Newfoundland Breeders Claim Purina Food Affecting Dogs’ Health And Reproductivity


Lisa, a professional dog breeder, is worried about the health and well-being of her Newfoundlands. In the past year, she has noticed that her dogs have been experiencing mysterious reproductive problems. Her healthy dogs are either not getting pregnant or they are conceiving deformed and dead puppies.

“These are dogs that have all delivered healthy puppies before,” says Lisa, owner of Lighthouse Newfoundlands in Grafton, Ohio. “I’ve been a full-time breeder since 1998 and I’ve never experienced as many problems as I have in the past year. It’s horrible.”

She said that she first noticed problems in November. One of her dogs, Vella, had a litter of four puppies. Two were healthy while the other two were mummified fetuses. In January, another dog had a litter of nine puppies. Five were healthy, 3 were mummified fetuses, and one was deformed.

Apparently, Lisa is not the only Newfoundland breeder that is seeing problems in their dogs. Professional breeders in Idaho, Pennsylvania, and Texas said that they also have encountered puzzling reproductive problems. They all had the same experiences: puppies that didn’t grow, healthy dogs failing to get pregnant in the past two years, and deformed or dead puppies.

What could cause this problem? The breeders think the dog food is the culprit. That is the only common element among these Newfoundlands. They all feed their dogs Purina One and Purina Pro Plan.

“Why am I certain it’s the food? Because nothing else has changed in my breeding program,” says Lisa, who has 14 Newfoundlands. “These are the same dames and the same sires. They’ve all had healthy litters before.

“I keep my kennels clean, I don’t over-vaccinate, I don’t add supplements, I don’t use pesticides, I follow all the regular worming protocols … …nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed.”

“At first I thought it was the water, but that can’t be. There are too many us across the country having the same problems with our dogs. It just has to be the food.”

From Consumer Affairs:

The breeders say they’ve fed their dogs Purina products for years and never had any problems. But Wendy and Lisa suspected something was wrong with the food last summer.

“We both fed our puppies Purina One large breed puppy food,” Wendy says. “And all our puppies had horrible diarrhea. They were squirting water out of their bottoms. It was awful.

Lisa says news of the melamine-tainted food confirmed her worst fears about the reproductive problems with her dogs.

“I read all about the effects melamine can have on pregnancies. And I learned that too much melamine can affect pregnancies.

“I also belong to a chat room with 2,000 subscribers and did my own research with them. That’s when I found out that so many of us who were using Purina were having problems.”

The breeders don’t have any clinical analysis to support their convictions.

They didn’t test the Purina they fed their dogs. They didn’t have autopsies performed on the deceased puppies. And they didn’t have lab work or ultrasounds done on the females that failed to get pregnant or delivered deformed or deceased puppies.

“If all of us knew then what we know now, we would have done all sorts of things to prove our case,” Wendy says. “But along the way, we went through so much devastation and heartbreak that we didn’t think of it.”

Veterinarians we interviewed agree the cases are interesting. And warrant further investigation.

But they warn it’s premature to blame Purina for the Newfoundlands’ reproductive problems.

They say more testing is needed before any allegations can — or should — be made about the dog food.

“I believe these cases are too poorly defined to try to make any sort of statement regarding the likelihood of diet as the cause of the ‘the problem,’” said Dr. Margaret Root Kustritz of the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“I know of no such problem specific to Newfoundlands. I know of no data in the veterinary literature documenting loss of pups from dietary causes in apparently healthy (female).”

The Newfoundlands’ reproductive issues also captured the attention of the Newfoundland Club of America (NCA).

“I find this very odd,” said Pam Rubio, head of NCA’s Health and Longevity Committee. “I have not heard of this before. But there are lots of things that have never happened before that crop up.”

Does she suspect the food?

“I would doubt it because so many of us feed Pro Plan without any problems. If it’s the food — and I’m still doubtful of that — then it would have to be a change in the formula, the protein source, or an ingredient.” also contacted Purina about the Newfoundlands’ problems. Spokesman Keith Schopp told us his company had never heard of these problems until our call.

He also said the pet food giant has not changed the formulas for Purina One or Purina Pro Plan in recent years.

Lisa and Wendy contacted on Tuesday and said they discovered some of the Purina food they’d fed their dogs when the problems first started.

Lisa plans to immediately test the food.

So does Wendy, who also found some Purina in the bottom of one of her feed bins.

They also know their dogs’ conditions have improved since they took them off Purina products months ago.

