Canine Diseases Linked to Grains in Dog Food (Part 2)


In Part 1, we talked about how contaminants found in some lower quality foods could possibly be the cause of chronic allergies in dogs.

Dangerous Canine Diseases Linked to Grain Mold in Dog FoodLike insects, mites and molds.

We also talked about how these unwelcome infestations can be especially abundant in cheap, low quality feed grains.

Yet grain mites and insects can together create a much bigger problem. 

They can easily pick up and spread the spores of highly dangerous molds.

I used the word “dangerous” here because these molds are capable of producing some of the world’s deadliest natural toxins.

Low Quality Grains
Can Harbor Hazardous Molds

Like their cousins — mushrooms and yeasts — molds are members of a family of organisms known as fungi.

Yet unlike mushrooms, molds are completely invisible to the naked eye. What’s worse, they reproduce by creating even smaller seed-like particles called spores.

Now, because molds and spores are so microscopically tiny, they can easily spread by way of the wind — or by hitching a ride on the bodies of mites and weevils.

So, it doesn’t take long for an entire storage bin of cereal grain to become quickly contaminated.

And because they’re so cheap, contaminated grains are more likely to be found in lower quality dog food.

Grain Molds and Their Deadly Venoms

Of course, like humans, dogs can be allergic to the molds and spores that ultimately find their way into their daily rations.1

Yet the greatest danger to any pet lies in the potential for ingesting the poisons produced by the molds themselves.

These exceptionally dangerous poisons are known as mycotoxins.

Today, there are hundreds of known mycotoxins. Here are a few of the more common ones that can affect many animals, including dogs…2

  • Aflatoxin
  • Vomitoxin
  • Zearalenone
  • Ochratoxin
  • Fumonisin

Mycotoxin Poisoning Can Produce
a Tragic and Painful Death

If a dog were to eat a commercial pet food contaminated with a disease causing level of aflatoxin, the result could be deadly.3

Symptoms of acute aflatoxin poisoning include…

Sick Dog

  • Fever
  • Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin)
  • Dark urine
  • Persistent and violent vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Death

A rare disease?  Not quite.

These are the very same symptoms that affected and killed so many innocent dogs in 2005 and prompted an emergency recall.

That was the year Diamond Pet Foods of Gaston, South Carolina made and distributed a large batch of aflatoxin-contaminated dog food.4

An isolated event? Not hardly.

Diamond Pet Foods shipped the tainted products throughout the United States and to 29 other countries around the world5.

A tragic and deadly incident, for sure.

Yet another greater danger awaits the trusting consumer.

No Antidote — No Cure

An unexpected hazard of aflatoxin results when a dog ingests only a small amount of the poison — a dose not large enough to cause the more obvious symptoms of acute toxicity.

Once aflatoxin enters a dog’s body, it can cause serious damage to the cells of the liver. There’s no antidote and no known cure.6

What’s more, long term exposure to even small trace amounts of aflatoxin can ultimately lead to a deadly form of liver cancer.7

In our opinion, the maximum amount of aflatoxin that should ever be allowed in any commercial dog food should probably be as close to zero as possible.

More Bad News

Although cooking can kill the mites and molds, it has no effect on the poison itself. So, the mycotoxins maintain their dangerous potency even after they get “baked” into the finished dog food.

And if that’s not enough, your own open package of pet food is capable of developing an ugly infestation, all by itself.

That’s because dog food can easily become contaminated with insects, mites and mold — right inside your own home.  All it takes is for one stray insect to deposit a single mold spore into an open bag of kibble.

And suddenly, your dog’s at risk.

How to Protect Your Dog

Here are five simple suggestions to help you protect your dog…

  1. Never buy cheaply-made dog food
  2. Choose only fresh, “in-date” products
  3. Avoid any dog food containing grain by-products or mill waste
  4. Tightly re-seal every bag of open dog food. Squeeze out all the excess air. And always store the product in a moisture-free area
  5. Never discard the original packaging. The bag contains critical batch numbers and manufacturing data you’ll need in the event of a recall emergency

Spread the Word — Save a Life

Please remember, dog food grain ingredients might just be one of the most frequently overlooked causes for serious disease in otherwise healthy dogs.

