Wednesday, April 30, 2008

String of Illnesses Affects Nutro-fed Pets

String of Illnesses Afflicts NUTRO-Fed Pets
Company insists its food is '100% safe'

By Lisa Wade McCormick

April 18, 2008
• Consumer Complaints
A worrisome health trend among dogs and cats across the country has surfaced in the past few months. Scores of pets from California to South Carolina have experienced sudden and recurring bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive problems.

Through an examination of reports submitted by readers, has uncovered a common link among these pets: They all ate the same brand of food: NUTRO pet food.

In all of the cases we've examined, the animals' conditions improved once their owners switched them to another brand of food.

"I've been feeding my chocolate Lab, Indy, NUTRO for almost four years," said Laura F. of Las Vegas, Nevada. "He's always been happy, healthy, and big. Recently I switched him to NUTRO (Natural Choice) Lite at my vet's request. Three weeks ago, he started vomiting uncontrollably."

Laura said her veterinarian initially thought Indy had pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas. The vet prescribed some medication and Indy's condition gradually improved.

"Now, three weeks later, he started vomiting again," she said, adding she continued to feed her dog NUTRO. "He's now lost about 8 pounds in three weeks and is weak and lethargic.

"The vet believes -- as do I -- that it is the food," she said.

Laura switched brands of dog food and Indy's health improved. After a while, Laura tried mixing in the NUTRO with the new food. But that turned out to be a bad idea.

"The vomiting started again," Laura said. "I also noticed that he only ate about half his food and was actually dropping the NUTRO out and trying to only eat the Science Diet. I think even my dog knows there is something wrong with the NUTRO food.

"I will never feed any of my pets NUTRO again."

Similar stories
We've heard similar stories and sentiment from scores of pet owners nationwide -- many of whom are loyal NUTRO customers. We've also heard from a pet store employee, who noticed these same digestive problems with her clients' pets that ate NUTRO products.

A pet owner in South Carolina told us that she found foreign objects in her last few bags of NUTRO foods.

And a disabled woman in California said all these pets' health problems have given her a horrible sense of déjà vu. Her service dog, she said, experienced these same digestive problems a few years ago – after eating NUTRO food.

"I would not venture to give any pet one nugget of NUTRO food after what my dog went through," said Maggie D. of San Francisco.

NUTRO responds
NUTRO, however, defended its products.

A spokeswoman told us she is unaware of any substantiated medical problems like these linked to her company's pet food.

Many NUTRO customers also tout the food, saying it's an excellent product. Veterinarians told that many factors can cause gastrointestinal problems in dogs and cats, including changes in diet, newly-developed sensitivities to pet food, or viral infections.

But scores of pet owners who've contacted us are convinced that something is now wrong with NUTRO's food.

They're pet owners like Lynn C. of Cabot, Arkansas.

"I've used NUTRO for years and never had any problems," she told us. "But my 10-year-old border collie, Boo, became sick six weeks ago. He was lethargic, lost weight, and when evaluated by a veterinarian, his liver enzymes were critical. They were elevated…off the chart. My vet said we've got to do something.

"She put him on antibiotics and a strong amino acid, but he continued to deteriorate."

A week into Boo's treatment, a co-worker told Lynn about problems she'd read about regarding NUTRO's pet food.

"I had never dreamed it could be the food," she said. "I'm feeding all four of my dogs the food, so why all of the sudden would it affect Boo? The other three are still thriving. But they're younger—and he's the smallest dog."

Lynn did some digging and found the complaints filed by pet owners on

"I was shocked at the information that I found on NUTRO," she said. "I faxed pages and pages of this information to my veterinarian, who became alarmed and told me to stop feeding him the NUTRO."

Within days, Boo's condition improved.

"He started acting like he felt better," Lynn said. "It's amazing. He wasn't responding until I took him off the NUTRO food. Within a week, he had regained two pounds, and after two weeks, his liver enzymes were still high, but improving.