“The difference is unbelievable,” says Wendy, who makes her own dog food and supplements it with a brand called Bil-Jac. That Ohio pet food maker uses locally produced ingredients. “My dogs are looking so good. My younger ones are slowly starting to gain weight now that they’re off that poisonous food. I can’t see their ribs anymore. And they’re a lot more active.”

(Thanks Bob)

27 Responses to “Newfoundland Breeders Claim Purina Food Affecting Dogs’ Health And Reproductivity”

  1. Pukanuba says:

    Gee, what a shocker this is……somebody having problems with Purina? The rep was so surprised as he’s never had any complaints like this before…….oh, come on……just how stupid do you think pet parents are? I bet you’ve never had complaints before.

    The best part of this story is that all these breeders have smartened up & stopped feeding their Newfies crap……I know nothing about Bil-Jac but I think just about anything would be better than Purina. Another large group of people that have stopped buying their junk food. Rah rah…..

    I hope they let us know the test results. Sure glad they didn’t lose all of their dogs.

  2. Dave says:

    After years of feeding grains, corn and rice (which dogs do not need or in very small quantites), along with all the preservatives, food colourings, poop forming agents, bi-products and rendered materials, it is just a matter of time before any animal or breed of dog/cat will begin to develop health issues. There have now been generations of dogs eating highly processed and cooked foods and their DNA, organs, etc. have been negatively impacted and they simply can’t continue to survive without serious health or reproductive issues, all associated with poor nutrition.

    We see the impact of poor nutrition in people and imagine what 5-10 generations of people will look like or the survival rate will be if children and their children continue to eat highly processed foods. Unfortunately our dogs and cats are showing the results of processed foods today. No (or few) dogs or cats die of old age today. They are getting people diseases like the cancers, IBD, kidney failure etc.

    Many breeders love the dog shows and all the free bags of food they get or that have been left behind by raw breeders. Time after time, we hear stories about how the health of a pet improves after feeding real food. Unfortunately for some, it may take many generations of dogs to reverse the damage done. Why would any vet would approve or encourage the feeding of dry (kibble) foods…obviously it is about the money. Even with advanced knowledge of vet care, pets are still passing on way to soon.

  3. Denise says:

    I supplement my two dogs with Bil-Jac, they get a combination of home-cooked and raw. It’s the only commercial grade food they will eat.

    Bil Jac uses no imported grains.

  4. Kathy B says:

    I contacted Purina in March when my cat suddenly went into massive kidney failure & had to be put down. I suspected the food. I got a major “canned” response & brush-off from the representative. They weren’t interested in samples of the food & I’m sure my concerns went un-recorded.

  5. ann says:

    I have been saying this for months!!!! I fed ProPlan exclusively since it came on the market. Last winter my dog and cat were acting strangely. They were both constantly shedding, neither would really eat the food, and my cat began to dig and claw at her food. I changed my cat to NB venison and green pea canned, and my dog to Innova and evangers canned. Problems solved!

  6. Katie says:

    This is very interesting - I had an email from a golden breeder this AM and she mentioned several of her friends are having serious reproduction problems that they have never had before. On top of it, three weeks ago, she started refeeding dry dog food (she had been homecooking and RAW) because she was on the road and her female is now one huge walking hot spot, itching like crazy and reproduction problems. ProPlan..

    Dave, not only is my dog looking better but her autoimmune disease is in total remission now that she is eating home cooked. Our animals are certainly showing us what poor nutrition results in -


  7. Katie says:

    This is very interesting - I had an email from a golden breeder this AM and she mentioned several of her friends are having serious reproduction problems that they have never had before. On top of it, three weeks ago, she started refeeding dry dog food (she had been homecooking and RAW) because she was on the road and her female is now one huge walking hot spot, itching like crazy and reproduction problems. ProPlan..

    Dave, not only is my dog looking better but her autoimmune disease is in total remission now that she is eating home cooked. Our animals are certainly showing us what poor nutrition results in -


  8. Robert Davis says:

    Unless Bil-Jac has changed they use chemical preservatives…..

  9. Mrs. P. says:

    I would believe absolutely ANYTHING of Purina! LadyCat died of kidney failure after eating their food and not only do they think I lied about it, but also my vet lied about it. I hope no one buys anything from this company and they go out of business. They are horrible.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is not a big surprise considering the ingredients in commercial petfood. The only surprise to me is that the breeders are so shocked.
    Nestle Purina mfrs in China.

