There are an almost endless number of dog food brands out there on the market and it can be difficult to decide which one you should buy for your beloved pet.
When it comes to making the most informed choice about which dog food you should purchase for your pup, it would only be wise to make comparisons between a few brands before making your final decision. If you took a moment out to think about it, you can probably come up with a number of different well-known brands of both wet dog food and dry dog food, but how are you to know which ones are worth the price tag that's attached? The Purina Beneful brand of dog food is almost certainly one that you’ve heard of before and it’s likely that you’ve heard both positive things and horror stories about Purina’s offerings. The first questions to start with are most likely: “Is Beneful dog food safe?” and “Is Beneful bad for dogs?” A quick Internet search will return a lot of interesting results and what you find might overwhelm you. If you needed some assistance sorting through the fact and fiction, we can help you get to the bottom of things in no time!
The Nestle Purina Petcare firm is the owner of the Purina Beneful dog food brand and the Beneful original brand pet foods hit the market back in 2001. According to the Nestle Purina firm, the term “Beneful” means “full of goodness,” but it’s difficult to know if that’s an accurate likeness that we can attach to their brand. To cement a strong following for their products—and to create the most solid foundation for the release of their pet food—the Nestle company launched a multi-million dollar television advertising campaign of historic proportions for Beneful and it wouldn’t take very long for that advertising to add up to big dividends for Nestle. After just five years on the market, Purina’s Beneful was raking in hundreds of millions of dollars. By the year 2012—just six years later—it was the fourth most popular dog food brand in the entire world. As of now, the Beneful brand offers dry dog food and wet dog foods along with dog treats. Back in 2005, Beneful introduced the Healthy Harvest line featuring formulas that incorporated soy as the main source of protein versus meat: but their parlays into healthier, more refined formulas have been very limited, and it seems as though they’re comfortable remaining within the niche that they’ve etched out for themselves as of now.
Beneful has always been one of those brands that gets a lot of shine in the media and when we consider the strides they took to ensure their presence in the public eye with advertising that’s hard to ignore, it’s unsurprising to see how they rose to such popularity in such a short span of time. One of the more interesting facets of their European advertising campaign involved posters and signage that released the smell of dog food to entice animals and television ads that incorporated high-pitched tones that only dogs could hear. In New York in 2012, Beneful released interactive ads that allowed passersby to play a simulated game of fetch in subway stations. Their marketing and advertising departments have identified winning ways to connect with both existing and prospective clients and there’s something about Beneful that keeps the people coming back; but is Beneful the kind of dog food brand that deserves to earn your money? That question has a very layered answer—and the answer might not be the same for everyone.
Is Beneful Dog Food Killing Dogs?
It’s very likely that you’ve seen at least one Purina Beneful commercial in your lifetime, and they tend to make it seem like they provide a pretty high quality of pet food products to the public; but a quick glance-over of their ingredients reveals telling tidbits of information. At the end of the day, when we take a look at all of the things comprised to create this dog food, it’s not very hard to tell that Purina Beneful ingredients aren’t as healthy as you might be led to believe. There’s more than a few controversial ingredients in a number of their recipes and these additives could end up harming your dog in the long run. Beneful dry dog foods and wet foods contain, whole grain corn and whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal and soybean meal are just a few of the questionable additives that Purina regularly uses to create their pet food formulas.
Just two years ago, in 2015, there was a class action lawsuit that was filed in California’s Federal Court against the Nestle Purina Petcare brand in relation to dangerous chemical additives in their pet foods that were incapacitating and even killing some dogs. Propylene glycol and mycotoxins were the culprits for these freak pet poisonings and deaths, and there was obviously more than just a handful of reported issues. Diarrhea, weight loss, seizures, and vomiting were the most commonly reported symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning that many pet owners were dealing with, and all signs were pointing back to the pet food they were buying. Of course, the Nestle Purina firm argued that they use only food-safe formulations of these chemical compounds in their dog food recipes, but the more than 3,000 complaints from consumers about the safety of their products told a completely different story. Once this case was pushed to the forefront, the Food and Drug Administration stepped in to administer testing to assess the toxicity of Purina’s pet food offerings and they didn’t have any negative findings to report once they were through with their processing. On the same note, a separate and consumer-driven analysis of the food was conducted, and it returned results that were wholly separate from the findings that the FDA presented. This private examination found that there were, in fact, extremely unsafe levels of mycotoxins found in Beneful and it could cause serious harm to any dogs that were to consume the food.
