(FULL DISCLOSURE: Jenn’s Pet TLC is an affiliate of The Farmer’s Dog and is seeking affiliation with Small’s brand pet foods. This is an opinion piece, with the main goal of this article is to educate you, the pet parent, on seeking good pet foods.)
Have you seen the stories on social media about dogs and cats suddenly becoming very ill and worse passing away after eating Purina Brand foods? Are you concerned about your pet getting sick as well? We’ve been reading story after story about mostly young, seemingly healthy pets, suddenly becoming violently ill and some even succumbing to their sudden illness. Purina Brand Pet Foods have been agonizingly quiet about this; even denying that something is wrong. We understand that correlation does not mean causation, and we urge caution when jumping to conclusions, but hundreds and hundreds of pet parents with the same story suggests that this is not a baseless concern. The latest numbers we can find state that there are around “969 reports of dogs or cats getting ill after eating Purina food, including 234 deaths”. Source
That is absolutely frightening!
If you suspect that there might be a problem; symptoms to look out for are: lethargy, vomiting (bloody or otherwise), diarrhea, muscle weakness, seizures, rapid weight loss, rectal bleeding, excessive urination, and refusal to eat.
If your dog or cat is experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if they are sudden, seek veterinary attention immediately!
If your pets are eating Purina but are otherwise stable; consider consulting a holistic or integrative vet who is open to the idea that food may be causing issues. Concerningly, many traditional vets are holding fast to Purina’s statements of “[t]here are no health or safety issues with our products, and they can continue to be fed with confidence” Source.
It remains to be seen whether Purina foods are the culprit, but we are prepared to call the circumstances suspicious and cannot, in good conscience, any longer recommend Purina as a trusted brand, given that it seems to be a common denominator in the sudden spike in illnesses.
This is a list of foods associated with the majority of the issues:
*Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach
*Purina Pro Plan EN (Prescription)
*Purina Pro Plan Lamb and Rice
*Purina Pro Plan Chicken and Rice
*Purina Pro Plan Salmon
*Purina Pro Plan Bison
*Purina Pro Plan Adult Complete Essentials
*Purina Pro Plan High Energy
*Purina Large Breed Shredded Blend
Purina One Joint Health
*Purina SPORT 30/20
*Purina One Lamb and Rice
*Purina One True Instinct
*Purina Dog Chow
*Purina One Skin & Coat
*Purina One Chicken and Rice
*Purina Puppy Chow Tender and Crunchy
*Purina Pro Plan Kittens Salmon
*Purina One Salmon Selects Dry Food
*Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food
*Purina Pro Plan Ocean Fish Pate
*Purina Pro Plan Kitten Chicken Pate
*Purina Pro Plan Kitten Chow Nurture
*Purina Pro Plan Live Clear
*Purina One +
*Purina Friskies Gravy Lovers (all flavors)
*Purina Friskies Tender and Crunchy
*Purina Kit and Kaboodle
*Purina Beggin’ Strips
*Purina Pro Plan Beef and Carrots
*Purina Pro Plan Chicken and Turkey
Purina (and parent company Nestle) own dozens of pet foods that you may be feeding your pet. The list is long, but please read through it: Alpo, Baker's, Beggin’, Beneful, Beyond, Busy Bone, Cat Chow, Chef Michael's, Dog Chow, Dentalife, Ever Root, Fancy Feast, Felix, Friskies, Kit & Kaboodle, Lily's Kitchen, Mighty Dog, Moist & Meaty, Pioneer Woman, Prime, Puppy Chow, Purina One, Purina Pro Plan, Purina Veterinary Diets, Whisker Lickins, Terra Canis, Zukes.
There may be more! We compiled this list from various sources. Needless to say, Nestle Purina has a lot of money invested in their pet food brands, which means they have a vested interest in offering assurances rather than admitting any fault (should they, indeed, be liable).
So you’re probably asking, “ok great, I get it Purina may not be a great brand, what do I do now?” Or maybe “my pet isn’t exhibiting any of these signs and we’ve been feeding these brands for years, do I really need to switch or be concerned”
Our recommendation is that you should consider switching foods regardless of symptoms. Yes, Jenn’s Pet TLC has a vested financial interest in other pet food brands. Our interest in those brands, however, extends to our desire for your pets to lead long, happy, healthy lives with you. Beyond acute concerns regarding (possibly) tainted batches; there are plenty of things in Purina foods that your pets shouldn’t be eating anyway. So before we offer our recommended brands, we’d like to simply offer open recommendations of what you should be looking for; even if you opt for another brand.
-High meat content (humanely sourced), with a high ( ideally 70%) moisture content.
-Whole food ingredient (protip: if you can’t read it, it’s probably a chemical filler)
-Raw, Freeze-dried, ‘gently cooked’, or ‘air dried’
-AVOID STARCHY CARBS (Peas, Lentils, Wheat, Corn, Soy, Potatoes, and Chickpeas)
-AVOID MEAT BYPRODUCTS or MEALS
-AVOID SYNTHETIC VITAMINS and MINERALS (Though this can be very difficult as many of these are added-back after processing)
-AVOID ULTRA PROCESSED KIBBLE (It’s basically a meal of potato chips or bread)
-AVOID BINDERS (Carrageenan, gar gum, and gluten of any kind)
So what DO we recommend? Sadly, our list is pretty short as Purina isn’t the only sketchy brand out there.
-The Farmer’s Dog (Affiliate Link)
-Just for Dogs
-Just for Cats
*word of caution with WeRuVa, some of the pate formulas have a few gums listed in the ingredients. We aren't a fan of these gums, however this is still a better option that the Purina brand foods and other cheap brands.
If you need a veterinary diet, we recommend Medicus Veterinary Diets. These diets are thoughtfully curated to help ease your pet through a difficult time. They are made with wholesome ingredients meant to transition your pet back to a “normal diet”. We’ll talk next time about how the “veterinary diets” your vet may be pushing are not meant for life long use, and may actually be keeping your pet sick.
We hope this helps you find the best food for your pet. What you feed them does truly matter. Just like us, what goes in, reflects what is shown on the outside. And if the food is of poor quality, poor health is inevitable. Many highly processed pet foods are made from rendered parts (aka the parts at the meat processing plant that don’t meet the standards to human consumption, technically called feed, roadkill, euthanized animals, etc), there’s little oversight into the ingredients put in the pet food, most of the grains are sprayed with glyphosate (aka roundup), many contain mycotoxins (which are “generated by fungi…with toxic effects and widely distributed in food and feed” Source.)
As the saying goes, when you know better, you do better. This isn’t meant to shame anyone reading this. It’s meant to educate. Jenn has spent months studying how the pet food industry really works and what the ingredients really mean. It’s a deep rabbit hole and she’s more than willing to traverse it for you. Our goal is to be a resource for information and tips for all of our pet parents. We only want what’s best for you and your pet.
Jennifer, CPPS has loved caring for animals since childhood, and she’s had quite a few throughout the years. From cats to dogs, to birds, hamsters, fish, guinea pigs, and even a horse; she’s had more four-legged family members than two legged ones!