Potential Dangers in Pet Treats and Food

By Elisa Black-Taylor

Potential dangers in pet food and pet treats are still out there. This is an update I did on two separate stories outlining some of the foods as well as symptoms we, as pet owners, should beware of:

It would be a good idea to read those articles before continuing with this one as it explains the dangers in more detail. The major cat and dog products in these two articles were Purina One cat food, Purina Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch for Dogs. Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats produced by DelMonte have also come under fire, although not as much as the others. The Purina dog treats are supplied by a company called JOC Great Wall Corp. Ltd. of Nanjing, China. The Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch treats are believed responsible for the illness of at least 1000 dogs, with 100 deaths reported (1).

Consumer affairs has had over 400 complaints on Purina dog foods making their dogs sick. This involves several different brands. There is a link at the end of this paragraph but my pc browser wouldn’t take me there. My cell phone browser did. You may have to manually type in the food or treat you wish to search (Go to the link number 2).

Chicken Jerky Made in China
Chicken Jerky Made in China.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.

ABC News has also covered the story, stating the Chinese made treats has sickened or killed over 900 dogs. A spokesperson for Nestle Purina defended their problem by claiming the dogs sickened or died from other causes (3).

Click on this link to see the URL of good site for recent pet food recalls. Ralston Purina has made a few voluntary recalls, but not on the products I talked about in my article listing Purina One as the major problem. A lot of readers are also experiencing problems with Fancy Feast dry formula.

Now to explain why this problem still exists. If a pet food company doesn’t make a voluntary recall on a product, the FDA cannot recall a product based on consumer complaints. The FDA has tested samples from many cat and dog foods, as well as cat and dog treats. As of an August 2012 report, it hasn’t been proven the products are responsible for the illness and deaths pet owners are claiming (4).

Waggin’ Train has a Facebook page with over 4000 likes. The president of the company has also released a video defending their products. The video doesn’t have a code to embed to show it on this page. It’s on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/waggintrain?fref=ts

So are these dog treats made in China safe? I read a status update a few weeks ago from one of my Facebook friends stating she wished she’d known about the problem with the dog treats. Her dog enjoyed a Waggin’ Train treat and a few days later her dog was dead. Facebook also has several pages set up trying to warn dog owners about these treats, since the FDA won’t officially do anything without more proof. Click on this link for a few of them if you want to check them out.

There are also a number of videos available on YouTube by people whose dogs were allegedly poisoned by the Chinese made treats. Search that site for Waggin Train Treats and several personal stories by dog owners are there.

While I haven’t found any Facebook pages concerning cat food poisonings, that’s not necessarily a good thing. People pay attention to personal stories by dog and cat owners who have lost their pets due to dangerous food and treats.

I like to bring any kind of recall to the attention of both cat and dog lovers because I have both. Dog treat recalls scare me because my cats like to play kitchen hockey with anything they can bat around. This includes any dog treats our little Cujo doesn’t finish. I checked a few stores earlier this week and found the Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch products are still being sold. I asked the cashier whether a lot of these products are purchased. She smiled and told me “YES.” She stopped smiling when I told her how many illnesses and deaths have been unofficially linked to the treats.

Like me, she’s powerless to stop people from purchasing these allegedly dangerous snacks. I asked her to tell customers to Google them before purchasing them. Most people in my area have cell phones that connect them to the internet.

As for me, I write on the topic. I do have a little advice, which I also offered in my previous two articles listed above. Before feeding your cat or dog a new food or treat, Google “potential problem with_____.” If there are many major issues, you’ll usually find them in your internet search engine. This also holds true for any food you routinely feed. It never hurts to do a periodic check for any problem. Several quality pet food brands have been recalled this year. It’s not just the lower cost items that are frown upon by pet nutritionists. Diamond as well as Taste of the Wild are premium brands and both made recalls in 2012.

Almost every recall is for salmonella contamination. The cat and dog foods as well as the treats. Symptoms range from digestive, such as vomiting and diarrhea to neurological where the cat or dog goes into seizures. Some suffer urological issues leading to renal failure and death.

I’ve tried to keep this topic as brief as possible. There are just so many problems out there with the commercial foods. A lot of people are now feeding home cooked diets as well as raw diets. There’s plenty of information on these alternatives for those of you now terrified of what’s on the market.

It’s important to mention any change in diet to your vet should your cat or dog become ill shortly after a change in diet. If it’s not mentioned, your vet may attribute illness to another cause. Take your pet to the vet immediately if vomiting or diarrhea or any other symptoms concern you. It doesn’t take long for salmonella poisoning to kill a small animal. Especially when you take dehydration from digestive symptoms into consideration.

