Food Guidelines

Is Purina’s Beneful Dog Food Killing Dogs?

benefulIn the human food industry, there are laws against calling something healthy when it’s not. There are regulations against deceitful packaging and outright lies to consumers.

There are no such laws and regulations in the dog food industry.

That’s right, a manufacturer can fill a bag with massive amounts of sugars, animal by-products, and fillers, label the food as healthy and nutritious, cover the bag with photos of vibrant, happy dogs surrounded by fresh meats and vegetables and sell millions of bags to unsuspecting consumers that believe they’re doing right by their dog.

Such is the case with Purina’s Beneful line of dog food. Here’s how Beneful describes their Original flavor kibble:

Beneful® brand Dog Food Original helps keep your dog happy and healthy with a perfect balance of healthful ingredients, quality nutrition and superb taste. It’s made with wholesome grains and real beef, and accented with vitamin-rich vegetables.

The only truthful part of this statement is the superb taste. And that’s only because the manufacturer sprays the food with rendered animal fats, making it irresistible to hungry dogs.

In truth, the number one ingredient in all of Beneful’s recipes is corn, a commonly-used filler that provides very little nutrition to dogs. In addition to providing little nutritional value, corn has a high glycemic index, raising your dog’s blood sugar, and is not easily digested by dogs.

The next ingredient in this so-called “healthy food” is chicken by-product meal. This is essentially the waste that’s left over after the good meat has been removed: feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs, and organs (the only nutritious part of by-product) that are “unfit for human consumption.”

Third ingredient in their food is corn gluten meal. Glutens are an inferior source of protein behind meat by-products. Using corn gluten meal in their food allows Beneful to show a higher protein content on their bag, making it appear to be a higher quality food.

It’s not until the seventh ingredient that we finally reach beef. But, since beef is 80% water, when it is cooked down, it only amounts to a small percentage of it’s pre-cooked weight, meaning it could belong much further down the list of ingredients.

As if these reasons alone aren’t enough to avoid this product altogether, dog owners are now claiming that Purina’s Beneful is killing their dogs.

You’ll remember that Purina is the manufacturer of the Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch chicken jerky treats imported from China that have been investigated since 2007, only now being recalled after illegal drug residue was found in the treats.

Are they using the same Chinese factories responsible for nearly 500 dog deaths and thousands of illnesses to manufacture their foods, too?

Since October of 2012 until now, 229 complaints have been made against Beneful dog food to Consumer Affairs.

Dog owners are reporting such illnesses as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, lethargy, weight loss, and seizures after only a few meals of Beneful dog food. Other, less-frequent complaints, have reported bloat (a life-threatening condition in dogs), liver failure, kidney failure, and even death.

According to a report by The Examiner, veterinarians have reported bacterial infections, liver and kidney failure and high toxins in pets that have been brought in related to Beneful dog food illnesses.

Clearly, Purina is ignoring the complaints by consumers (just as they did for over 5 years with their chicken jerky treats) and, as of yet, there is no FDA recall or warning on these products.

It is up to us, the consumers and dog owners, to stop supporting brands that don’t put our pet’s health and well-being at the forefront of their company mission. If we collectively take a stand against brands known for poor nutrition, questionable ingredients, and deceitful packaging, they will eventually be forced to change.

How many more dogs have to suffer because of an industry that allows them to?



  1. Bill

    Oct 11, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    This is a sad state of affairs in the industry. It really takes a ton of research anymore before deciding on what food you can safely feed your dog. Luckily, I haven’t had the heartache that many of the other commenters had but I do know I won’t be feeding my dog Beneful.

    • Misty snyder

      Nov 29, 2016 at 1:53 am

      I just bought beef dog food and it has huge chucks of mildly dog food I came home from work to a sick puppy. She is my world and to lose her over so bad food is awful

  2. Marc E.

    Oct 4, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    I am assuming this article is based on the dry dog food products. I have been feeding the Beneful Mediterranean style 3 Oz wet cans to my 12 lb dog 3 times a day. (Sometimes I use a different flavor from the same line) Are there similar issues with this line of food?

