Is Purina’s Beneful Dog Food Killing Dogs?

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benefulIn the human food industry, there are laws against calling something healthy when it’s not. There are regulations against deceitful packaging and outright lies to consumers.

There are no such laws and regulations in the dog food industry.

That’s right, a manufacturer can fill a bag with massive amounts of sugars, animal by-products, and fillers, label the food as healthy and nutritious, cover the bag with photos of vibrant, happy dogs surrounded by fresh meats and vegetables and sell millions of bags to unsuspecting consumers that believe they’re doing right by their dog.

Such is the case with Purina’s Beneful line of dog food. Here’s how Beneful describes their Original flavor kibble:

Beneful® brand Dog Food Original helps keep your dog happy and healthy with a perfect balance of healthful ingredients, quality nutrition and superb taste. It’s made with wholesome grains and real beef, and accented with vitamin-rich vegetables.

The only truthful part of this statement is the superb taste. And that’s only because the manufacturer sprays the food with rendered animal fats, making it irresistible to hungry dogs.

In truth, the number one ingredient in all of Beneful’s recipes is corn, a commonly-used filler that provides very little nutrition to dogs. In addition to providing little nutritional value, corn has a high glycemic index, raising your dog’s blood sugar, and is not easily digested by dogs.

The next ingredient in this so-called “healthy food” is chicken by-product meal. This is essentially the waste that’s left over after the good meat has been removed: feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs, and organs (the only nutritious part of by-product) that are “unfit for human consumption.”

Third ingredient in their food is corn gluten meal. Glutens are an inferior source of protein behind meat by-products. Using corn gluten meal in their food allows Beneful to show a higher protein content on their bag, making it appear to be a higher quality food.

It’s not until the seventh ingredient that we finally reach beef. But, since beef is 80% water, when it is cooked down, it only amounts to a small percentage of it’s pre-cooked weight, meaning it could belong much further down the list of ingredients.

As if these reasons alone aren’t enough to avoid this product altogether, dog owners are now claiming that Purina’s Beneful is killing their dogs.

You’ll remember that Purina is the manufacturer of the Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch chicken jerky treats imported from China that have been investigated since 2007, only now being recalled after illegal drug residue was found in the treats.

Are they using the same Chinese factories responsible for nearly 500 dog deaths and thousands of illnesses to manufacture their foods, too?

Since October of 2012 until now, 229 complaints have been made against Beneful dog food to Consumer Affairs.

Dog owners are reporting such illnesses as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, lethargy, weight loss, and seizures after only a few meals of Beneful dog food. Other, less-frequent complaints, have reported bloat (a life-threatening condition in dogs), liver failure, kidney failure, and even death.

According to a report by The Examiner, veterinarians have reported bacterial infections, liver and kidney failure and high toxins in pets that have been brought in related to Beneful dog food illnesses.

Clearly, Purina is ignoring the complaints by consumers (just as they did for over 5 years with their chicken jerky treats) and, as of yet, there is no FDA recall or warning on these products.

It is up to us, the consumers and dog owners, to stop supporting brands that don’t put our pet’s health and well-being at the forefront of their company mission. If we collectively take a stand against brands known for poor nutrition, questionable ingredients, and deceitful packaging, they will eventually be forced to change.

How many more dogs have to suffer because of an industry that allows them to?

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When I adopted my shepherd mix, Molly, from a local shelter 12 years ago, I had no idea the impact she would have on my life. Through Molly, I've learned to be more patient, experienced unconditional love, been alerted to the mailman and every squirrel within a block radius of the house, and ingested enough fur to build 3 or 4 more dogs! When I lost Molly to cancer just a few months ago, I adopted Olive, a 13 week old Golden Retriever. Together, we smile at least a hundred times a day!


  1. One thing this report is missing is the fact that corn triggers an alergic attack on dogs by releasing large amounts of histamine into their bodies, frequently leading to mast cell tumors (those baseball sized lumps of fat that your vet keep dismissing as “just a fatty tumor”. Mast cell tumors almost always become malignant and fatal.

  2. I am wondering what qualifies you to make statements about the quality of ingredients. I did not see any DVM, VMD, PhD, or other abbreviations after your name indicating you have any qualifying education.

