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One Food, Seven Dead Dogs, Five Dead Pigs, No Investigation

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  1. Amy

    My heart goes out to Melissa.

  2. Casey

    Ugh. Disgusting. He “did all he could”. Which was exactly NOTHING.

  3. Peg

    Just the fact that a certain percentage of RANCID fat makes a food palatable for dogs makes me want to vomit.
    The last time I looked up the word rancid it meant rotten, spoiled, fetid.

    Good Lord …….there is nothing anymore that is real food??? not even for humans because of all the GMO crap.

    My condolences to this family.
    I was sobbing my eyes out while reading their story.
    Pigs and pups two of God’s very sweet creations.

  4. Marj R.C.

    What a sad situation. I am sorry for the loss of all these animals and see that Melissa, the owner, did all she could after the fact, to get some answers and acknowledgement. I want to thank you, Susan, for the great lengths you go to to get answers, that you share your great knowledge with the rest of us, and to alert us to what is going on in the pet food industry. Kudos to you!

  5. karen

    How can I have food tested? My dog has a severe GI infection with blood in his stool. He is on antibiotics and I made him home cooked meals. I bought a new bag of food just in case the old bag has something wrong with it and when I added it back in after five days his stools got loose and blood in it again. Same company (diamond) so now I’m worried. How do I have my dogs food tested?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Karen – send me an email (Susan at and I’ll try to help direct you.

  6. Judy

    Susan, I thank God for people like you. You give me hope and some comfort that we have people out there that take this matter seriously and value the lives of our pets. Our government agencies evidently don’t. I thank God for your persistence and tenacity. I stopped feeding my dog dried kibble back in 2010. I started feeding homemade and a very well known dehydrated brand.
    If you need ever need volunteers to support the work you do, please contact me.

  7. Kate

    Is the expiration date on the bags of food known?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      The ‘Best By’ date is listed above – Best By: 12/26/2014

  8. Mary Lynn

    What a horrible story. I feel so bad for this family to have lost all these animals because of food. As a consumer you trust that if it is out on a shelf it is safe. Wow are we learning that this is not the case anymore and that we need to educate ourselves about the products we use for ourselves and our beloved pets.
    Thanks to Susan and others like her we can learn to make better choices to protect ourselves but what about the people who unknowingly buy bad stuff, there needs to be accountability and standards in place to protect them.Unfortunately that is not the case at present time and I really hope something meraculous happens to change this.

    Mary Lynn

  9. Sandy

    Very sad story indeed, with further evidence of the lack of concern from the pet food industry, as they know how to “work the system”.
    I will share this with friends and family. One important takeaway for me was the statement from FDA newsletter about cleaning out pet food containers used for bulk storage ( because of potential for rancid fats to build up in residues). I’m sure many of us who use these containers don’t take this extra step when refilling.

  10. Susan Carlson

    My thanks to YOU for all that you do to help keep our beloved animals safe.

  11. Diane Richardson

    THANK YOU SUSAN! I have tried to help this family from all the way across the Country as best I could and I sent them to you because YOU are the expert. THANK YOU for trying when no one else would

  12. Wolf

    If only pet food consumers ALL knew this one paragraph:

    “There is no requirement that pet foods have pre-market approval by FDA. The Act does require that pet foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled.”

    How many consumers do you think believe that pet food is, in fact, regulated, inspected, and monitored to SOME level? How many consumers do you think would believe that rancid fat is a flavor enhancer, and that this is a perfectly ok practice?

    And why does this never get any major media coverage?

  13. Brenda

    So the “people in the know” are saying a little bit of rancid fat makes the food palatable, but too much collecting in the bottom of the food storage container may be dangerous. Do these people listen to what they are saying.

  14. Barb Emmett

    Thank you, Susan, for your tireless energy and commitment in working on transparency, validation, process improvement in the pet food industry. We need you. This story makes my heart hurt.

  15. Mykka

    Heartbreaking story…. Thank you Susan for all that you do. Another sobering story about how we need to be soooo careful of what we put in our pets and our own mouths.

  16. Nancy

    I feel sad that the animals died. Pigs should not be consuming dog food though.

