Warning: The following article contains graphic images that some readers will find disturbing.
People who enjoy spoiling their pets tend to want to buy them the best of the best. In many cases, pet owners assume that the more expensive a toy, treat or food is, the higher the quality must be.
But that’s not always the case. The dog business is a competitive one, and brands put a lot of time and money into making their labels recognizable and appealing.
Blue Buffalo is a well-known dog food and treat brand that many associate with quality production and ingredients — but according to more than a few dog owners, it can be a death sentence.
Nikki McDonald is one of the most recent dog owners to experience a terrifying ordeal with her large dog Dallas. Like many dogs, Dallas had a little tartar buildup, so she decided to purchase some dental bones for him.
“I grabbed these at Pets Mart on Saturday thinking Blue Buffalo $40 dental ‘bones’ would be good stuff (heathy, holistic, wheat free, no chemical dye) for a bit of tartar buildup,” she shared in a Facebook post on Sunday. “My dog Dallas had one yesterday evening (we supervised him and he chewed it up).”
“Sometime overnight he started throwing up blood (total was 14-18 times before the vet got it under control with meds). I initially wrote it off to a bit of gastro upset and the red in his vomit to the dehydrated beets in it. But he wouldn’t eat chicken and rice and couldn’t even keep water down. Then he started drooling and dragging his feet and then couldn’t even stand.”
They got him to the vet quickly, where tests showed that the dog didn’t have pancreatitis or bowel obstruction, but his stomach was very irritated and his bloodwork was off.
“He’s staying overnight at the vet on IV fluids. Endoscopy showed a lot of damage in his stomach, too much for surgery. We will know more tomorrow.”
“This has been a nightmare,” she continued. “[F]eels so wrong being at home without my dog and I’m beating myself up for not doing my research first like I usually do.”
When McDonald began looking for other similar stories she was shocked to find that there were many others just like hers: People who used the same brand of treats or food rushing their dogs to the vet for bloody vomit. And some of the pets didn’t make it.
While McDonald has not contacted PetSmart yet and Blue Buffalo directed her to their standard claims process, she wanted to get her story out quickly to prevent other owners from going through the same heartbreak.
She also shared many other people’s sad stories about their horrible experiences with the brand. Some commenters said they’d used Blue Buffalo products for years without issue, but McDonald still wants to warn people that the reaction Dallas had to their treats is not a fluke.
Thankfully, vets were able to stabilize Dallas and he was able to go home — a far better ending to this tale than many other owners shared.
“…Dallas is home,” McDonald updated her post. “He should make a full recovery. Thank you to everyone who has shared and kept us in their thoughts.”
“Vets diagnosis is hemorrhagic gastritis (HGE) same as so many others. It is a severe reaction to one of the ingredients (unknown which) in this product. I’ve received hundreds of messages from people who have endured the exact same thing from various Blue Buffalo products for dogs and cats.”
She also requested that if anyone who’d had a similar experience still had leftover food or treats they suspect was the culprit, that they send it in for testing to try to find out which ingredient is causing the problems. But for now, she has her pup home where he belongs and knows what she will not be feeding him in the future.
“Got my boy back,” she posted on Monday. “2k vet bill and a lot of meds but he’s through the worst of it.”
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