So, go ahead. Spread the word about grains in dog food. And be sure to tell everyone you know who has a dog they care about.

Because you might just save an innocent life.

If you missed it, click here to read Part 1 of this article now.


09/20/2016 Last Update

  1. Mold Allergy in Dogs,
  2. Bennett JW, Klich M, Mycotoxin, Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 2003 Jul; 16(3): 497–516, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
  3. Newberne et al, Acute Toxicity of Aflatoxin B in the Dog, Veterinary Pathology, July 1966 vol 3 no 4, pp 331-340
  4. Aflatoxin, Wikipedia, Subheading: “Animals”
  5. “Toxic pet food may have killed dozens of dogs”, News Services, Article ID 10771943, May 10, 2006
  6. Oregon Veterinary Medical Association (2011), Aflatoxin Toxicosis: Get the Facts
  7. Aflatoxin, Wikipedia
  • sharon

    My last show rottweiler was put down the day after the twin towers came down, they said due to liver failure. I’m sure it was aflatoxin poisoning now, my dog’s were on diamond dog food then. I stopped feeding it due to many others lost dog’s also. That were on diamond dog food, I wish I knew this then.

  • Ariel

    I weep for all of you as I read these posts. I especially weep for those of you who have had to bury your beloved furry children. I am so very sorry, so sorry. The loss of these wonderful creatures is a grief almost too heard to bear. May God help us all, creatures great and small. I send all of you my love.

  • InkedMarie

    Just going grainfree isn’t always the answer. Exactly what foods have you fed her?

  • Karen

    Karen Vance
    I;m having the same problem, I feed my girl non-grain and it;s not helping. The licking, biting, scratching and hair loss is awful. I don’t know what to do for her. She has hypothyroidism and given meds for it.

  • 1peytonplace703 .

    I have a 1 1/2 year old springer who has been plaqued with yeast and strep on her abdomin and feet since she was 4 months old. After going to a Dermotologist she was put on a 4 week regime of antibiotics, yeast meds, and steroids. She also had thyroid tests (negative). Now three weeks after she has finished the meds and is still on a 3 times a week yeast med preventive, she’s breaking out again. Her ears have always been clear. What now am I suppose to do. I have changed her dog food several times, the outbreak clears up and then starts back again. Any suggestions?

  • ChargerBug

    Beneful is absolutely garbage and rated a one star on this site.

  • Marcia Mills Hatman

    So good to see DFA getting this information out there. Beneful made my dog very sick, but we were among the lucky ones. I hope your article has been shared on Facebook. You can visit this page if you want the faces of the Angels behind some of the Beneful death statistics: Beneful has never once given us a useful or truthful response.

  • Shropshire Lass

    Research has shown that Milk Thistle Extract (80% Silymarin) can be beneficial in Aflatoxicity in broiler chickens. Take your dogs off ANYTHING containing grains,= and start them on grain-free food, keep it in a sealed container in a cool, dry environment, to reduce mold formation and supplement with Milk Thistle extract to help reverse any liver damage caused by Aflatoxins, Propylene Glycol, Sorbitol or Glycerine (used in many of the nastiest dry foods) that has been contaminated with killer, hepatotoxic Diethylene Glycol (Chinese manufactured industrial grade), or GMO Corn, Soy and Canola all laced with organ-destroying Round-up ..

  • Rhett J D.

    Why you feed your carnivores meat and not grain products…

  • Russ Benson

    Hope your dog is better. We had two Samoyeds and lost one of them several years ago. We have been feeding them Purina Beneful. The surviving one is now 10 years old but over the past several years has had mildly elevated liver enzymes and lost all her heavy fur, only to grow small patches of irregular fur. We thought she was hypothyroid but the vet could never really figure this out. We had switched our dogs foods to a vet recommended brand but this past holiday weekend ran out. I bought a small bag of beneful dog food at the store, and our Samoyed and small Bischon ate the food. One day later they both collapsed and are fighting for their life at the vet hospital. We may lose both of them. I am relatively sure we are dealing with sporadic aflotoxin exposure or maybe even chronic. Thats our experience.
    Heartbroken in KC