    1. Diane Richardson

      pigs are omnivores. when wild or free ranging they consume nuts, fruit, vegetation, dead animals and even kill animals on occasion. No reason for them not to consume dog food at all, especially a dog food like Pedigree that is mostly grain based

  17. Barbara

    Did any of the animals have a necropsy? That would have settled it for sure.

    1. Diane Richardson

      no necropsy. THEIR vet told them they could not be done unless performed shortly after death. He was incorrect of course but… 🙁

  18. Julie G

    My dog died 3 months ago, not from a food issue, but a reaction to medicine. My veterinarian was of absolutely no help and don’t worry, all the work I put into filing a claim with the FDA has resulted in absolutely nothing from them either.
    It is sad the love, the care, the time and the money we put into our pets only to have someone basically “blow you off” when you start asking questions after they die a suspicious death!!
    I am not here to start a crusade, but please be aware of things that are potentially causing problems with animals because truly, no one has your back, other than a fellow pet owner/consumer.

    1. Thomas (Tom) N Reedy

      Julie G, so sorry for your loss. A similar incident with an arrogant, dispassionate vet contributed to the unexpected, rapid deterioration and horrible death of our rescued Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Immediately afterward, I removed all of our rescued companions from the unprofessional care of that vet and transferred them all to the superior (real professional) care at the 24-hour/7-days-a-week animal hospital 20 miles from town where our dog received the respect and love she deserved as she bravely fought for several hours before passing away quietly in my arms. Thank you for sharing. Best regards in finding a holistic, professional veterinarian.

  19. Marsha

    My heart truly goes out to Melissa in so many ways. It is awful that this happens in this country that companies that manufacture pet products and government people do not care. They just expect us to take it and walk away.

  20. Thomas (Tom) N Reedy

    Susan, please clarify the following points:

    1.”Concern: The Guaranteed Analysis on the dog food label stated 10% Fat minimum. This dog food tested to contain 7.57% fat (actual). The food was mislabeled.” If the stated minimum is 10%, then 7.57% is below the stated minimum.

    [SIDEBAR: You have pointed out in other communiques that Min% and Max% don’t tell consumers much of anything because (as usual) pet ‘feed’ regulations are vague on these two labeling guidelines.]

    2. Are you or others forwarding this important documentation to your U.S. Senators & Representatives?

    [SIDEBAR: As I often do, Susan, I have forwarded your communique–in its entirety (minus abundant paragraph spaces (hard habit for a retired technical writer/editor to ignore…haha)–to my U.S. Senator Richard “Dick” Durbin and will share his reply, when received, to you and this forum.]

    Great information, Susan, as always. ~TOM~

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Thanks Tom – as always – for sharing our ‘truth’ with Senator Durbin. At the very least we all know he’s getting a good pet food education 🙂

      With the Guaranteed Analysis. Regulations require a manufacturer to list in the Guaranteed Analysis the minimum amount of protein and fat in the product. It is their ‘guarantee’ the food has at least this much fat or protein. The label of this dog food stated it contained a minimum of 10% but test results showed it contained quite a bit less than that. The actual fat content was 7.5%. When a label gives false information to the consumer, it is considered “mislabeled” and depending on the regulatory authority – mislabeling could result in a recall. ‘Could’ being the key word.

      The industry keeps telling consumers pet food has more regulatory control over it than human food (excluding baby food). But that certainly is not true. There might be a lot of regulations, but we can (just about) count on one hand how many of those regulations are enforced.

      1. Thomas (Tom) N Reedy

        Thanks Susan, it implied (to me, at least; then again, I’m 70 in poor health at the moment) that the tested lower fat percentage was a ‘bad’ thing. Sorry about my confusion. ~Your friend in Illinois~

  21. Debbie

    My heart goes out to Melissa. I too (at one time) gave little thought to what I was feeding my guys. I tought if I purchased their food at a Pet Store they were getting a good quality meal. However, I have learned I was wrong. Thanks to finding your site in 2010 my guys are now healthier than they have ever been! Thank you so much Susan for all your dedication and hard work!

