A vet passed this info along to me and I did some checking and wanted to pass it along to you. There is no recall and Nutro insists their food is fine but Consumer Affairs is getting an awful lot of complaints and with just a little searching, I’m finding there are probably many, many more not even making it onto the Consumer Affairs website. There complaints are recent and many are from people who have been using NUTRO for years. Not every dog or cat eating NUTRO is experiencing problems but there are enough problems and complaints to be concerned, especially if you are feeding your pet NUTRO and they have become sick and you can’t figure out why.
From Consumer Affairs article dated April 18, 2008
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, ConsumerAffairs.com 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.”
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, 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 ConsumerAffairs.com 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 ConsumerAffairs.com.
“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.”
Some of the specific complaints
Barry of Midlothian VA (05/05/08)
I have fed our 13 yr old mixed breed dog Nutro Lamb and Rice for several years. About a year ago we switched to their Chicken and Rice product for Sensitive Stomachs because our dog was occasionally vomiting and had very soft bowel movements. The condition persisted even after switching to the Sensitive Stomach formula but we continued with it anyway.
In the past two weeks she had became lethargic, lost her appetite, losing body weight, and her condition in general seemed to be declining. She also has had several bouts of muscle/joint pain in her right front leg and has been limping severely.
This week I happened upon your web site and the info about problems with Nutro dog food. Many of the pet owner’s experiences were similar to mine so I switched to another brand of food. My dog showed marked improvement within 24 hours. Today, she eats vigorously, her bowel movements are firmer, and she has perked up noticably. She couldn’t go for a walk yesterday but walked with me tonight from 2 miles without any problem or limping. I am going to take the Nutro food I purchased last week back to Petsmart for a refund and will never use Nutro products again. I am convinced there is something wrong with the food I purchased.
Christy of Waterford MI (05/04/08)
May 2008 Our dog Maya ( a 3 year old bichon mix) became very sick from a new bag of Nutro DRY dog food Lamb and Rice. She was throwing up, eating grass, diarehea, bad gas, and not eating. Her stool and throw up started getting some blood in it. We took her to the vet and she had blood tests in which her protien levels were very low.The vet immediately put her on an IV and had us handfeed her boiled chicken and cottage cheese over the next couple of days. She started to feel better and a week later we tryed to reintroduce her to the Nutro dog food – and she started to get sick again. We stopped feeding her the dog food and she got better. We are now feeding her baby food and chicken and cottage cheese with a multivitiman. We do not trust the dog food companys anymore. We thought we were buying her premium food only to find out we were lied to and our dogs health put in jeapordy.
Lin of Fresno CA (04/30/08)
Everyone, please do your research regarding the Nutro products and make your own educated decisions. I have recently learned that: 1. Nutro has changed their formula 2. They could be using different suppliers. 3. They were purchased by Mars, Inc. 4. Mars Inc. also purchased Menu Foods. If you dogs are getting sick, have it vet checked and have tests run. Have the food tested by an independent lab, and send samples to Nutro for comparison testing, as I have done.Find an alternative food to use until the situation is corrected for you pets. Most of all, stay in touch with the rep you contact. Remember, the sticky wheel gets the most attention! Keep in mind, too, that most companies will not volunteer information unless you ask the right question. I have to keep probing to get the answers I seek. I stress…. DO YOUR RESEARCH! Don’t just post complaints. Have your facts in hand when you place your calls.
This is only a few of the dozens of complaints. You can read them all HERE.