  11. Linda says:

    Used Purina all my life and never(over 40 years) had any problems. I have been breeding most of those years without incidence. Love the Pro Plan Turkey and Barley. Raised my babies on puppy food and always had strong, fat and sassy puppies. My kids tend to live 14-15 healthy years.

  12. molly says:

    Me too, no problems so far with Purina or Bil Jac, these are mostly what we feed.

  13. thomas says:

    I hope when they test the food they also test to see if anything related to GMO’s are in it.

  14. Sky Eyes Woman says:

    “He [the Purina spokesman] also said the pet food giant has not changed the formulas for Purina One or Purina Pro Plan in recent years.”

    Maybe they haven’t changed the formula, but both of those foods contain meat by-products. Since “meat by-products” are really “slaughterhouse waste”, they cannot guarantee consistency from batch to batch to batch and certainly not over a period of years. Not only are these foods made with the waste from human meat packing plants, but some rendering plants that sell rendered meat meals also accept roadkill, euthanized pets from shelters and vet clinics, “4D” animals not fit for human consumption and spoiled food from grocery stores and restaraunts. If Purina buys meat meals from rendering plants that use the above mentioned protein sources, then there’s no telling what is in those bags or cans of food they crank out by the millions every year.

    I don’t care how “good” an expensive “premium” food is, or what kind of slick marketing they use to promote it. If it is has “by-products” in the ingredient list, it has GARBAGE in it. I will NOT buy it. Period. The End.

    PS- Bil-Jac has by-products in it too.

  15. JJ in IL says:

    Bil-Jac Liver treats contain propylene glycol which is ANTI-FREEZE.

  16. Ginny says:

    In November of 2006, my 2 healthy doberman suddenly became ill within a week of each other. Rory , the family comedian who had always been so full of light and energy, died of kidney failure less than 2 weeks after becoming sick. Zaggy, my gentle giant, followed her early Christmas morning after multiple hospitalizations and a valiant fight to live. Both of my babies suffered renal failure and died a horrific death. They were fed Purina One purchased at a Sam’s Club in Texas.

  17. Pukanuba says:

    Ginny: I am so sorry about your dogs… awful that must have been for you & your dogs. Sadly, I have read so many of these stories & my heart breaks for everyone who had to go through this.

    Those of you who have bought the big name commercial pf & never had a problem are just really lucky you never got your hands on a contaminated bag or can. The ingredients are crappy & eventually will affect the health of your pet but luck was on your side that you never happened to get poison in the food you bought. I hope your luck stays with you because I believe there is still a lot of tainted food out there just waiting to kill another animal.

    I lost all faith in any commercial pf no matter how premium or organic. I don’t trust them & therefore will not support them.

  18. Trudy Jackson says:

    I have a question for you all. very important. I ran out of food, commercial and home cooked. so, i bought some Purina One to get Me by. Cats Purina One. I found in the bag as I was pouring it, 2 little white-off white peices that looked like cat food, but not the same dimention as the rest of the bag. A little smaller and a little rounder. do you think it could be melamine? Does anyone remember where the good pics of meamine were? Are they Still putting junk in the food? I wouldn’t have bought it if i hadn’t had to. What do you think it is? I could just kick Myself for getting this.

  19. Charlotte says:

    1. There were round pieces of cat food in either kKtten or Senior Purina One a couple years ago when I bought it, trying EVERY brand for an old cat.
    2. mummified puppies and infertility: have dogs been tested for herpes, brucellosis, e. coli or other infections? Probably, but worth asking. Newf breeders might have gotten the infection at same events or breeding long distance.
    3. I hope it is not the food, but after this winter and spring, I believe anything–I never use just one brand and supplement with fresh, yet I managed to lose an older dog on the fancy cuts and gravy foods and recalled dry. Vet internists did not believe it was food even though she improved on baby food–not the recalled brands. I was told to put her back on dog food. She got worse. I miss her and feel terribly guilty–I fed her many brands of poison. After she was gone, we had the recall.
    4. Keep us posted on the Purina. Thanks.

  20. Jo Anne says:

    The FDA published an article in the Pet Retailer Trade Paper a couple of years ago, stating the the “levels of Sodium Pentabarbitol were safe in the grocery store foods they tested.”
    I was shocked that they missed the point that the euthanasia drug was found in there at all. The grocery store foods contain by-products, which can be rendered animals from shelters, dogs and cats. They are euthanized with illnesses. Why would any animal lover take a chance on feeding it to their beloved pets.
    For the Breeders, maybe it is time to stop breeding those animals. I believe when deformities start, that poor dog’s body is saying, STOP.
    BHT AND BHA have been known to cause liver and kidney failure over time.
    Plus, the foods can sit in containers up to a year between manufacturer and grocery store without any temperature control.