    • You call yourself Dr. Bob yet we don’t see a shingle proving you’re not just a web troll going around telling people he has a PHD when really he doesn’t even have a GED.

  3. Been feeding my 8 year old golden retriever beneful for the past couple of months due to financial problems. This morning everything was fine and 2 hours later we were rushing him to the vet. Vet said he had Bloat in his stomach
    Sadly a few hours later he passed away. I am now wondering if the food did this to him

  4. Can someone please tell me if the wet food also affects them? My dog has started throwing up because of it and I don’t know if that’s a side effect or not!!!!

  5. We have been feeding my pup of 5 months beneful for puppies and he is now having severe seizures. I’ve taken him off of it and started cooking for him. I am hoping he will recover from this.

  6. Iam at a total loss for words I have been using Beneful for 2 years and my Shitzu and my Lab love it BUT….. We Have been seeing some of these symptoms especially in our Kingsly our Shitzu Lethargy Vomiting we recently had to do a emergency Surgery on him as he was not getting blood flow to his Uretha and became strangulated very expensive but we Love our Animals and we will go with out before they do I pulled The Beneful from their Diets as of Today 10/20/15 I Will be Looking into this as I Also Have training in Quality Assurnce and being deceived is not what I will stand for WHY,,,,, would people allow this it sickens me to the core and I will send this to all people in my realm that truly do the best to love and get the best of everything for their Animal Signed Karla Watson Pleasanton Kansas

  7. I am desperately trying to find more information about what is going on with the suit. My wife and I read about it in May after noticing problems that 1 of our 2 dogs was experiencing at the time. After removing the Beneful from both of their diets, the problems our dog was experiencing went away within a week. Yesterday, October 8th, 2015, the 2nd of our 2 dogs(the one NOT experiencing problems initially), died in my arms. She exhibited every symptom reported by others the day prior, she died before we could get her into the vet. This was my wife’s service dog, a valued family member, and quite honestly, my best friend. I’m broken on the inside. Any information whatsoever would be appreciated. My son and I have cried for 2 days straight, it was all so unexpected. He would like to know more as well. Thank you in advance, Sean(Broken Heart)

  8. I knew about beneful, and quit feeding my dogs immediately, went to science diet. Well, read this i was stocking up for winter, because i live far away from town, i got robitussin cough med and though i would try another brand, familly wellnes. I was compairing the ingredients and low and behold, both contained propylene glycol, (antifreeze). Needless to say i am returning both and will in the future read before i buy.

  9. I have seen my share of others pets die from kidney problems & most are from excessive treats. Those treats are packed with things that taste good to dogs but are very much to blame for kidney problems. I have fed Beneful for over ten years to my 5 dogs currently & i have had about 10 dogs over past 20 yrs. All have lived to great ages of 15 to 20 yrs . none have died of anything other than old age. I am not advocating using Baneful just stating a fact that i can show.

    • Mark, You have been lucky, I had fed my dog Beneful for a long time, but once she got sick she was gone in a week, with the same symptoms as the other Beneful victims. The incidence is about one in a thousand, so do the math.

      • I don’t know if it is related but both my dogs have/had mammary cancer ( breast chain) beneful since it came out, switched to Iams this year

  10. I lost my 6 year old part Border Collie who was on a Purina Beneful Original diet in April. In the past 3 months I have made many calls to the Purina customer service dept., the first being the day after my dog died, the last was 3 days ago. I have explained to them that I have an extensive background in QA in the food industry and cannot believe that the number of complaints they have received since the beginning go 2012 has not set off alarms in their QA department and that these would have been brought to the attention of management. They have refused my requests to speak with anyone beyond their Customer service Dept. , only referring me to their Third party Claims company. In the past 3 months I have researched their problem, identified probable causes and ingredients that can result in illnesses and deaths consistent with the hundreds being reported. Purins is not interested in knowing any of this and sticks with their mantra, “We stand behind our product”. The consequences of this reluctance to even listen will result in loss of brand name, recall of products, loss of sales, litigation expenses, payments to all customers adversely affected and the expense of rebuilding their damaged brand. What an arrogant and unethical company.