  22. Sandee Fischer

    I have been feeding my 5 dogs Pedigree from HEB in San Antonio Texas. One of them gets the smaller kibble and the others get regular. The small one and one of the large dogs have started vomiting and having bloody stools. They stopped eating the food and won’t touch it. My other dogs seem okay so far but I feel certain it’s the dog food and won’t ever buy it again.

  23. Lisa Parker

    Oh, my heart goes out to Melissa! I cannot imagine how broken hearted she and her family must be at the loss of all of those precious pets. Then, in the midst of the grief, trying to obtain answers. We have had problem after problem of how our pets have been treated at the Veterinarian offices. The Veterinarian system is just as broken as the traditional Medicine community. Each time something would happen, I would have a meeting with the Vet, and it’s always, we did things by the book, we did everything right, we did everything we could. Yet, we spend hundreds/thousands of dollars trying to fix their mistakes and in the end, they couldn’t figure out what was wrong and the pet dies anyway. It’s several long stories. Taking them to another vet would not do any good because I hear the same stories from other pet owners. And there is even less accountability with Vets because they are using untrained/unlicensed “technicians” who have only ever had “on the job” training, no proper schooling in what they do. At least in a Medical office, you have to have licensed Medical Technician or Nurse. So we understand what’s it’s like to lose a number of pets all at once.

  24. Melanie

    It infuriates me that the FDA will force a recall on a food if a small amount of Salmonella is tested out in one bag in 100, which, COULD make an animal ill, however, not KILL the pet. This actually causes DEATH and they “can’t” do anything about it? Not saying Salmonella is OK, but I am saying this discrepancy is too much!

  25. Vickie O.

    I am so sorry for Susan’s loss. I have always fed my dogs(babies) Pedigree. My dog also got sick a few weeks back and had vomiting and diarrhea. I stopped the commercial food. After the vomiting stopped, I started feeding him homemade dog food, and also had him on Pepcid 10mg twice a day. The diarrhea cleared up after about 5-6 days. I looked up for recalls and saw the adult Pedigree recall. I usually use the small bites, but needed a smaller bag, and got adult kind. The lot number and date were ok, but I stopped using it anyway. I hate having to make homemade food, but I’m afraid of the possibilities! I see recalls from most all brands. I would like to see regulations for the makers of dog foods too!

  26. Ellie

    I would like to say that your veterinarian is the person that should be a pet owner’s first line of assistance in diagnosing food related illness and directing any further investigation. Sadly, food seems to be one of the last suspects when gastrointestinal problems present and apparently veterinarians have little or no knowledge about identifying or investigating food related illness.
    It is indeed a very sad story for this pet owner and a very dangerous situation for all pets and pet owners.

  27. Rachael

    Once again, consumers have been let down…in the worst way with no accountability.

  28. Teresa

    I’ve been involved with rescue and rehabilitation, special needs and adoptions of pet African hedgehogs for 16, nearer 17, years. While the pet population of hedgehogs is small compared to cats, dogs and other animals, the concern and dedication of caregivers is not! Being still quite new to the pet arena and thus maintaining many of the “wild” qualities for self-preservation, hedgehogs are quite adept at masking illnesses until sometimes fatal. Bad enough your pet can be sick from any number of things aside from foods. But to have unsafe foods in this world of such technology and quality control resources is just unforgiveable.
    I hope with each passing day, as more people acknowledge that pets are family members, manufacturers of all things pet related are more consciencous about how products are made. Until that day, we few voices have to keep putting info out there for others who may not find it on their own.
    Thanks Susan for being in the forefront of such an effort.
    Melissa, my sincere condolences on your losses.

    1. Thomas (Tom) N Reedy

      Thanks Teresa. Oftentimes, we cat & dog rescuers/caregivers forget about the myriad of other rescued/adopted animals. You’re quite correct in sharing the very same concerns that we all have in common. Best regards.

  29. Lily

    Such a terrible thing for Melissa and her family! My sincere condolences. I find it ironic that we are now learning about this, so close to the recalls of Pedigree. Thank you, Susan, for all you do.