    • John Thomopoulos

      Nov 18, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      I did feed my dog for few years too! Looks like from some can dog food reports, they’re producing the same health issues!

      Also, same story goes for several dog treats. I used “Milos Kitchen Treats” and they suppose to be bad too.

      The “real” healthy dog food out there not sell in the “super markets”. Only Pet Stores and online and they’re expensive.

      Now however, I’m not sure how accurate and truthful these consumer reports are! To much competition out there. You never know.

      Anyway, here are few dog food that I have found and listed as exceptional and safe:

      DOG FOOD:




      Good Luck

      John Thomopoulos

  3. Martha Aams

    Sep 19, 2016 at 9:48 am


  4. Rich

    Aug 24, 2016 at 2:23 am

    My 6 year old American bulldog died last night and for sure it is the food. I called Purina on Sunday night explaining everything and was told I would receive a callback. It is now going on Wednesday ad no callback as. Of yet. We have had her on benefit for 1 year. Up until 10 days ago she got really sick to the point she could not even walk, was having seizures,eyes dialated, high blood pressure, lethargy, and did not want to eat.. This was on Aug 10th. August 11 after not eating anything my wife and I got burgers from sonic. I bought my baby girl 2 for her to see if she would eat. She took one sniff and started to eat. I just gave her the patty and 1 bun. The next morning she was looking better so I enticed her with hotdogs as well as Pedia lite and evap milk, egg yolk and corn syrup and she ate it up. It took 3-4 days and she was able to walk on her own and go outside to use the bathroom.. I continued to give her that as well as Amoxicillan to fight of any possible infection as she had vistbular disease from recent humidity and rains is az. She was back to her normal self talking to us, jumping around being herself. Without thinking we gave her benefit with water to soften up the food and she was hesitant but at it. She was fine that night but the next morning it’s like she relapsed into a far worse state. She had 3 episode aka seizures it seemed like, with eyes dialed and jumping around. She could not move. She laid there all day shaking, twitching, fast heart rate.. then she deficit ed on herself and threw up. We watched her ll night and saved her as she was choking on her saliva. I took her to vet next morning and he came back with vistbular disease and charged 600 to run tests. WITH a broken blood machine and and injections of water and anti nausea. Dr said it was not a critical and released us saying she was stable. Our beloved American bulldog and my baby girl died 8 hours later from suffication due to the flew in her system that was as thick as a black widow webbing.. her mouth smelt rotten and rancid just like my cat had over 16 years ago and she was diagnosed with failing kidneys due to drinking antifreeze that my father use to leave open laying around (car nut) my dog died from acute renal failure from food poisoning!!!! READING RESULTS NOW AND HER KIDNEY/LIVER WAS FAILING.

  5. Carla Woodward

    Jul 25, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I have long suspected that Beneful was the sorce for the problems that my beloved Shi Tzu “Pinto” had. Granted he was getting older but the last year of his life he suffered from urethral blockages (by stones that caused him to not be able to pee and had to be cathatered for relief). One time when the vet pulled the catheter out he put the tip of it on my finger and told me to rub them together. It felt like grit from sandpaper!!!!! I want to cry right now thinking about it all. And he drank water ALL OF THE TIME. He ate Beneful for pretty much 10 years…but I think that all just started building up in his system. There was no other explanation for his stones and “bladder grit”. My heart breaks thinking about how he must have been suffering. Was it because of Beneful? Who knows. But I do know I’ll NEVER feed it to the new doggie love of my life.

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  7. Stacey E.

    Jun 17, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Bloat is caused by intestines knotting up. It is not because of a dog food. The very first paragraph of this article is a lie. You can claim things are healthy when they aren’t, and there are no laws that prevent it. There are a lot of people that will believe anything they’re told, and because someone decided to try to make a buck off if it, then it must be true. I’ve read several articles where people try to pin the most ridiculous things on a dog food. Dogs can have genetic abnormalities. They have cancer, liver failure, tumors, kennel cough, and bloat and all of these things are genetic. You can’t blame a dog food for it. Some dogs die early from disease just like humans do. I think if this dog food was poisonous, then so many dogs wouldn’t be just fine after having ingested it. Some for years. It wouldn’t just affect SOME dogs as poison, it would affect all of them. That isn’t the case. Poison is poison. Some dogs don’t also ingest poison and get to be healthy. They’d all show symptoms. They all don’t. Internet hype doesn’t mean it’s true. I’d like some statistics about how many of these “murdered” dogs were purebred. I’m of the opinion that the weakened breeder dog is to blame in this instance, and not a dog food. In the effort of arrogant humans to have purebred dogs, they get weakened and sick dogs as a result. Those people should be ashamed for inflicting disease and sickness on a helpless creature.