"I cannot explain why this happened all of the sudden since Boo has been eating this food for years. But I know my dog and I know it was the food."

Another pet owner in the small town of Cabot, Arkansas, who shows Westies, said her dogs experienced the same problems with NUTRO's food.

"I started using NUTRO Natural Choice for my show dogs last fall," said Judy Y., who has fed dogs NUTRO on and off for years. "With the last two bags my dogs started to lose weight and their stools were extremely soft. One litter had constant diarrhea. They were losing weight, their coats were not in the condition they should be. And after they ate, they would suck up water like they hadn't had any all day.

"The only dog I wasn't having problems with was the old dog that can only eat raw meat, no dog food at all."

Judy also noticed that one of her puppies wasn't growing.

"She was growing fine until I put her on NUTRO," Judy said. "And then it was like she just stopped growing. She looked like she had been starved and her coat looked real bad."

Judy's vet examined the dogs -- and their stools -- and didn't find any problems.

"So I said the heck with the commercial dog food and I started feeding all my dogs raw food," Judy said. "They've all bounced back. They have all gained weight and their hair is growing again."

The only exception is the puppy that had growth problems.

"My puppy is 10 months old now and her growth seems to be stunted," Judy said. "I have never had this happen in the 40 years I have been showing and breeding dogs. I'm not sure this show quality puppy will now get big enough to show or breed. It is so heart breaking to see such a good quality dog not live up to her potential because of a dog food."

There is more to the article at the above link.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

4 Types of Dog Vomit

The Four Types of Dog Vomit
Author Unknown


Dog runs around the house and hides under furniture while making a prolonged "uurka-guurka, uurka-guurka" noise (the only noise guaranteed to wake up a dog lover who is hungover from a 3:30am post-dog-show celebration) . After a mad scramble to capture the dog and drag him outside, the episode ends with an indelible line of slimy yellow froth from the living room rug to the back door.


Dog exercises hard and

a) eats large mouthfuls of snow (winter blap disease) or

b) drinks a bucket of water (summer blap disease).

Within two minutes of returning inside the dog spews out large amounts of clear, slimy liquid, making a distinctive "blap" sound and sharp percussive noise as it hits the linoleum.


Dog suddenly clears his throat with loud and dramatic "gggark, gggark" noises, followed by a prolonged "iiksss" and then loud, satisfied smacking noises. There is nothing on the rug. Don't investigate, you don't want to know.


Apropos of nothing, the dog strolls into the dining room and waits 'til the innocent dinner guests are all watching him. Then, with a single deep gut-wrenching "raaaallff", disgorges the entire week's contents of his stomach on the rug. Variation: he eats it.

In all of the above events, the dog is entirely healthy and indeed, deeply pleased with himself.

The boys playing with papa Cooter up in the storage area

They were helping me clean, can't you tell?

I called the nearby kitty, but she looked at me and said, "No thanks. Those boys have too much energy."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Does this make her a pocket pug?

I was feeding Little Bit (Millie) out on the front porch this morning in the beautiful morning air when something came up. As I was talking with some folks, she started to get cold and shake, so I put her in my sweatshirt to keep warm. She climbed up on my shoulder, down my sleeve and popped her head out the end so she could keep tabs on everything going on :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

First real day out for Ellie's boys

We've been dabbling with the good weather. Some time on the porch, in the yard and in the gravel (introducing to different textures/surfaces), but today was our first all out big day out. It was gorgeous, the sun was shining, and it probably hit pretty near 70 degrees. Our first stop was an oil change where the boys got proper admiration. The next stop was the reservoir. We weren't near the water, but we had fun in the grass. The adults got a full out run in GREAT BIG circles and got to stretch their legs good. We took pictures until the batteries in my camera died, which unfortunately wasn't very long. Here's a shot of Isabelle followed by Ellie and Jolene in one of their big circles.

Hey - where did my brothers go??

