A Very Sad Story; an Important Lesson to Learn
This past week has been a heartbreaking week; sad stories shared of two dog deaths and one dog fighting for his life. All very recent and seemingly related to pet food. Maybe, just maybe there is a valuable lesson every pet owner can learn from these heartaches.
Charlotte M. from North Carolina sent me the following message:
“I have been feeding my dogs Nutro lamb and rice dog food for several years. On 1-22-09 my 11 year old lab died suddenly. We found him laying in vomit and light brown liquid diarrhea (the vomit and diarrhea was like dissolved dog food and had the same consistency) the whites of his eyes were bloody and he had white foam around his mouth. Previously, on 12-15-08 I lost my 12 year old lab with the same symptoms, but he also had abdominal distension and pain. The dogs had been eating from a bag of food purchased in November 2008. They both had always been good eaters but, they did not want the food when placed before them, they ate it because it was their only choice. In an attempt to find answers for their deaths, the evening of Max’s death I sat down at the computer and typed in ‘sudden death in dogs from vomiting and diarrhea’ and when I saw the website that stated that their have been a lot of complaints about Nutro dog foods I felt so sick. I sent my story to consumer complaints.com after reading the Nutro Company’s response to complaints. To me they not only need to test food samples but, need to inspect their processing plants. A prime example was the Peter Pan peanut butter Salmonella outbreak, that turned out to be caused by storage issues at the processing plant. It seems from the company’s posted response they have dismissed concerns. How many animals have to become sick or die before they will acknowledge there may be a problem. I have lost two dogs who obviously suffered before their deaths. The awful feelings of guilt and pain in realizing that the very dog food I thought was a safe product and recommended to others is probably the cause of their death is almost unbearable. Please help stop any more unnecessary deaths. Nothing will bring my dogs back, I just don’t want other animals to become sick or die. I am not accusing Nutro of any intentional wrong doing. I just think they should do more to investigate complaints. Please re-print my e-mail if it might help any owner out there avoid the painful experience my family has went through. I am not implying that people should stop using Nutro products if they are not having problems, but that they should be aware and watch for symptoms and respond immediately, as their pet’s life may depend on it.”
I’m sure I am joined by countless pet owners that support TruthaboutPetFood.com; Charlotte, we are so very sorry you have lost two babies in such a short time. I understand the pain your heart is feeling right now, countless other pet owners do too. You are in our thoughts.
Nutro Pet Foods, made by Mars Petcare, have been reported to have numerous problems over the past year or so. The ConsumerAffairs.com website reports many similar stories to the above; http://www.consumeraffairs.com/search.html?cx=004616541639631650405%3Auoeingz5lo8&cof=FORID%3A11&q=Nutro+Pet+Food#931. Mars Petcare in general has had more than their share of pet food problems in the past year as well; http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/26/1/Mars-Pet-Care-Recall-82007/Page1.html, http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/116/1/Mars-Pet-Food-Recall-Announced-91208/Page1.html, http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/138/1/October-27-Mars-Petcare-Recall-Announcement/Page1.html.
Many of the heartbreaking stories shared with me over the years share a similarity; a possible lesson for us all to learn from. Some dogs and cats ‘tell’ their pet parents there is something wrong with the food; we all need to learn to be very aware of what our pets are telling us.
My father used to refer to it as 20/20 hindsight. Looking back on something, you see it more clearly; after the fact you ‘see’ things that you didn’t initially recognize as a warning. Many heartbroken pet owners have shared that prior to their pets becoming sick or dying, the dog or cat seemed to turn their nose up at the pet food. Looking back, many pet owners are devastated that just perhaps they might have missed something their pet was trying to tell them. This is the lesson that Charlotte hopes every pet owner will listen to; they are wise words coming from a very broken heart.
Know your dog or cat’s eating habits; if you notice any variation from the norm, stop feeding that food immediately and contact your veterinarian. Begin today to carefully observe what is normal eating behavior for your dog or cat; know if normal is never missing a meal or if normal is missing a meal once a week, twice a week, or once a month. With a good understanding of what normal is, carefully watch your pet at every meal; if anything is not normal, stop feeding your current dog food or cat food and call your veterinarian. ‘Not normal’ eating behavior might be an early warning sign that can save your pet’s life. Also, be aware of normal elimination habits; again, any shift to non-normal elimination might be an early warning sign.
No pet food guarantees their foods will never be recalled; no pet food guarantees they test each and every ingredient in each and every batch (although they should). No pet food retailer guarantees the food was stored in safe conditions and not contaminated in warehousing (again, although they should). The only thing pet owners can do is avoid known risk ingredients, avoid ingredients from known risk countries, and learn to closely listen to our pets.
Not every dog or cat will alert you to a potential problem in a pet food. Sadly there are times when there is no warning; no 20/20 hindsight. However maybe, just maybe, your pet might tell you there is something wrong with a pet food in time for you to prevent serious illness or even death. We all need to be very alert and aware of what our pets are telling us. Life comes at us very fast sometimes, however this is one area we need to slow down and pay close attention.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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