Lawsuit Claims Thousands Of Dogs Became Ill Or Died After Eating Purina’s Beneful Kibble

A California lawsuit alleges that Beneful-brand dog food has led to illness and death in thousands of dogs.

A California lawsuit alleges that Beneful-brand dog food has led to illness and death in thousands of dogs.

A recently filed lawsuit claims that instead of containing nutrient-rich, high-quality ingredients, Nestle Purina PetCare Company’s most popular brand of dog food includes toxins that have led to serious illness or death for thousands of dogs.

The potential class action [PDF], filed in a federal court in California earlier this month, claims that Purina’s Beneful brand of dry dog food contains substances that are known to be toxic to animals and can lead to internal bleeding and other serious health issues for pets.

The California man who filed the lawsuit against Purina alleges that less than a month after beginning to exclusively feed his dogs Beneful dry kibble, all three became ill and his 8-year-old English Bulldog eventually died.

“Post-mortem veterinary examination revealed signs of internal bleeding in the dog’s stomach and lesions on his liver,” the lawsuit states. “[The man] is currently awaiting the results of post-mortem toxicology testing on Dozer.”

The man’s two remaining dogs are still ill and undergoing medical testing.

A lawyer for the plaintiff tells NBC News that because of home renovations the dogs were kept in separate areas, meaning the only constant condition was the Beneful food they consumed.

The lawsuit alleges that the illnesses experienced by thousands of dogs across the country were a result of toxins in Beneful such as, but not limited to Propylene glycol and Mycotoxins.

Propylene glycol, the lawsuit states, is an automotive antifreeze component that is a known animal toxin. However, the substance is also an FDA-approved food additive for humans.

As for Mycotoxins, the lawsuit states they are a group of toxins produced by fungus that occurs in grains.

Purina-produced dog food named in the lawsuit includes Purina Beneful Healthy Weight, Purina Beneful Original, Purina Beneful Incredibites, Purina Beneful Healthy Growth For Puppies, Purina Beneful Healthy Smile, Purina Beneful Healthy Fiesta, Purina Beneful Healthy Radiance, and Purina Beneful Playful Life.

Keith Schoop, an executive with Purina PetCare, tells the St. Louis Business Journal that the lawsuit is “without merit” and that the company plans to vigorously defend itself.

“Like other pet foods, Beneful is occasionally the subject of social media-driven misinformation,” Purina’s rep says. “The incredible power of the Internet is sometimes used to spread false information. On-line postings often contain false, unsupported and misleading allegations that cause undue concern and confusion for Beneful consumers.”

Still, the California man claims that his story is similar to more than 3,000 complaints filed by consumers over the past four years.

According to the lawsuit, consumers reported their pets displayed symptoms such as stomach and related internal bleeding, liver malfunction or failure, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, seizures, bloating and kidney failure shortly after eating Beneful.

“After opening a new bag of Playful Life by Beneful my dog was horribly sick,” a complaint cited in the California lawsuit states. “He was vomiting, diarrhea, lethargic, wheezing and couldn’t walk or eat. We rushed him to the vet where he was put on steroids, IV to re-hydrate and antibiotics. He almost died. He was there for four days…This past Monday we started him back on Beneful (the same bag). He was worse than before in just hours. We got him to the hospital and the vet got him on an IV and flushed his system. He was sure it was this Lot of food.”

Other consumer complaints cited in the lawsuit detail the thousands of dollars pet owners have spent to determine what made their dogs sick.

“My 1 1/2 year old dog has been suffering with vomiting, diarrhea, lethargic and no desire to eat for the last three weeks,” a complaint states. “We’ve been back and forth to the vet and vet hospital many times. I’ve spent over $6,000 on overnight stays and exploratory surgery…My dog had been home for four days and all he was eating was chicken cheerios, yogurt and pumpkin. Last night he ate Beneful and today we are back to square one…This food should not be on the market!!”

The class action suit seeks unspecified damages and restitution for dog owners who bought the dog food and “incurred any out-of-pocket costs due to illness, injury or death of their dog resulting from the ingestion of Beneful.”

Lawsuit Claims Purina’s Beneful Is Poisoning, Killing Dogs [NBC News]
Lawsuit alleges Purina’s Beneful can harm, kill dogs [St. Louis Business Journal]