  21. Julie says:

    I have show dogs and was feeding Purina One,,,when they would go out with the handler he fed Pro-Plan,,,now 2 of my bitches age 3 can not get pregnant,,,we have tryed 3 diff times and working with a fertility specilist now,,,he has done all known tests and all come back fine,,,we used various males also,,,my other bitch who has had no problem with pregnancy,,did not get pregnant and then finally did,,but we lost the whole litter,,3 were mumified and the others premature,,,the i also bred another bitch,,first litter and 2 were mumified and we saved one by c-section,,,i have been a breeder for 35 years and never had a problem until i switched foods,,until your article i was so confused,,i was seriously thinking it had to be food or water causing the problems..let me know if anything comes of this purina problem

  22. Labs Forever says:

    As a small breeder, we have also had a problem with a litter in April. Only 1 puppy and 8 reabsorbed, never have had that problem or unhealthy labs. After spending 4K on vet bills, laboratory tests - UA, UA C&S, had 3 of 4 that were in the house in Feb-April, 3 of the 4 had 4+ crystals in the urine, then almost lost one and another is still be treated. Never have had to give antibiotics, special food to try to get my dogs back to good health before. After testing the 5 food/treat items at Expertox, the Nupro Supplements were noted to have a trace of cyanuric acid and with tracking the foods, that is exactly when our dogs started getting sick. However, had never had a problem with the supplements before. Nupro’s product had been so very good for our dogs for over 5 years, so can only think that the manufacturer had got some of their ingredients from a different supplier that they were not aware of…thinking it may of been the KELP. Started adding “real protein - meat” from our freezer, and switched to California Natural & Evo mixed. Within 2 weeks the dogs were “happy”, had twice the energy, appeared to look 3 years younger. The NutroMax Puppy food was negative on the Expertox test, but when I would give it to one of the dogs, she started vomiting the same day. Expertox informed me that the previously cyanuric acid 220ug/g found apparently was inaccurate…and when completing the final separate testing, only the supplements showed a TRACE. They said that there was so much FAT that it was hard to read the level of the CA. So I am wondering if more FAT has been put in the foods to cover up the reading of melamine and/or cyanuric acid and who knows what else was in the food. As other friends have informed me that when they switched to California Natural or Evo their dogs didn’t look as lethargic! Fact > our dogs are much healthier, have more energy, appear more happy, give more lab kisses (licks) and my new litter of puppies and Dam appear very, very healthy. As for our old food, that was discarded, but still have the NutroMax - 9 bags and have to send back for a refund, even though it has tested negative. I notified a lot of our clients and 2 had problems with their dogs and I strongly recommended that they switch foods ASAP, also sent them the Expertox findings and if they wanted my data on our dogs would send it to them, which several requested. A person can only think you are doing the best for your lovely pets, then have to try to make sense out of the problem with some getting sick. Thank God for Itchmo, Pet Connection and other websites that get the information to us early before the recall comes out or never comes out in the news media. Oh, yes, I did report an “Adverse Event Report” to the National Supplement Council, then got a call a few days later, the gentleman wasn’t too happy to get the complaint…response was > what am I suppose to do with this Lab report? Well, I informed him that if they have an Adverse Event reported, would believe they should follow up with their protocol for investigation (after all that is what the law is for health care facilities), then the gentleman said “everything has Mercury, lead, and more things in it”, I informed him that those did not show up in the lab report, and he also recommended that I track the food items and dates the food was given to our dogs to figure out what made them sick….guess what I had the data and shared the data with him on our findings with lab tests, dates of illnesses, dates specific food items were given and have not heard from the Council since I have emailed it to them. The FDA in Cincinnatti was still taking information regarding the pet food recall and I also gave the data to them. FYI > we had 2 mice in the house found sick and almost dead, so started searching in hidden areas where they had been gathering the food…it was the NutroMax food, so if research was completed for a longer period of time, then the mice would of died most likely within 2-3 weeks according to my findings. Seems like researching the toxic levels would be best if they just feed different brands of pet food to mice and wouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to come up with factual conclusions ( I’m not a scientist, but logic does come to mind). Thank God for Howl911 in the beginning of the recall info, Itchmo, Pet Connection, and then FDA information, otherwise we would of all been seeing more pets sick. When I go to the grocery store, 1 out of 10 people are talking about the food being safe and the recalled food, consumers are really being careful now. Will share the data after I get it all written up nicely in a story.

