Dogs & Laws

UPDATE: Lawsuit Against Blue Buffalo Dog Food Dismissed by Courts

A proposed class action lawsuit filed in California against Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. alleged that the dog food manufacturer knowingly made, marketed, and sold dog food contaminated with material and significant levels of lead.

blue buffalo

UPDATE 3/28/18: The class action lawsuit against Blue Buffalo Pet Products has been dismissed. Additional information below.

The 24-page lawsuit was filed after the plaintiff claimed his dog, a 4-year old Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix, experienced kidney disease and ultimately kidney failure as a result of ingesting the Blue Buffalo dog food products as his primary source of food.

The class action suit sought to cover consumers in the United States who purchased any of the following dog food for household use (not for resale) between July 1, 2013 and the present:

  • Blue Wilderness Chicken Recipe for Small Breed Adult Dogs
  • Blue Freedom Grain-Free Chicken Recipe for Small Breed Adult Dogs
  • Blue Basics Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Recipe for Adult Dogs

Note that each of the above products are sold by Blue Buffalo Pet Foods, Inc. along with claims that they contain “LifeSource Bits,” described on packaging and in advertising as a “precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals” selected by veterinarians and animal nutrition experts.

The suit alleged Blue Buffalo has knowingly advertised and sold dog food contaminated with lead without providing proper warning to consumers. It also asserted that Blue Buffalo Pet Products’ claims, that the contaminated food contains blends of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals is likely to deceive the public into believing the dog food is healthy and “holistic.”

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” the case states, “as the contaminated foods’ inclusion of an unsafe amount of lead creates a health hazard for dogs.”

Extended exposure to lead has been linked to chronic lead poisoning, cancers, developmental and reproductive disorders, and nervous system dysfunction.

Blue Buffalo will not comment on the pending litigation, but confirmed that they DO NOT test their pet food products for lead content.

At this time, the proposed lawsuit is only that – a proposed suit. At this time there is no publicly available evidence to support the lead contamination claims.

UPDATE: In a letter to consumers, Blue Buffalo made the following statement regarding the allegations against them:

“These unsubstantiated allegations stem from a single lawsuit filed against us by a single plaintiff who claims that levels of lead were found in three of our products that could be dangerous to pet health. Blue Buffalo strongly denies these allegations, which represent the unsubstantiated claims of one person, and have not been supported by any evidence or data. We are vigorously fighting this lawsuit and have filed a motion in court to have the case dismissed.”

On March 20, 2018, the courts granted Blue Buffalo’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit against them.

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Elyse

    Jun 15, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    A strong suggestion as a dog owner for decades is watch the movie “PetFooled” on NetFlix or YouTube. Then tell me what the 5 big billion dollar Pet Corporations make their kibble from for your beloved pets. There is no regulation and a huge portion of their profit goes to marketing to people who buy their product, not just Blue Buffalo.
    As far as Vet’s recommendations… they receive about one month training in pet nutrition and study from text books written by none other than Hills Food, owner of Science Diet. They often receive rewards monetarily from recommending their foods too. You are being scammed and if the amount of current recalls of said kibbles as well as treats from China don’t scare you into at the very least researching this information than… sorry… but you are asleep. The days of Chuck Wagon are over and while many dogs live on kibble and exist, they do not thrive and the Vets as well as Pet Food Corporations profit from your lack of knowledge. Think of all the recalls, all the allergies, all the early deaths… read and research… your dog can live longer and healthier from it.

  2. Tatyana V.

    Apr 17, 2018 at 3:18 am

    I HIGHLY encourage everyone to cook for their pets. If you cook large batches, it takes just a couple of hours per week; the difference in cost is insignificant, and you’ll save on vet bills in the long run (ex: my dog no longer needs his allergy medication); and according to my vet, this will minimize risks of cancer and add at least 2-3 years to their lives. Basically, there’s really no reason to feed non-human grade, dry, stinky, toxic waste to those we love. In this case, a little bit of effort will go a long way.