    • Stacey E.

      Jun 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      woops, kennel cough isn’t genetic, but the rest are.

  8. Jenn p

    May 23, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Unfortunately we fed our 2 dogs beneful healthy weight and in 2008 our very healthy dog Scooby died from bloat:-( and in 2014 our dog Xena his sister started having seizures and died from a brain tumor:-( I’m pretty sure it was the dog food:-( I now feed my girl blue Buffalo and homemade dog food.

    • Phyllis

      Jul 15, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Funny that I fed my shitzu beneful for 16 years until he died of old age. No problems whatsoever. I now have fed my six year old boxer the exact same food and again one of the healthiest dogs my vet has seen. You may want to look for other reasons for your dogs illness.

      • Dee

        Aug 7, 2016 at 8:13 pm

        Keep us posted on your boxer because your shihtzu was one of the few exceptions. Even if you don’t feel Beneful hurts your dogs how can you feed them such low quality food? Chicken by product(food you wouldn’t ingest),corn(number one food allergy for dogs),synthetic vitamins??…and the list goes on. Love your dogs more than Purina loves lying about the quality ingredients in their products.

        • Peter

          Aug 31, 2016 at 7:19 pm

          Have had my dog on Playful Life for nearly 7 years witg no problems. I suspect these other dogs are having allergic reactios or other sebsirivity. Yes, it is not high quality food but when a typical canine will eat poop and scavenged food then how quality do you need to go? But everyone has their own opinions and reasons for doing what they do.

      • Zoritsa

        Sep 26, 2016 at 8:23 am

        Phyllis,maybe you’re dog is a lucky one. I’ve had three boxers, and one did just fine on Beneful (he died of old age), the other started having problems (she had a few accidents in the house) at the same time my third ( one year old) woke one morning and couldn’t walk. After an emergency vet visit and no confirmation of what was wrong, I started researching their food and immediately switched without a gradual change, in case it was the food. By two days later, my young dog was up and walking again and my girl stopped having accidents in the house.It might have been a bad batch, since my oldest was already gone and never had any physical issues…but, I truly believe it was the Beneful.

        I have a friend who switched to Beneful just over the past few weeks, and her dog started having skin problems. She is switching back to her old dog food to see if it helps.

  9. Clare purvis

    May 23, 2016 at 12:12 am

    My Statfy has increased her to after intake since starting Beneful$ so I did some research & im disgusted & shocked that the his food could kill my dog im in my second bag So im tossing it in the rubbish ho disgraceful is this company! I’ll sue th Se badtards if my dog gets an illness due to this disgusting dog food these horrid people are putting on the shells in supermarkets & they don’t care! Bloody False advertising!

  10. James

    Apr 20, 2016 at 12:51 am

    My beautiful Stafford shire of 9 years was just taken into the emergency room at the vets for lethargy, bloating, high water I take , and not being able to keep her hid quarters up. They said her vitamin d was extremely high and also that she was diabetic. Originally diagnosed as pyometra but later changed by another attending vet to an I don’t know d I diagnosis. More tests and more money . 3500.00 later my best friend my closest the other a child I will ever have and she is suffering a d needed to be put down. I gave her beneful for a week prior and now am certain that Purina poisoned my kid. I will not stop investigating both Purina and VCA until I get an answer to why I no longer have my family member Mary MJ with me. People feed on and take advantage of loyal owners who would do anything to save their pets and it has to stop. I will meet it my life mission to stopping these conglomerates and corporations for Murdering any more innocent animals.

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