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  • MHerr

    Hi… so I’m at a loss and waiting on lab work for my 8.5 year old, male, yellow English Lab. My husband brought home a bag of Beneful last December and ever since our dog started eating that we noticed random patches of fur, underneath his top coat that were disappearing…we went to vet, did expensive lab work, no diagnosis but to wash him with special shampoo and give him some vitamins… well a month or so later, he appeared bloated… at first i thought he was over weight so I put him on lean dog food (rachael ray lean) and just last weekend, I had xrays done only to find inconclusive b/c of all the fluid in his abdomen, they drained a good amount out and showed me that there was blood in this fluid…it is now being analyzed…I’m worried that too much damage has been done but changing his dog food to a grain free formula, can’t hurt at this point? Has anyone had a similar experience?? Thanks in advance!

  • InkedMarie

    What do you feed now? What can you spend? Have you seen a holistic vet? If not, please make an appointment with one

  • I’ve got two! I started fostering for a labrador rescue, and since nobody suitable (and plenty of not-suitable) folks wanted them, I ended up adopting first one, then the other. Sadly, the reason no one wanted my chocolate girl is that she has mast cell tumors (cancer) was hit by a car when her FIRST adoptive family broke apart and ignored her, letting her run loose, and now has traumatic nightmares, chronic pain, a stiff gait from misplaced hips and legs, etc. and a permanent lump on her head. She is such a wonderful sweetie pie! Both older dogs have adapted very well, and my 13 yr old has proved that old dogs can learn many, many new tricks! Sadly, the itching, scratching, biting and licking of my chocolate girl is so severe I am miserable seeing her miserable. The vet who was treating her tumors claimed food allergies, lectured me on why I should buy special food from HER, and said to ignore the cancer till the allergies were worked out! Needless to say, I didn’t get the food and will not be going back to that vet (who treated me very differently when I was only a ‘foster’ for the dogs!)! It’s awful I can’t figure out what’s wrong with her- allergies, bug bites, etc., but I’m going crazy trying to figure it out. All 3 of our dogs have been on the same food for many years without problems – I just don’t think that’s the source- but this article is really scary!

  • unlimitedme

    Diatomaceous earth also works very well.

  • beaglemom

    Aw, poor sweetie! It’s amazing how they can adapt!

  • InkedMarie

    Are you me? LOL, we adopted a 9yr old dog a month ago. She had 15 teeth left when she got to rescue but a few days before we brought her home, she had them all removed. She is completely toothless. At the rescue, she ate Purina senior and at her other home, she ate a Blue Seal number something-or-other food. Glad someone else is adopting senior dogs!

  • ValerieNoyes

    Thank you for adopting a senior dog and giving him a great life!

  • beaglemom

    I adopted a 9 year old dog after he’d been fed Dog Chow for his entire life. He’s covered in lumps and came to me with a rotting mouth (had to have half his teeth removed). Please stop supporting the company that produces this horrendous food and markets it as “healthy”.

  • LabsRawesome

    Barbara, you should be happy that your springer has more energy. That means it is feeling better, and more healthy. Dog chow is all corn. How do you think you would feel eating nothing but GMO corn mixed with vitamins? I bet you would feel like crap, and have less energy too. And for the one that you thought was losing weight, it was probably just gaining more muscle, and looking slimmer. If you are dead set on Dog Chow, at least mix it with canned all meat food like Kirkland cuts in gravy Costco $18.99 for a 24 can pack. Or Tractor Supply’s 4health canned 99 cents per can. Oh btw, I also have a Springer Spaniel, he just turned 3, and if he wasn’t “hyper” I would be taking him to the vet to find out what was wrong with him. lol. Dogs that are healthy and feeling good, are supposed to be full of energy.

  • Pattyvaughn

    She’s going to put it down at age 9 because she got a Springer and can’t handle the energy level of a HEALTHY Springer, only a half poisoned sickly one.