    I keep some dry food at home as backup only, and feel incredibly guilty every time I have to use it. A few weeks ago I tried Blue Buffalo for the first time. One of them could not eat more than one cup without puking and wouldn’t eat the small black bits, so I stopped giving it to him. The other one ate it, but then became really low energy and seems to have trouble breathing sometimes. Their breath and gas smelled like garbage every time they ate that dry food. Yesterday I saw a post about a puppy that died of what appeared to be lead poisoning. The puppy ate Blue. I’m throwing what’s left of it away. Never again. And I’m really thinking I should ditch dry food completely, even as backup. It’s just not worth it. No use expecting corporations to care for your pets as well as you do. They sell whatever they can get away with, and all those promsing labels with lists of benefits is just marketing. Lawsuits don’t restore the health of the pets we lose.

  3. Cece

    Apr 10, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Has anyone’s dog died of HGE (Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis)? I had a Chorkie that passed away from it and today our Yorkiepoo started with the same thing. I hadn’t heard of this issue before and we switched to this food about 2 years ago. Vets say they don’t know how they got it. But our dogs have never been sick before.

    • Betsy Hannah

      Apr 19, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      I was fortunate that my dog didn’t die, but my Pit Bull mix was diagnosed with that this week and we were told if we hadn’t gotten her to the vet when when we did she would have been dead by morning. I had switched from Blue Buffalo Chicken & Rice to Lamb & Rice.

  4. Louise B Cyr

    Apr 10, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    My Labradoodle died 2 years ago at the age of 6. She had been suffering from urinary and kidney infections for 2 yrs prior. Her weight was 55 lbs, and when she was diagnosed with kidney failure, we made the decision to end her life, as she was suffering terribly. At the time my vet wondered why this would have happened. Now I know, as I fed her Blue Buffalo dog food since she was a puppy. this really angers me, as Lilly was the sweetest dog I ever had. broke my heart. I am asking as to what more can be done to make these people pay for everyones expense, and more over all the heart ache from the end result

  5. Liberalslayer

    Apr 1, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Here come all the cooks, my dog has x problem, must be the blue buffalo. Ignoring the fact I bet majority of these people never take their dogs for regular visits. Only when they are sick

  6. DoggyKate

    Mar 27, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Just because someone files a lawsuit doesn’t mean that there is any actual lead in the dog food.

    A) In order to WIN the lawsuit, the accusers will need to prove that there is lead in the food in amounts large enough to harm a dog. There is as yet zero evidence of this anywhere I can see. None.
    B) Carol Osborne, the vet heading the lawsuit, is a crazy person who believes vaccines cause autoimmune disorders, when in fact vaccines don’t work that way at all (they act in a different way in the immune system), among other bizarre beliefs she pushes into the mainstream. Until I see actual toxcology reports from autopsies and lab results from food, I won’t believe a single thing stemming from this suit.
    C) that said, I’m very glad people are being careful about what they feed their pets! I just wish there was a little more understanding that “someone filed a lawsuit!” doesn’t mean “OMG THERE IS LEAD IN BLUE BUFFALO!!”

    (I am a dog owner, and I do feed my dogs Blue Basics, not the flavor listed in the suit. And I have no plans to stop, my dogs are perfectly healthy and happy and do very well on the food)

    • Tim morris

      Mar 29, 2018 at 1:25 am

      I just found out about this I have a 6 year old lab he’s has eaten by turkey and potato for 4 year’s and has seizures mast cell tumors and now an enlarged prostate and bleeding out of his penis going to have him tested for lead poisoning tomorrow they better pray

    • katie

      Mar 31, 2018 at 10:46 pm

      Well maybe “Blue” should test the food by an unbias lab and provide the public with the results of just exactly what is in these “Lifesource Bits”. They don’t know as the minerals and vitamins in pet food come from China even though their labels say “manufactured in the USA”. Why don’t you eat a boat load of it and let us know how it works out.

