The dog food company Beneful is marketed and manufactured by Nestle Purina and sells dog foods in the dry, wet, treat, and snack varieties. According to their website, Beneful dry dog foods will keep dogs “happy and healthy with a perfect balance of real, wholesome ingredients, quality nutrition and great taste found in Beneful brand dry dog food.” Similarly, the wet foods are made from a variety of chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, and beef, “wholesome ingredients you can see and delicious flavors your buddy is sure to love [and] available in fourteen wholesome varieties to help keep [your dog] happy and healthy!” A quick glance at their packaging, with pictures of corn, meat chunks, carrots, and whole grains immediately puts the consumer at ease that their decision will be a healthy one for their pups. But recent findings suggest that Beneful’s staple products may not be quite as healthy as they purport on their website.
According to a Consumer Affairs report, a “spurt of complaints of the last few months” on their website states that many pets across the U.S. have become seriously ill after eating Beneful products. Some have had seizures, and some have died after eating the product. Many complaints on the Consumer Affairs website have had cases involving vomiting, diarrhea, and lengthy and expensive trips to the vet. This is a major blow to the company, and consumers are asked, if their dog falls ill, to save a sample of the food pending ongoing investigations. The company has not yet issued a recall despite these concerns.
Consumers should read food labels to insure the food they are buying fits the standard of health that is right for their pet. Higher quality foods, while more expensive, provide health benefits through higher nutrition. Such foods include good proteins as the first ingredient listed on the label, veggies and fruits, whole grains, and typically avoid corn products and by-products.
Further research on the popular Dog Food Advisor website gives a one star out of five rating for Beneful’s dry food, and only two stars for Beneful’s wet (or tub) food , further damning the company, along with the Consumer Affairs report, from an ingredients perspective.
A review of Beneful Dog Food Original Formula reveals that the food has several controversial ingredients in their product including: ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat, sugar, animal digest, and others. According to the website, corn, the first ingredient, is “an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.” Secondly, the chicken by-products indicate that these items are not fit for human consumption, so why should the consumer’s dog get anything less? Going down the list, the products grow increasingly questionable: “The Beneful dry dog food product contains the controversial food moisturizer, propylene glycol” which has been banned by the FDA in cat food use, but can still be found in mostly lower quality dog foods. Is this the ingredient that is to blame for the illness? No one is sure yet, but the investigation continues. The review ranks Beneful Dog Food Original Formula as a “below-average kibble.”
Dog Food Advisor’s take on Beneful Prepared Meals Roasted Turkey Medley is not that much better. The website gives Beneful a two-star ranking on this product because they are “a meat-based tubbed dog food using a moderate amount of inexpensive meat by-products as its main source of animal protein.”
Overall, pet owners should be cautious giving their pets Beneful products, as they are typically below-average in quality and linked to illnesses. If pet owners notice strange behavior in their pet’s eating habits, regardless of the brand, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite, they should consult their physician immediately. What other companies may be hiding their cost savings at the risk of their true consumers—pets—across the US?
Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet, a website dedicated to helping pet lovers find the all their pet care needs.