  • So you think that your dog being “hyper” is a sign of bad food? Just like kids, different dogs are going to have different levels of activity. I’m willing to be that if you fed all your springers a higher quality food you’d find that being “hyper” is more common.

    And you didn’t bother saying what body type your springer was that lost weight. So I fail to see those “ill effects [sic]” you speak of.

    Oh, if you insist on Purina, at least use their Pro Plan or One formulas. The Dog Chow and Beneful are crap.

    Lastly, quality of life is just as important as quantity of life. I think it’s hilarious that you’d use such an extreme example (the 17 years to 9 years thing) in your post. I’ve said it a thousand times… there are people out there that have smoked their entire lives and live to be 90, does that mean doctors should recommend smoking to their patients?

  • Barbara

    My whole life my dogs have been on dog chow and lived to ripe old age. About 3 months ago I switched to blue buffalo grain freedom because my young springer has ear problems. The ear problems have cleared up but now she is digging up the back yard and is more hyper than the normal springer. My 5 year old springer is lossing weight as she recently quit eating the blue buffalo. I am going back to dog chow. This is not the first fancy dog food I have tried will ill effects. I know people hate purina but Id rather have a dog that live to be 17 than have to be put down at 9. Good luck to all and hope every one has a healthy dog.

  • losul

    With corn, peanuts, and cottonseed being the biggest culprits of aflatoxin contamination, there is even more reason currently to avoid corn,corn products, peanuts and P.B. in dog foods and/or treats. As of a couple of months ago, because of the drought conditions this past summer, the FDA already had relaxed standards in at least 5 states (maybe more now) in the corn belt, allowing them (with permission) to blend aflatoxin tainted corn with untainted corn.
    Dogs and cats probably already get plenty of aflatoxins secondarily from muscle meat, organ meat, milk products, and even eggs, from animals fed tainted grains, why up the ante even more?
    Adult humans can tolerate some aflatoxin much better than dogs. It is thought that as little as little as 100 to 300 ppb can cause acute toxicosis in dogs, when gotten regularly over a period of a few weeks to a few months. Even smaller amounts can certainly cause irreversible liver damage and/or cancer. Aflatoxins are some of the most carcinogenic and toxic substances ever known.
    With peanuts being grown underground, it makes them particularly susceptible to the molds that produce aflatoxins, both while being grown, and while in storage. Virtually all P.B. has detectible amounts of aflatoxin.
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines are still as follows as far as I know. But why don’t they call them regulations instead of guidelines?
    Aflatoxin Level
    (parts per billion)Commodities & Species20 ppbFor corn, peanut products, cottonseed meal and other animal feeds and feed ingredients intended for dairy animals; for animal species or uses not specified below, or when the intended use is not known.20 ppbFor corn, peanut products and other animal feeds and feed ingredients, but excluding cottonseed meal, intended for immature animals.100 ppbFor corn and peanut products intended for breeding beef cattle, breeding swine or mature poultry (e.g. laying hens).200 ppbFor corn and peanut products intended for finishing swine (100 pounds or more).300 ppbFor cottonseed meal intended for beef cattle, swine or poultry (regardless of age or breeding status).300 ppbFor corn and peanut products intended for finishing beef cattle (i.e., feedlot cattle).

  • Mybelgianboys

    With small breeds such as yours, you can afford to feed the best.  Buy Sojos Grain Free premix from (best price) and mix with lean, fresh RAW meat.  I buy 93/7 ground round when on sale. Cooking meat destroys all the enzymes that our dogs require to digest their food and the body robs the organs of enzymes to send same to the digestive tract. Put the meat in a bowl, add water as directed.  Mix well.  Add the correct amount of dehydrated Sojos, mix well and refrigerate.  Quick and easy and all FRESH NATURAL FOOD.  I have 7 Belgians and it costs a fortune to feed this way, but I do it.  No vet bills, healthy, shiny, happy dogs…… to read about Sojos, go go to www.

  • I think you are exactly right about feeding pets high quality or “human food,” that’s what I do, my pets are fine and I personally think it is cheaper in the long run. I usually get a rotisserie chicken already cooked, but I could easily purchase chicken or turkey on sale and cook it myself. I buy soup bones and cook them in the crock pot with a sprig of rosemary and give them to my dogs to chew, which they love. And I also brush their teeth everyday (my cat’s too) to keep them healthy.