    • Doggy Chef

      Apr 6, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      DoggyKate…Your comment does concern me. True, until further proof is discovered and any pending toxicology results are disclosed, this matter remains up in the air. However by Blue Buffalo doing a massive, major recall of the food they produced, it does make one question the contents that they are using for ingredients in their foods. This recall does not make the company look very innocent. Unless one is schooled in canine/feline nutrition, the layman has no idea what goes into the ingredients that can be used. Leather, wood pulp, oil and organ meat could be used to meet the nutritional requirements for dog food. Not good quality food, never the less, it makes the requirement. Until all is said and done, dragged thru the courts and proven either way, NO ONE WILL KNOW THE TRUTH EITHER WAY! You said that Dr. Carol Osborne is “a crazy person”, you know this or are only speculating? I don’t say anything I can not prove, it tends to open one up for slander or libel. Even as a doctor, she must have enough knowledge to have finished college and Vet school or she would not hold a license to practice. Until and if, everything is disclosed and made public, we can only guess at any truth for now.

    • Louise B Cyr

      Apr 10, 2018 at 4:37 pm

      If I were you, I would stop feeding them this food immediately. my dog died at 6 yrs old. whats to say yours won’t get sick later in life because of their ingestion of this food. Just my opinion

    • Elyse

      Jun 15, 2018 at 10:27 pm

      DoggyKate would you feed your children McDonald’s everyday too? While they might live, they certainly won’t, “thrive”.

  7. Christy Opritza

    Mar 24, 2018 at 9:02 am

    My dog loved this food and has suddenly stopped eating it and has no appetite. I tried puting gravy, or people food she loves on it and she only eats the people food. I thought it was because she was depressed that my siameze who was so healty suddenly died and she was her best friend. my dog sleeps all the time. Animals do die suddenly, and only God knows what happened to her. My other cat won’t eat the food. I mix wet with it and she spits out all the blue food! I Am taking it back to Pet Smart and try to find something else they both will eat. My heart goes out to all the owners of the lost furbabies!

  8. katie

    Mar 22, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    I am so angry. The food my dog ate for years was pulled off the market. I then researched to the best of my ability and chose this food due to its so-called healthy ingredients. My dog spits out the so-called vitamin bits and as we know dogs typically eat just about anything. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t poisoned by the being transferred to the other pieces of food. He has been diagnosed with possible pancreatitis and irritable bowels. I took him off the Blue food when he was diagnosed to put him on a reduced fat diet not even knowing the food was poison. It seems that suing these companies may be the only way to get them to test these pet foods as none of them test now. They slap American/Canadian made on the package to get people to buy it then still feed our beloved pets poison. I have researched and found that many vitamins and minerals in pet foods are still from China even when the label says it’s manufactured in the USA or Canada. We all know China’s track record with pets and even their own babies.

  9. Matt

    Mar 21, 2018 at 7:44 am

    My daughter dog Cocoa was fed Blue breed adult food and he died Feb 9, 2018 of symptoms of lead poisoning but we could never figure out where the diarrhea was coming from! How do we file a law suit?

  10. Alison

    Mar 20, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Fun fact, my cat had been on blue buffalo for 3-ish years before we nearly lost him last September. His kidneys began to shut down. I would be interested to know if this was a coincidence or the reason behind nearly losing my own furbaby.

  11. Kathy Briggs Leggett

    Mar 20, 2018 at 9:08 am

    I had two dogs pass away unexpectedly in August 2014 and May 2015. Jack my Italian Greyhound, and Molly my Cavalier King Charles. Both ate nothing but Blue Buffalo chicken in the blue and tan bag. Both just had trouble standing before passing. Jack was 12 and Milly was 8. Now I wonder if it was the Blue Buffalo.

    • Tammy M

      Mar 20, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      I fed my fur baby this exact same food and we had to have her put to sleep in October of 2017. She was 8 and had cancer…this really makes me wonder.

  12. Jaled

    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    I’ve fed Blue Buffalo to people inmy soup kitchen for years, never problem.

  13. Patty Wachold

    Mar 19, 2018 at 9:30 am

    This makes me sick and very angry. I have a Boykin spaniel that is allergic to everything and will be on special meds for the rest of his life. For years I fed him blue Buffalo and had no problems until recently. Lately every time I fed him he would throw up right after eating, and started losing weight. On top of that, a couple of times he had what I believed to be a seizure. I wondered if it was the food so I switched to a different brand and it stopped. But this makes me so angry! Knowingly selling tainted food to animals with food sensitivities, especially when you are supposed to be the best and the healthiest, As well as the most expensive, is so wrong on so many levels. If this is in fact true and there is lead in blue Buffalo food, then I hope they get what’s coming to them! So much for trust.

