There has been a surge in online complaints in recent months by pet owners who believe their dogs fell ill or even died after eating Pedigree dry dog food. Pedigree says their food is safe and points out that no recall has been issued... yet complaints persist. What's the story here?
Social Media Post
The current Pedigree safety debate began with a viral post by a dog owner whose pet fell ill after consuming the product. That post stated the following:
“FOOD WARNING! This is HUGE – a post I saw that exposes a deadly threat if you use Pedigree dry food… and I sincerely hope you don’t. Please read & heed!!!
IF THERE IS A CHEMIST WHO CAN HELP, I HAVE THIS BAG OF PEDIGREE DOG FOOD THAT KILLED MY DOGS, AND NEED TO KNOW WHAT POISON WAS IN THERE. OH YES, I AM ANGRY. PEDIGREE DRY DOG FOOD WOULD BE MY ANSWER.. 271 COMPLAINTS 2013 ONLINE.. SYMPTOMS SIMILAR TO PARVO. VOMIT YELLOW BILE, LETHARGIC, THEN JUST BEFORE DEATH, BLOOD FROM ANAL. JUST LOST MY PRECIOUS DOGS… HAPPENED SO FAST, WITHIN 48 HOURS. TAINTED BAG OF PEDIGREE DRY SMALL BREED FORMULA IN MY CASE. EPIDEMIC. BUYER BEWARE. NO RECALL. IF THIS HAPPENED IN YOUR FAMILY, GET WORD OUT AS THERE IS NO RECALL. I AM HIRING AN ATTORNEY.”
Such all-caps social media posts are often baseless, fake warnings without any details or substantiation. In fact, this post has been accompanied by an unrelated photo of a poisoned dog, taken back in 2011. There are few specifics in the post, and the claims have not been proven.
Pedigree even responded to the message above.
On August 14, Pedigree issued the following statement in response to the message above:
August 14, 2013
Since August 7th, a post alleging the PEDIGREE® Brand is responsible for the death of two dogs in the Tampa, Florida area has been circulating on Facebook. Like you, we were concerned to hear about this and we’d like to share with you what we know.
Here are the facts:
The safety and well-being of pets is our top priority and we take every consumer inquiry seriously. We’ve been in contact with the consumer and we are continuing to fully investigate the situation.
Our production records for the consumer’s product met all of our stringent quality standards. This is in addition to the more than 600 quality checks we perform in our factories each day, and why we have no reason to believe our food played any role in this unfortunate situation.
The emotional and disturbing photo associated with this post is not a picture of the consumer’s dog. In fact, this photo was shared by an individual unrelated to the situation and was taken more than two years ago. The dog in the photo is unrelated to this situation and unrelated to our food. Like you, we are disheartened to see this photo cause confusion among our dog-loving community but we’re glad to report that the dog in the photo is doing fine. Click here to see where this photo originated.
Consumers can continue to feed Pedigree to their dogs. We are confident that our food is safe and we feed it to our own pets.
At Pedigree, we’re for all dogs. We encourage any consumer who has additional concerns to contact us directly at 1-800-525-5273 M-F 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT, contact us through our Web site or direct message us on Facebook.
Pedigree has been in contact with the owner, the photo is fake, the claims were unsubstantiated, and Pedigree is still safe. End of story. Right?
While the all-caps post circulating on Facebook includes an unrelated photo and unsubstantiated claims, some have pointed to a sharp increase in complaints at Consumer Affairs regarding Pedigree dog food.
The number of complaints regarding Pedigree on Consumer Affairs did, in fact, seen a notable increase in mid-2013:
- November: 19 complaints
- October: 18
- September: 23
- August: 48
- July: 14
- June 9
- May: 10
- April: 8
- March: 5
- February: 5
- January: 3
The number of complaints suddenly skyrocketed in August 2013. The the following three months, the complaints were less than August, but still at a much higher rate than before that date.
An article on NaturalNews entitled “Pedigree dog food may be endangering your pet, yet no recall despite over 300 complaints from customers” claims that there have been “hundreds of complaints in recent days” at Consumer Affairs. This is incorrect. At that point there had been 97 complaints in 2013, and just over 300 in total, dating back to 2007. Despite this factual error, there is a lengthy and lively discussion among commenters regarding the experiences of dog owners who have recently fed Pedigree to their dogs.
Dog Food Advisor
This exhaustive website rates Pedigree dry dog food 1 out of 5 stars, describing it as a “below-average dry dog food” and “not recommended.” The site includes hundreds of comments related to Pedigree, mostly negative.
Pedigree Facebook Page
Some consumers commented on Pedigree’s Facebook page, claiming that the food sickened or even killed their pets. Pedigree has typically responded with a cut-and-paste answer, which has done little to appease upset pet owners. A typical response reads:
The safety and well-being of pets is our top priority, which is why our food is manufactured in our own factories where we perform more than 600 quality checks each day. We assure you our dog food is safe. We encourage any consumer who has additional concerns to contact us directly at 1-800-525-5273 M-F 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT or direct message us.
Though there appears to be no connection, some dog owners have pointed out the timing of the rash of Pedigree complaints with a voluntary recall issued by Procter & Gable recently. Some lots of Eukanuba and Iams dry dog foods were recalled due to a salmonella risk. Pedigree is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated and has no connection to Procter & Gamble.
What to do
If you believe your pet has been adversely affected by pet food, take your dog to a veterinarian. Keep the packaging for any food in question and file a report at the The Safety Reporting Portal. You will want to take note of the food name and lot number.
There appears to be an increase in complaints regarding Pedigree dry dog food since mid-2013, but the cause for such a surge isn’t clear. It is also unclear if the original viral message regarding Pedigree has been substantiated.
Have you had problems with Pedigree dry dog food in recent weeks?
- Pedigree Dry Dog Food (Mike Sagman, Dog Food Advisor: Updated April 7, 2012)
- Pedigree dog food may be endangering your pet, yet no recall despite over 300 complaints from customers (Jonathan Benson, NaturalNews: August 20, 2013)
- P&G Voluntarily Recalls Limited Quantity of Dry Pet Food Due to Possible Health Risk (FDA: August 14, 2013)
- Pedigree (Facebook Page)
- Pedigree Pet Foods (Consumer Affairs)
Updated December 2, 2013