After much deliberation and testimony, a federal court judge in California handed a legal victory to Nestle Purina Petcare in regards to the class action lawsuit that had been filed against them. The judge felt that there was no proof of negligence on behalf of Beneful and it was felt that all of the expert testimony he heard didn’t provide enough insight into the depth of the alleged mycotoxin poisoning. Later on, it also came out that one of the original complainants in the class action lawsuit that attributed his dog’s death to Beneful’s food was wrong in his assumption and his dog had, in fact, died due to complications related to a heart tumor. Even though this original complainant was misinformed about what caused his dog’s death, it would be ignorant to assume that all of the complainants were wrong about the possibility of mycotoxin poisoning. Just like humans, each dog is different; and they each have distinct body chemistries. Out of the thousands of criticisms received by Beneful in regards to their toxic formulas, it would be fair to guess that at least half of those individuals probably had strong cases against Nestle Purina; so it’s quite unfortunate that the class action lawsuit didn’t pan out in their favor.
Is It Worth It?
The bottom line is that Beneful dog food reviews can help you form an opinion about the products that they offer, but it’s going to be on you to make the final and most cognizant decision possible. Doing your own research and relying on what you know about your pet will take you very far. At the very least, it’s a good idea to take heed of the findings that are out there; but according to the Food and Drug Administration, there’s nothing wrong with the products that Beneful provides to the public. One of the biggest lures to Beneful is the price point. Pet owners on a budget have most likely chosen Beneful because of both the costs for their products and the huge television advertising campaign that they established. Seeing advertising for products entices us to support those products and the Beneful brand did everything they could to make sure they were seen and heard by the consumer public from the very start. Advertising is meant to be somewhat deceptive with fluffy imagery and buzzwords that fire off certain receptors in our heads and that alone can sometimes cause us to believe in products and organizations without really knowing or understanding why we’re choosing to support them.
Having that public recognition has made it that much easier for Beneful to rise to the top and it’s fairly obvious that being the “best” in terms of food quality is not their main goal. Making money is clearly an overriding motivation for them and they could make the decision to source more responsible ingredients if they wanted to, but they just haven’t done so for reasons that we might never have answers for. Even in the face of the class action lawsuit fiasco, Beneful has still continued to use ingredients that are viewed as questionable by many consumers. If Nestle Purina did go about using more healthful ingredients, it would cut into their profit margins and you can bet that they’re not inclined to spend any more on their business than they do currently. That would, in turn, cause them to drive their prices up and doing that would definitely cause them to lose some of their customer base that they’ve worked so hard to maintain.
What’s In It?
One of the first ingredients in the Beneful formula is chicken and, although real meat listed as the first ingredient sounds like a great start, chicken is mostly water. Once it’s cooked down and that water evaporates away, the actual content of the meat is diminished and it doesn’t add as much nutrition as you might think. To make matters worse, the very next ingredient after chicken is one of those controversial ingredients: whole grain corn. It provides a good amount of energy but, beyond that, it’s just moderately nutritional. In the eyes of most medical professionals that treat dogs and other animals, any kind of corn or corn by-product is not a healthful ingredient for pet food. It’s generally viewed as more of a filler element; similar to the way corn and corn by-products are viewed when it comes to human consumption. The next ingredient in the mix is barley and barley also only provides moderate nutritional value to dogs. The best thing that barley provides to dogs is fiber and that aids in the digestion process but that just about sums it up completely as far as that ingredient goes.
Chicken by-product meal—another one of those controversial additives—comes up next and this is basically a waste product from the remains left over at the slaughterhouse killing floor. This dried substance is collected after all of the prime cuts of chicken have been extracted. It’s comprised of the organs of the slaughtered animal, which is the most nutritional part of the poultry by-product meal, as well as everything from beaks to feet and the only thing you won’t find here is the feathers of the chicken. One of the main upsides to using chicken by-product meal in their recipes is the fact that this meat concentrate provides almost 300% more protein than the fresh chicken that’s known as the first component in most of their formulas. With that being said, chicken by-product meal is still considered a cheap and low-quality additive to use and most dog food brands shy away from it completely. With two more controversial ingredients following the chicken by-product meal—corn gluten meal and whole grain wheat—this means that 4 of the 6 ingredients listed first are problematic in one way or another and this without a doubt contributes to the overall quality of the final product that goes to market.
Taking all of those factors into consideration, buying the Beneful brand for your dog could be a good choice or a bad one and it will honestly just depend on the way your dog’s body reacts to the food and the formula used to create it. If you’re unsure about trying out the Beneful brand, there’s a plethora of other options out there within reasonable price points that will provide proper nutrition for your pet!