    • suzi

      Apr 21, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      OMG,Patty I have a furbaby that is allergic to everything also. Spent 1000’s at vet.put her on blue buffalo and other brands “Chewy” sells but still had to be on “apoquel” allergy med. Cant afford that anymore its went up 2X’s in 6mos. so now its steroid pills,2 every other day. Im so hurt by my baby girl being not what she could be.Her loves me so good…..

  14. Nicole Maukstad

    Mar 19, 2018 at 3:00 am

    I also used this product for mt Chihuahua. She always would eat all the food but not eat the brown ones, the life source bits. I would not feed her anymore til she ate them and then she did. I feel absolutely horrible to think maybe she knew they were bad and didn’t wanna eat them. She went from a loving, funny potty trained dog, to a dog that wouldn’t eat, pottied in the house and didn’t recognize us anymore, and she has NEVER bit me EVER, til all these signs and symptoms started she nipped me one time. The vets think she might have had a brain tumor but never got the full reason on why she went from healthy to dying stage within a few weeks. Thought I was being a good fur mom by buying her the best. This is heartbreaking to say the least.

    • Sue

      Mar 19, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      Mine won’t eat them either! I had no Idea!!

  15. Anne

    Mar 18, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    My German Shepard also passed. When she began having these symptoms, I did take her in and numerous tests were performed, x-rays and blood work. She was also tested for Cushings. Everything came back fine. After 2 more bouts, took her in again for more blood tests. She was fine. I kept feeding her this food….

  16. John Bradshaw

    Mar 7, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    So knowing that everyones situation can be different. I have a large breed (70 pound) German Shepard mix, We got her when she was six months old and have fed her nothing but Blue Buffalo Wilderness. We give her 2 cups of the kibble and have used various flavors (Red Meat, Bison, Chicken, Salmon, Rabbit, Denali Blend, etc.) as she gets one can of the Blues Stews in various flavors (Chicken, Lamb, Beef). We like to mix it up. We moved from the Puppy versions to the Large Breed versions as she grew. She will be 7 years old this coming summer. After hearing of these claims, when I took her for her annual vet checkup (March 5 2018) I had them do full blood workup and specifically asked for a lead content analysis. I was very pleased to learn that her bloodwork came back completely normal and her lead count was as low as you can measure it. I am not implying this means the other flavors may not have issues, but we definitely run the gambit of their offerings and have no issues at all. There are so many other factors that can be involved in a pet’s (or human’s) health, I would just suggest that before you jump to conclusions, have your pet tested, and if there are issues – work with the vet to isolate and identify the source. It could be the water (remember Flint, MI), food, something else in the house (lead-based paint in the house or on something they are chewing on). All these things can be tested.

  17. Marie

    Feb 25, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Claims are not truth, people. Dogs and cats have ALWAYS gotten kidney disease, cancers and other medical issues, despite having the healthiest of diets. So have humans. Looking for a scapegoat will only allow companies like Purina, that happened to have allowed Chinese ingredients to kill thousands of animals years ago, to go succeed at selling subpar, cheap ingredient food again, while running truly holistic companies that have forced meat by-product, corn and artificial chemicals, actually linked to diseases, out of more brands, thus ensuring a return to the marketing of lower quality foods seen just 10 years ago.
    I am sorry for anyone’s loss of a pet, however everyone needs to understand why Blue would be under attack by companies larger and much less disclosing than them. It is easy to accuse, however no one can find proof of any lead. Also, how do we know if any other brands are tested and their results. What is considered a safe parts per million? Was lead found in the dog? Unlike the recent pentibarbital, Salmonella and Listeria recalls, there is only an accusation here.
    I lost a cat that was 7 years old due to kidney issues 10 years ago. She only on Science Diet. My mother lost an 8 year old Doberman that ate only Purina. Yet, I have cats and dogs on Blue( for 4 years now) doing great. Will it last? I don’t know, but the look great, are loving it and I feel good about the product.

  18. Doreen

    Feb 23, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    I tried this dog food for my Shih Tzu and I will NEVER buy it again. She ended up having a few seizures as a result of eating it. I immediately took her off of it and put her on Science Diet which was the best thing for her.

