G. accepts this and lets you get a little attention.  Remember, D.O.G. is a 165 pound Rottweiler and not a sheep to be herded.  He is getting tired of being climbed over and clambered on.

It has been one first year of many.  There have been a lot of changes in your short life.  The bad memories are fading, and replaced by many more good ones. 

Keep watching over us.  Grumble at the mailman. When the neighbor Bill comes over and I announce “Incoming”, go to the front door to say hello.

Oh by the way, “Incoming” isn’t his name any more than “Murph” is yours.

It’s a busy, noisy, and complex neighborhood with a lot for a smart dog to wrap his head around.  As you adjust we’ll go further.   For now, we’ll stick close to the house.  There is a lot to see within the mile that we wander three times a day.  Sit by the door, wait for us to go out, then you can go.  It’s not just A Rule, it can save your life. 

We’re going into the hot season now.  I’ll let you in on a secret.  Your black fur?  That gets hot.  We won’t mind if you jump in the pool while we’re out there.   Really we won’t.

So enjoy the world.  It’s a big one.  There are a lot more things that we can do, when you’re ready.  You learned that Car can be fun.  Walks can be fun.  Other dogs aren’t always fun but you are figuring out how to read that. 

But.. we’re fun, together.