  30. Sandra Cole

    As a usually proud Texan, I am extremely appalled by the severe lack of respect and action carried out by the Texas State Chemist as well as the FDA’s lack of response to the issue at hand. My heart goes out to Melissa and her family. No one should ever go through what she’s going through.

    Pet food consumers SHOULD be able to “willy nilly” pick any bag of food off of the shelf at any given store and have it be SAFE TO FEED THEIR PETS. Period.

    Melissa, if you’re reading this, my sincerest condolences to you and yours over the losses of your beloved companions. I hope you get some form of justice, but I know what’s been lost cannot be replaced.

  31. Debbie

    I am from Texas as well…WTF!!!! Absolutely unreal! it doesnt surprise me though at all to the FDA’s reactions. This is why I feed raw foods only. No more pet foods, no commercial pet foods..nothing. the FDA is nothing more than greedy arrogant heartless individuals. I do not trust them or the AAFCO or USDA either but FDA is on the top of that list and the FDA and pet food companies are in bed together. I use to feed that food too so not blaming here.. In fact just yesterday I was in Kroger and ran into a lady with a young child and she had a bag of Pedigree on her cart. I stopped her, handed her one of my business cards for my website that also provides information on these horrible foods and told her of it killing pets. I hope she will follow up. All we can do is keep TRYING to educate the consumer and change some laws when it comes to pet food regulations. Its unbelievable what AMERICA is doing to their own people and pets. And THEY KNOW they are doing it..and JUST DONT CARE!

    and then you see the corrupt Nestle Purina filing a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo for exactly what Purina puts in their own pet foods..garbage..which consists of corn, by products and artificial ingredients. Purina is such a horrible company. Heartless.

    Susan, keep fighting this please! WE need you as our voice, the pets voice to make changes happen. We are behind you 100%.

  32. Valerie


    Though I didn’t use thoose products mentioned in the article, I was using Wysong–bought direct from–on auto-ship every 5 wks delivered to my door, for over 4yrs. . **I have 1 (rescued) papillon-chihuahua mix nad 1 (rescued) shelter cat (dom. short hair).** My cat “Jericho Jax” had since 16 wks old…has always had digestive issues and urinary stones as well. He was on Science diet RX–which made him extremely sick (I fought w vet several times, even shouted at him I refuse to feed him the Rx Science diet anymore due to constant vomiting immediately after ate it….I fed him plain chicken breast–instantly no vomiting, but due to my ignorance, looked for another Rx food—-that’s how WYSONG URETIC came into play). My dog: got her when she was 5 1/2 yrs old she was under nourished by previous owners (that’s another story unrelated to this matter) which, I did manage to correct and get her weight back to normal (for her size & body frame). I thought, switching her to WYSONG Sonegen (also Anergen later on, when Sonegen didn’t seem to do so good with her). I also bought the 6 pk variety “Au Jus” all meat variety pack (ea. can was an individual meat–Rabbit, Venison, Beef, Duck, Turkey, Chicken) which were good for both dog & cat (I used these as sm. amount of topping -1 tsp- on top of their foods). Several times, I’ve noticed (with ALL the dry food I ordered: Uretic dry for cats, Sonegen & Anergen dry food NOTE: Anergen can also be fed to cats, according to WYSONG cust. service reps).–they would smell rancid from stale, rotting oil which, obviously spoiled the food. I called them few times about this issue (was so strong the rancid odor of spoiled oil on dry food could smell it as soon as opened fresh bag for first time….The bags all were small bags each, no more than 4 to 5 lbs each) and was blown off each time, lied to each time & told “will not get refund and nothing is wrong with the food, not true, can send sample (told her to shove it up her ass with few other things I will not write here)”. I told them, repeatedly, they changed the formula a few times (from bad to even worse than before)–can see by the color, size, smell to more inferior quality ingredients because BOTH my animals were suddenly suffering with issues (when the ingredients were last 2X changed in the dry foods) they didn’t have before–aside from Wysong’s using rotten/rancid oils on their food & still selling it regardless of the rancid oils used on their dry foods. Next–(more fun!) with the Au Jus variety pack (6 pack) all meat cans 13 oz cans….Wysong dropped their quality here as well. I was finding colored plastic pieces in these canned foods –green, black, red, blue, and only once a yellow piece of plastic– the size of the plastic pieces found were no bigger than half of a pea. I noticed this over the past several months. Yes, did ca;ll them again–same old bs & nonsense I was given. I last called them approx. end Sept 2014 or early Oct. 2014 and told them all of this AGAIN, I was told “why didn’t you tell us sooner, should have called etc;” I blasted the girl & told her I “have called several times about this and rotting spoiled dry food kept sending me, your company refused to refund me for., so cut the crap! I called too many times & was blown off, lied to etc. Wysong changed the formulas few times to cut costs, got sloppy and lazy and, as result my animals got sick from the food.” The dumb ass recommended me “to change the food to different ones they offer (what for?! for more tainted garbage to feed my babies?)”.