  19. Adriana Coman

    Feb 6, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    How do I become a part of this suit? Does anyone know?

    • Brandy Arnold

      Feb 7, 2018 at 8:39 am

      I would recommend contacting the attorneys handling the case. Contact information is at the top of the filed document (right here: https://ca-media.classaction.org/pdf/zakinov-v-blue-buffalo-pet-products.pdf )

      • Lara

        Mar 25, 2018 at 1:26 pm

        Mine got liver disease my vet said it had to have been something she had eaten that was either rotten or bad for her she was diagnosed with a disease simaler to coushings passed in September. It was so big it was pushing on her other organs and it had holes eaten within it. Could lead do that? She had been on Blue Buffalomost her life.

  20. Brenda

    Jan 24, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    How can I find an update to this widely publicized lawsuit that ALLEGES there is lead in Blue dog food? As it is, people, and even some vets, are running with the claim as if it is absolutely true. This is the only article I have found that emphasizes no judgment has yet been made. If I need to change dog foods, then I will once again try to find out the best for my pups. They’ve all had accusations at one time or another. So frustrating.

    • Traci Hill

      Jan 26, 2018 at 11:41 am

      We have only had our 2 rescue dogs for a year and only feed them Blue Buffalo Chicken for small breeds.For the past 2 months we couldn’t figure out why they “all of a sudden” won’t eat hardly anything and their stool has been lose for about a month. Sleeping ALL the time, even the puppy. You can bet we are getting our furbabies tested for lead poisoning! I think you should re-think your stupid comment!!!

      • HungryJack

        Mar 23, 2018 at 4:02 pm

        Maybe its the chicken because of the feed given to the chickens. The life source bits are the same across all flavors of Blue Buffalo. If only chicken and turkey flavors are problems then the feed given to the poultry could be the real problem. Try another flavor and see how that works. No one would really want to kill off their customers.

  21. Sgolis

    Dec 14, 2017 at 3:37 am

    I have fed my cats and dogs this food and cats all developed cystitis, and one cat had kidney failure. I had no idea it was due to the food. My one cat died from urine blockage, got sick when I was at work and rushed him to Veterinarian but it was too late. It is very bad that they make the consumer think that if they love their pets then they should feed them BB, toxic food.

  22. Josh

    Dec 6, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    We just found out last night that our cat has kidney failure. The vet gives her a week. She is only 9 years old. We have 3 other animals that have been fed Blue Buffalo for years and we are fearful that they could be sick soon as well. We stopped feeding them Blue Buffalo about a month ago after seeing claims such as these, but it was too late for our girl. Don’t let this company take your loved ones. Stop supporting them.

  23. Lianne Johnson

    Nov 22, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I have been feeding my 2 Pomeranians Blue Wilderness Chicken Recipe for Small Breed Adult Dogs for over 5 years and my older dog had xrays at the vet (for a problem with his leg) and they found 7 stones in his bladder and he had to have emergency surgery. I am now curious as to if this was due to this Blue Wilderness food! Breaks my heart to think that I try to find the best food for my furbabies and end up giving them something that does more harm than good! 🙁

  24. Dawn fleischer

    Oct 22, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    I've been using blue buffollo 4 2 years now I wanted my dog 2 put litte weight on but……still hasn't happened.

  25. Lorrie McCarty

    Oct 17, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    My boy has been on blue buffalo basic for adults since he was brought home then this last November started having seizures for no known reason nothing in the family. And we had an MRI done on hom and a spinal tap everything normal well he is gone now because his last seizure last 16 minutes and agter he couldnt hear us or see us. He was my best friend my partner in crime and my service dog. If this is true SHAME ON YOU. I thought it was my fault but you guys did this i killed my dog because of you people. I will never buy anything from you again amd I will shout it from the top of anywhere to not buy any of your products

  26. Matt

    Oct 10, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    This seriously concerns me, I have been feeding Blue Wilderness for almost 4yrs now, none of the chicken recipes, however i am presently at a loss as to whether i should continue feeding it, and if not, what to switch to????

  27. eric

    Oct 6, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    my dog died last year and she was only 5 years old

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