Complaint / review text:
Me to Nutro on 1/16/13: We have been using Nutro for years to feed our Chinese Crested, and he loved it. On 1/9/13 we needed to buy more, and the bag states new and improved. On the 12th, our 10-year old, who was previously healthy, was so sick that we had to put him to sleep. At that time, we were stunted because he had been fine. Just to note, his last vet appointment was in November. On 1/14/13, our 9-month old Chinese Crested started vomiting blood. We were blessed that after two days of treatment she is doing better.
The only change that we can think of was the food, Nutro Natural Choice for Toy Breeds. I called Nutro, and the representative said that the only change to the formula was added flavor (green tea and spearmint extracts). They are sending us a sample kit to test the food, and we are having a copy of the veterinarian report faxed to them for both dogs. Unfortunately, from our conversation, I got the feeling they are used to this kind of phone calls. There really was no compassion what so ever, just a lot of questions.
Nutro to me on 1/17/13: "Hi Brian. We are truly sorry for the loss of your wonderful Joe. Our condolences go out to your beautiful Lily for the loss of her best friend too. The Customer Relations Team truly is concerned and is trying to assist you in the best manner possible. We have elevated your feedback and are trying to ensure you are given the support and assistance you need in every way. Please also feel free to contact [email protected] so that we may continue to communicate with you."
Me to Nutro on 1/17/13: "Thank you for the condolences on our loss of Joe. As sad as we are at his sudden departure, we are equally saddened at the idea that this could happen again. We are more than willing to assist with any information you may need. Our veterinarian should have faxed their information for both Joe and Lily to you yesterday. As soon as I receive the sample kit, I will insure that it is promptly sent back to you. I know your company’s desire is to provide safe and quality products. That is why we have happily used them for years. When Joe suddenly became deathly ill, we were devastated. We would have done anything and spent any amount of money to save Joe. Unfortunately, his body was quickly shutting down. Then less than 48 hours later, Lily was ill. We immediately began to think of what could be causing this, and the only change that there has been was the purchase of a new bag of Nutro from Pet Smart. Thankfully, after two days of fluids and medication, Lily is doing better. I only wish we could have had the same result with Joe. Thank you for your assistance in this matter."
Me to Nutro on 1/24/13: With the sudden death of Joe and the illness of Lily, I have been doing a lot of research. It really bothers me to know that I may have fed them something that caused this. That morning, Joe’s symptoms, when we woke up, were vomiting, labored breathing, some body swelling, grey tongue, and he could not stand. The vet stated that the test revealed kidney failure, anemia, high glucose levels, and he had bloody diarrhea while they had him in another room for testing. Lily was vomiting blood and had black stool. These sure sounds like the symptoms listed below.
Studies of green tea extracts/supplements on rats and dogs caused kidney, liver, and GI toxicity (suffice it to say, liver and kidney cells were dying ugly deaths and there was bleeding in the GI tract). Toxicity and blood levels in dogs were much higher if they took the green tea on an empty stomach. The blood level effect is the same in people, which leads me to. It seems that green tea extracts can have added health benefits, but they can also have health risk to dogs as well. All I can honestly say is that I truly believe that if it’s not the green tea extract, then something in that bag of dog food caused this issue for us. It has only been a week, but I have not received the sample kit nor have I had any other communication from them.
On 1/4/13: I contacted Nutro today and they have received my sample kit. The representative informed me that it has been turned over to their insurance company, and they will be contacting me. We have an appointment on the 8th with our local NBC affiliate to discuss our situation.
On 1/5/13: I just got off the phone with Liberty Mutual, Nutro’s insurance company. The food was tested and compared to a sample from the batch they save during manufacturing, and it came back normal (normal smell, normal consistency). I have to ask, “Are dogs dying the new normal? ” What I found odd was that if the tests were normal, then why was I asked if household cleaners could have gotten into the food, or if the bag had a hole/rip in it when we purchased it from Petsmart. I’m assuming to imply that something could have gotten into the food between manufacturing and our purchase of it for our home. Our food is stored in a plastic container with a top that seals it closed as it has been for years. I was asked if we walk our dogs on a leash and if we always watch them when they go outside. Since our dogs are hairless, we do not walk them during cold months and yes, we do watch them when they go outside in our fenced backyard. Why? They do not have hair, and they hate the cold. Therefore, we have to make sure they do their business outside, so they don’t do it inside.
Lily, our puppy, ate 3 of the valentine candies on the 13th when they were spilled, and it seems that the Nutro’s veterinarian was wondering if this could have been the issue. However, they were bought after Joe’s death so he did not eat any, and he died on Saturday. The Nutro’s veterinarian also thought Lily’s illness could be because we had her spade 10 days before. She had no fever or pain and was fine. Nothing was mentioned of what their vet thought about Joe’s cause of sudden system failure. The Liberty Mutual representative stated that because of the test, they could not compensate me because the food tested normal. I informed them that I have not once ever asked for compensation and truly never expected it. After all, would that mean there is a problem?
They are to give my feedback to Nutro and follow up with me in 3 to 5 business days. My feedback was for them not to mislead consumers into thinking they are buying a true US product, especially when some of the ingredients may be coming from foreign countries, such as New Zealand, etc. I wonder where New Zealand gets the protein source for Nutro. Could it be China? Honestly, I do not know. But If I buy a car, I know what percent of that car has parts from different countries even if it was made in Detroit. It should be considered false advertising to market and sell a product as a product of the US when it may contain materials of foreign origin.
Also, my goal is not to be compensated but to spread awareness of the possibility that history is repeating itself again (remember 2009). When I first looked at the Nutro Consumer Affairs Complaints in January, there were 1272 complaints; today there are 1294. That’s 22 more complaints in 20 days, but that is not a problem. If you choose to use Nutro, please watch for vomiting, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, black stool, extreme thirst, and inability to stand or walk. These are the symptoms that I noticed in one or both of my dogs.