  • jennifer

    hi my names jennifer I buy purina dog chow and now both my big and little dog is having bloody stools. Just thought I would put that here so others would know.

  • Justin Rail
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  • Shawna

    I’m so sorry for your loss Barbara!! 🙁

    Please do keep us updated on your findings.

    May your two pups rest in peace!!

  • Barbara

    I had 2 of my 3 dogs die from Aflatoxin and the 3rd in hospital for 4 days, just managed to save her. Takes them down so quickly only a look in their eye that they are not happy. I suspect dry dog food, only thing they had in common. Tackling the company as we speak. In Australia, where I live.

  • Hi,  I have a Queensland Blue Heeler.  The first year of her life she was at the vets every six weeks getting antibiotics and blood tests, put on Iams food.  3 other dogs from that kennel had the same thing and one died.  I got a new vet she said to get Prozyme (powder) supplements and it should clear up the vomiting and diarrhea.  It did and I keep some on hand in case she has any digestion/intestional problems.  She is now 7 and doing fine.  Ask your vet. 

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  • Hi Kelley, please let me know what the vet says? I hope your baby is feeling better today. :-}

  • Kelley

    Hello Toxed2Loss, Thank you for your insight and encouraging words. I have not spoken yet with the vet today, however I will check out the other website you have suggested. Thx

  • Kelley, I’m so sorry you are going through this. Hopefully your vet has gotten back to you by now. First off, let me gently remind you, you are already helping your dog. You are deciding to buy a healthier food. You are on the right track. Until you hear from your vet, don’t assume the worst. That will only stress you and your dog.

    Choose a food that is grain and potato free. Glutens and lectins harm dogs stomach linings. Feel up to doing more research? It might help pass the time, while you wait… Check out He’s a vet. He has a lot to say about damage to dogs intestinal system by grains, etc. you just might get more answers. :-}

  • Kelley

    I cannot believe what I am reading. I am scared to death. My golden just turned 10. We have recently encountered several moths flying around our home and have been unable to determine the source. Coincidently, a couple of weeks ago our golden became quite ill. She started vomiting and having diarrhea (some with blood). We’ve been to the vet twice and on the phone with them several times. She has had blood tests and has been given fluids with IV. She has had two shots to keep her from vomiting. When she seemed to be doing better I took a tiny amount of dogfood and mixed it into her “bland” diet (boiled chicken breasts and rice). She vomited that night. The vet was suspecting some sort of bacteria and put our doggie on an antibiotic. We changed her dog food from IAMS to Purina One Healthy Weight when the last recall was done. I have forwarded my findings from this website to my vet and am waiting to hear back from her as I type. It is all starting to make sense about the moths now. I am really scared that since I’m seeing some of the signs of poisoning that it may already be too late. 🙁

  • Lea-ann

    we only feed our doggies ‘real food’: raw meats mixed with pureed cooked veggies & fruits (plus eggs, yogurt, cheese). I make big batches at a time & freeze. Our 3 doggies, all rescues no longer have any food issues they arrived with: excessive scratching, bad breath, stinky poo, etc. This was the best decision for our ‘kids’ escpecially after reading all the horror stories about commercial dog food.

  • Terra T

    I just wanted to make people aware of our situation. My Dog Madison was eating Dow Chow for 9 years; but we recently switched our dogs to Diamond Dog Food because we thought it would be better for my aging dog. We bought 2 bags. The first bag we mixed with the original dog food. The second bag we opened about 2 weeks ago and were serving it to our 3 dogs by itself. Last weekend, my dog Madison suddenly stopped eating. However, she still wanted to go on walks, she played ball and even ran in the park. She continued to not eat and when she didn’t greet me at the door when I came home from work on Tuesday, I knew something was wrong and took her to the vet. After all of their tests, they were only able to tell me she had renal failure and had no idea why. She became very lathargic and sick. We had to put her down. Although she was 9, I just feel that it wasn’t her time. Now, I have noticed that my other 2 dogs aren’t eating thier diamond dog food anymore either. One of them is refusing to eat boiled checken or anything else I offer him. I think this food may be bad. Is anyone else experiencing the same problem with Diamond Dog Food? It is just too strange that the other dogs are refusing to eat it now, too.