  11. Our black lab was just diagnosed with kidney failure. She ate beneful for YEARS. We started to notice her acting sick about 4 months ago and we stopped using beneful. After about a week of discontinued use, she was a new dog. Galloping around, prancing and jumping like a puppy (she is 11 years old). For the past two weeks she hasn’t been eating, we’ve tried everything. Today she is diagnosed with kidney failure and we are devasted. I do believe eating that crap caused this. Poor Molly. If we had only known. The only bright side is out lab mix is only 2 and we found out early enough that hopefully this won’t have a long term effect on him. :(

  12. My parents’ bichon friese all of a sudden started peeing blood. Diagnosis: kidney stones. Had to have surgery to have them removed. Cause: dyes in the dog food little Bella was being fed. Dogfood: Beneful.

  13. DO NOT LISTEN TO “Experts” about dog food . SUCH AS YOUR VET. Because……
    I have a min pin 8 years old now and unfortunately he been eating vengeful probably at Least 5 years of beneful. It was only recently I adopted to check online about dig food reviews and such. And got him a new one . Forgot the name but it was all brown and very pricey.
    But here’s the kicker now. My own Vet told me beneful was “fine”. He has had multiple times if hair falling out and having to go on antibiotics to cure it. Do not feed him beneful or anything Purina. Recently Purina pro life. Aired a commercial about how ” Purina pro life plan” can within 30 days improve your dogs mood. Since it was marketed for older dogs and the commercial used ” real customers” who were seniors they really made it look good. But given that beneful is not the first time they messed up with healthy food. I would recommend you check online reviews and forums as this one. “Word online” is the new ” word on the street news”. It’s always more reliable than any official source

  14. So what should I feed my dogs one only wants beneful she goes on a hunger strike if I try anything else!

    • I have the same problem! My dog will NOT eat anything else I have tried…wet or dry! (and I’ve literally tried 15 or 20 different kinds that my groomer, vet, friends, etc. have recommended.)
      The only thing I can get him to eat now is boiled chicken.
      However, my dog is a pomeranian with long and extremely think hair… It all started falling out in patches and his skin was very dry and turned dark. My groomer told me about Purina Beneful and all the problems it was causing and I immediately threw it away.
      I have had him off of it (and anything else with propylene glycol) for several months now. His hair has grown back and his skin is getting better.
      Im SURE now that it was his food… I had spent 100’s of dollars trying to figure out what was causing his problems before I found out about Purine Beneful.
      It’s a pain in the butt to have to boil chicken every couple of days for my dog, but I definitely will not be giving him anything Purina makes ever again; he means the world to me and his health is certainly worth the trouble!


      • My dogs liked it and were the same way. It is filled with sugar, and they like it, and their body relies on it as an addiction, just like in our bodies. They may not eat for a few days, they will get over it.

  15. I do not think that people are necessarily at fault, they are just uninformed. My mother is older and she got her first dog for companionship. She does not use google!!! She watches TV and reads the news paper and according to the adds Beneful is GREAT!! so she bought it. Her dog started to vomit and I just happened to visit her. I seen what dog food she had and immediately threw it away and bought her Neutra brand. Imediately he stopped and he is just fine. But he wouldn’t have been and she just didn’t have any idea. She thought she was doing him good. My Best Friend called me one day and her dog started having seizures, I went over there to pick the dog up and take him to the vet for her because she couldn’t leave. I noticed she had a bag of Beneful, I told her to google it and she did. She was SURPRISED to say the least, she had no idea. She is not an animal person she got her son a dog because he wanted one like every child. She thought she was giving the dog good food becasue the commercials said so. She also had no idea what by-products were or that corn and corn gluten were bad! She actually seen corn and stopped reading because she thought it was full of veggies! She switched to Neutra also and he is just fine now. People are misinformed about these false advertisemetns and they are being lied to and it is NOT THEIR FAULT!! IT IS PURINA’S FAULT!!

  16. I’ve been feeding my animals Purina for years with no issues. I don’t feed them cheap food. I check with my vet because the internet has good and bad information from people I don’t know but feel like they’re experts. I know my vet and he knows my animals.

    • Hate to say it, but Purina products are classed as a ‘cheap’ food. Check out http://www.dogfood Any dog food that has corn ad the first ingredient, is garbage. I’ve done research for 6 years now. Your vet probably gets discounts or free product from Purina, and that’s why the recommend it to their clients.