    I said: NO, cancel immediately my orders, had enough of this garbage & my babies sick from this! And, Wysong jerking me around by not owning up to the sold tainted/spoiled food, refusal to refund me of your spoiled foods you sent me, or for plastic pieces found in the Au Jus canned meats–didn’t matter which “flavor” meat it was of the AuJus variety pk. . ALL of them had plastic pieces in them (why? was that to stretch the product further quantity wise, to fill can weight wise- so could add less meat to it? god only knows whatever else was in there I couldn’t see with the naked eye)! The CS girl (amazing & beyond stupid!) states: “When do you want us to send out the next shipment since you just cancelled this one now (over phone)?” Again I said: No! Cancel my order now & permanently for good! I will go elsewhere! I had enough of this crap & my babies sick from your garbage foods! DO NOT DARE ship another order or bill my card, will notify my card co. in case, to refuse it (WYSONG order)!. .. NOTE:: Anytime I opened the bag of dry food (ea. were sm. bags) I ALWAYS left the food within it’s own bag & rolled it up tight & kept securely closed (once rolled tight first) with rubber band, then placed it it large 5 gal. tightly covered metal can (with metal lid as well) that was kept away from heat and cold, out of the sun light as well (kept container in closet). The AuJus Variety pack cans (unopened of course) were kept in this same closet stored on a shelf. Obviously, the AuJus cans, once opened, were immediately refrigerated with covers on the cans as well. …. Now, my babies eat home cooked foods I’ve just completed transitioning them over to… all cooked food 98% meat (beef, chicken breast so far, will eventually add a little fish now & then, lamb, rabbit etc..), tiny bit steamed mix veggies (frozen vegs), pet multi vitamin (one for dog, one for cat), pet enzymes. …amazing how they’ve changed their coats (such short time span starting to see difference here & in other areas as well), not getting sick vomiting, pulling their hair out incessantly etc. …
    My cat, Jericho Jax suddenly became too impatient while waiting for me to prepare his food (I warm it up) and has taken to standing on top of my refridge (counter prepare his food is next to refridge) thus, reaching down from top of refridge to repeatedly smack me on top of my head and side of head (impatient little rascal, isn’t he?). My dog, Cheyenna, starts barking, jumping and scratching my legs begging until I give her a tiny piece of her food while I’m preparing (preparing BOTH their foods to be warmed & soon served within minutes) their food. So, between getting smacked repeatedly on top & sides of my head by my cat AND, jumped on & scratched up legs by my dog…I wouldn’t trade it for the world (even tho doesn’t tickle and annoying rofl)!

  33. Valerie

    PS: In case anyone may have wondered, Yes, I ALWAYS checked the “best used by/best buy date” (if item had it on bag, can) AND “expiration date” every single time, with every item I purchased direct from Wysong company, upon delivery (and, again before I would first open any bag or can to use).

  34. Kat

    I called Mars this morning to see if they could tell me what lot number and best use by date of my bag of pedigree dog food as it’s totally unreadable. They were unable to tell my anything by the UPC number except what product it was. I told them I had become aware of dogs possibly dying from consuming it and all the rep did was tell me about the August recall. I informed her that just because there wasn’t a recall did not mean that the food was good. Phone call was a waste of time. I also contacted Wal-mart where I purchased it and they could not give me any info either but did refund my money.

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