I was starting to edit this next picture, went into the other room to check on supper, and the dogs jumped up on the desk to see what they were missing out on and found the shortcut key for changing the picture to black and white on the keyboard. I kind of liked the effect, so I kept it :)

Geesh... there she is with that camera AGAIN...

The boys romped, played, bit my toes, ate some grass, sniffed some smells, ran in and out of the crate, and had a blast. These boys might be total angels, but even I was pleasantly surprised when they voluntarily all climbed back into the crate at the same time I was ready to pack up and go home. Talk about SMART DOGS!!

Then we went to Mom's house and took a nap. Both me and the dogs! After our nap, we visited the neighbors where the dogs met a pug outside their pack, got lots and lots of hugs and kisses, and were introduced to another toddler. They had an absolute blast, tails wagging full on the whole time. They even managed to steal a bone or two away from the adults. Yes, they were quite proud of themselves and strutted to show it.

It was a great first outing for the boys and I'm so proud of them. They were a little timid at times, but by and large they handled the big old world like pros. It helped having the moms there. Their next outing will have a little time with mom and a little time with just me. We try to give them new exposures and experiences a little at a time so that they know they are safe even if the whole pack isn't there. We eventually wean them down to some one-on-one time and some alone time to help them adjust in a familiar setting before going to a new home.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Updates on Winter, Ellie's Boys and Millie

Wow, that's a big world!!

Winter the Cat

Winter was dropped off here just before Christmas and although Luna, the resident cat, thought two cats were too many for one house, she has since relented and now they seem to be friends. Winter has an appt for her spay in early May and then we will be actively looking to place her in a home. If you know of anyone interested, please let us know! She is snow white and very flirty. She is litterbox trained (although she will kick a bit of litter out the front every now and again), she is friendly and affectionate and hasn't attempted nipping me once for anything I might have done wrong.

Ellie's Boys

If it's possible, they're even more cute today than they were yesterday. Every day is an adventure for these little guys, bringing something new to explore, something new to learn. They're curious, loving, and ever so sweet. Mom came over this past weekend and it was their first day outside. A great, warm spring day. They discovered the shoelaces and the little tab on the back of mom's shoes and they are the new favorite toys. Made for puppies, don't you know?

Ellie and Isabelle have been keeping them fat and happy, so they have been turning up their noses at every weaning food I've offered them. And I offer a 5-star restaurant quality, I'll have you know. But Ellie is thinking about having them try some adult food. She saved part of her chicken quarter the other day and let the boys gnaw on the leg for a while. Same with another piece of meat. I can't say that I've seen them get any meat off the offerings so far, but it gives them a good mental challenge as well as works out some of their nibbling urges. Gives mom's tail a break - lol. Toys only keep their interest half the time!

The boys also found a bowl of kibble while on one of their evening excursions around the house. They jumped in and ate a few bites. So they have a little bowl of Blue Buffalo kibble in their pen if they get hungry between feedings, as well as fresh water. And this morning they had some ground pork with a bit of water, some pro-biotics and some zeo-clear with diatomaceous earth. They gobbled it right up! Now they're working on attacking a stuffed duckie that's the size of two of them put together :)

Ellie has also taught me a few new tricks about mothering. She took the opportunity with the bone to teach them manners. Now I bring the bone to you, now I growl and you back off. Now I bring it to you again, now I growl and you move away. Basically, they are given food at her will and command and they are to respect her space and her wishes, but she will ensure that they are fed and cared for. Both she and Isabelle take their development very seriously. I'm so proud of the little mommas!


Millie has already earned her scouting badge for therapy work. Many a client this tax season has come through the door stressed and worried and left relaxed and calm due to the presence of little Miss Millie. They talk to her, hold her, love her and bottle feed her. She loves the attention. She's the official greeter an therapy dog.

She has her eyes open and is very mobile, but is just now starting to track and see things farther than just in front of her nose. She sleeps through the night and lets me know when she needs to either potty or eat. A very good communicator for her age!

Stay tuned for more updates!