  23. Christine says:

    I can only imagine how devestated this breeder must have been to have experienced dead, unhealthy, or mummified pups … As I read the headline, the article, as I write this reply - I am SCREAMING in my mind, my cries a mix of both joy and agony.

    ***I HAVE SUSPECTED PURINA ONE PLAYED A LEADING ROLE IN THE DEATH OF MY GERMAN SHEPHERD IN NOVEMNER OF ‘06!!!!!!! *** As I read through this article, I could feel myself becoming sick. At the moment, I have over half a dozen pill bottles in my kitchen cabinet as an eerie reminder of the suffering my sweet GSD lived through before she was taken from this world, far too early. No 3 year old dog’s life should be cut so short.

    This article has mirrored, backed up all that I’ve been saying. The trouble first started in April/May of last year. I had a litter, so had all of my dogs on the more economical Purina ONE - before that, the only dog who’d been on it was my GSD. Several of the dogs, including the Shepherd, became VIOLENTLY ill with liquid diarrhea, rapid weight loss. The dam of the litter lost so much weight so rapidly, she nearly died overnight :( We know this was no contagious disease, for there was no time to quarrantine her from the pups, it happened so fast, and none of the weaned 5 week old pups became ill. The dogs were diagnosed with colitis, and my Vet thought somethign else was going on with them as well, but told me to just change the food & gave me the meds. All was well with the other dogs after that, but not my Shepherd. She never recovered. As her weight dropped, we noticed she had become an irratible, aggressive dog with the other dogs who she had raised or was raised with, dogs who she had been submissive to, she now attacked. I took her to two Vets, neither could stop her diarrhea. We cooked for her - but it didn’t matter. Nothing we did was makign a dent in the diarrhea, weight loss, and mild incontinance. Her temperament became worse as her illness progressed. Finally, while she had become so painfully thin we were seriously contemplating euthanizing her, she finally “snapped”, she went wild attacking my other dogs, and we had to make the painful decision to let her go.

    I have heard rumors and firsthand accounts alike that while I was feeding Purina One, that Pro Plan was causing problems for other Beagle breeders I knew, specifically related to reproductive issues - breeders that were having large, vibrant litters now had small, sickly ones. I stand behind the author of this article 100% because I know in my heart is true. There IS a link between Purina’s dry foods and these illnesses.

    And one more thing. The spokesman for Purina is either a LIAR or his company has not informed him too well. Purina HAS changed their ingredients, and quite recently. Purina One tweaked their ingredient list several months ago, summer of ‘06. They included the artificial color caramel coloring in the product.

  24. Kathy says:

    This problem started when Nestle took over in 2000 or 2001. I had fed Pro Plan since it was introduced somewhere around 1988 with no problems. In 2001 I had 3 litters of Boston Terriers, 9 puppies total, all but one of which died by 5 weeks of some type of heart defect which had never been in my line before. Then bitches stopped cycling, had abnormal heats, or single puppy litters if they got pregnant at all. I thought about getting out of Bostons all together. In desperation I switched dog foods. In one month I had 5 out of my 6 bitches come into season. I bred three of them hoping one would conceive and all 3 did! I got 11 puppies total-all healthy-no heart problems. Friends were also having problems across the country-the common denominator? Pro Plan. Everyone switched and the problems stopped. I feel bad for people having problems but I also feel so vindicated-I have been calling Pro Plan the “birth control” food.

  25. Deborah says:

    Kathy, can I ask what food you switched your dogs to?

  26. Breeder Claims Purina Dog Food Caused Her Dogs’ Deaths | Itchmo: News For Dogs & Cats says:

    […] The spokesman also added that there is no connection between Julie’s concerns and the concerns from other breeders in regards to their Newfoundlands and their reproductive issues. […]

  27. cathy says:

    been a breeder for over 30 years and about two years ago started have smaller litters an then started to lose puppies anywhere from 1-10 days old. checked into the fading puppy syndrone and then corona, then herpes and now checking into vitamin and mineral defiency. never considered my food i feed regular purina dry and purina puppy to all my dogs. i raise saints and boxers. have some of the boxers that are having delayed heats cycles and same issue with losing puppies.the puppies cry and are darker color on their bellies like a circulation or oxygen problems
    question is do i change food that all my adult dogs and custumers puppies look great on purina or keep checking until find out for sure

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