It’s difficult to know who to believe these days. On the one hand, you have hundreds of pet owners whose have become ill from eating these products. On the other, you have not only the company representatives saying their products are safe, you have satisfied consumers who have fed the product to their pets with no harm done.

If I’ve made any of you a bit paranoid, I apologize. I’m extremely paranoid after all of the research I’ve done this year on pet food issues. I’m constantly Googling anything I purchase now. Usually while standing in the isle at the grocery.

Have any of the readers here had any problems with commercial pet foods or treats? How do you research what to feed your cat or dog? Can you recommend any good links for homemade pet food recipes?


Please click for references for this article.

5 thoughts on “Potential Dangers in Pet Treats and Food”

  1. China sadly has a reputation for poor quality control on pet and indeed baby food. The problem comes from saving costs and corrupt regulation or no regulation. Why Purina use a Chinese manufacturer is beyond me. Actually it is not beyond my comprehension because Purina is owned by Nestlé and this company is involved in animal testing. They would seem to have problems with standards and despite their marketing appear not have the welfare of the dogs and cats that their products feed truly at heart. They appear to be more concerned in making a profit.

    Some links of previous articles written on similar subjects:



    • Perhaps I’m just bad at math, but I can’t see how the company can make a profit when shipping costs are figured. You’re sending a cheap product halfway around the world. It would seem transportation charges would be more than any profit.

      • I think if you factor in the grossly low wages in China its almost always cheaper to get anything from there. I honestly hate alot of things about that place which have to do with crimes against nature and humanity in my opinion. It doesn’t suprise me one bit that the qualityof their food sucks to the point of being dangerous. Furthermore, and sadly too, it doesn’t suprise me one bit that Nestle ‘uses’ China to its profit. That company, like so many other similar ones – purely opportunistic – ‘opportunity/ of course relating to profit and not quality. Especially in the non-Nestle sub brands it owns, i.e.: Purina and any other thing they sell that doesn’t only have Nestle written on it. Actual Swiss Nestle products I’m sure are of better quality since they can’t afford to risk their ‘Swiss quality’ reputuation. It’s a Swiss thing.

  2. I think it’s a great idea to google something before you buy it, even in the store like you said you do. Google is great for certain things and we often forget that it is always there at our disposal. I like to vary my cats diet and although I give them meat I do buy commercial foods and I vary them because they seem to like to try different things. Its also a nice way to keep any one thing or brand in moderation. Variety is the spice of life. Lilly is a little more preferring of her usual things and I have googled her favourite foods. But I think I will be more active about that now. I can’t imagine the horror of losing one of my cats from one wrong treat, once or twice. Personally, living in Switzerland, I have to say that the one very shameful company in this country is Nestle. Its a horrid company with an awful history you can read about if you google it, you will get tons of results about different scandals – even involving human baby milk substitute. That said, I therefore have an inbuilt distrust for purina – but I anyway don’t trust just about anything that is made on such a large scale. I dont mean to sound like an ass, but corporations’ values are to profit – not to be in any way good or decent. I dont trust most or any of them really. It’s hard not to feel helpless in these post modern times where we see the total failure of capitalism and the ugly side effects of it. So our pets, who can’t speak, probably get fed god awful things by these stupid companies. They can get away with murder – literally.

    I will google more. But its also the long term effects of certain foods we can’t know about so easily. There must be so many bad commercial foods out there. They should have higher standards. Wouldnt it be nice if they were the same standards as for humans (in europe at least, where genetic food is not allowed). I guess the only way to at least know what you are giving them is by making or preparing it yourself. Right now my time is limited. I give them a couple hours of playtime or 2 and half even, per day, instead of using time to prepare thier food. But 2 are young kittens and I feel playtime is essential for a good upbringing – perhaps later I will spend an hour preparing. Either way I have a job so I must manage my time as such.

    • Cujo has developed a love of carrots. So that’s his new treat. My cats can’t eat many of the foods out there. Friskies, Cat Chow and Meow Mix make them sick. They throw it right back up. Sealy has to have his Whiskas Purrfectly Fish or Purrfectly Chicken. Anything else and someone throws up. Not sure whether its him or Renny. He’s on a vet multivitamin and doing great.

      I think the grocery is used to my Googling while in the store. I don’t trust anything anymore. My neighbors dog Abby lost half her bladder to Milk Bones. They caused kidney stones 8mm in size. After they were removed her bladder ruptured and she had to have emergency surgery. Guess its better to give our pets play toys instead of edible treats.


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