  • Jeremy

    Jenny R. I just finished reading your post and Purina is HORRIBLE!!! I would not trust any “grain” dog foods honestly. I would choose to feed him certain human foods honestly, he would be happier and probably live longer as humans have learned to. 🙂

  • Jeremy

    My grandmas dog has had signs like these for 6 months or more now and she took him 2 the vet and they say allergies? (chewing paws/severe itching and scabs on body and ears/black stuff around genitalia area. I told her to go to multiple vets which was stupid for me to say as she lives in a federally subsidized building for the elderly and doesn’t have the money. I also noticed weird bugs crawling round which I found to be flour bugs or as she called em mealy bugs. I think she should probably just feed him “human” food as its called because I think it would do him more good and make him live a happier lifestyle because who knows how long he will live? Also I know of people who have fed their animals “people” food their whole life and never had any negative consequences. People I know been to the vet to get an opinion and been told their animal was in very good health. I’m 23 years old and have not come from a RICH family and all the pets I have owned growing up have been fed the like of Iams etc. and all died prematurally,( MY cat of 9 yrs died from tumors all over her body suddenly when I was 17which was devastating) I’m no animal expert but I’m just saying keep what I say with an open mind and believe in what you believe not what you are told. Thanks for your time if you read all of this .

  • Jenny R.

    I am almost in tears reading this. Both my childhood dog and then my first dog as an adult died of liver cancer. Granted, they were both 14 when they were put down, but they both had been in severe pain silently (dogs instintively hide pain so they don’t appear week to predators) and without symptoms for several months, maybe even over a year. I was surprised when my adulthood dog became very ill very suddenly because she was spry and very healthy for her age, and her bread has a long life expectancy. Both were fed Purina Dog Chow their entire lives. I strongly suspect mycotoxes.
    I have never heard of this problem with cheap dog food. My Dad has sworn up and down that pet store foods were a rip off and that Purina was a reputable brand. Even Consumer Reports said that inexpensive foods were nutriently superier to many expensive dog foods. They said that dogs don’t need human-grade food and that byproduct are as good as meat–humans could eat them if we weren’t so squeamish. Consumer Reports came to these conclusion after interviewing vetrinarians from the 3 largest sellers of dog food.
    My dog is on Blue Longevity (4 stars) for his weight problem, but I am switching to the best grain-free dog food I can afford–Blue Wilderness dry–on my next purchase. I will adjust his portions for calories and add sodium-free broth and some green beans to satisfy his hunger. I am sharing this article on facebook.

  • Wow, Mike — so glad I stumbled onto your website while reading up on what we are feeding our dog for her PLE.

    There is some scary stuff going on out there. Just thinking about all the possible toxins in dog food is really frightening. The worst thing I can recall finding in a bag of food (that I am aware of!) is a rather large nut from a piece of machinery. That was scary enough, but at least it was big enough to see and throw away!

    I can see I’m going to have to do some studying here… thanks for making this information available! 🙂

  • HI Kathy… Hi Tek Rations is already on my To Do list. But due to our current backlog of products for review, it could be a while longer before we get to it. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Kathy S Watts

    I couldn’t find Hi-Tek Rations which is something my local pet store just started offering. I bought the chicken. It was on sale which looked good to me because I am fostering 2 lab puppies. This store only carries natural and grain free products which this is but the 5th ingredient is pork meal which my vet said to keep away from my 2 yr old terrier mix and I assume the puppies too. Actually she said no pork. Pork meal probably is totally different The terrier just got home from 2 days of a hospital stay for mild case of pancreatitis. So I’m trying to be very careful as to what I feed all the dogs. I’m getting ready to just start making their food myself. At least I’ll know exactly what’s in it.

  • Hi Brandon… Nutram is already on my To Do list. However, due to our current backlog of products for review, it could be a while longer before we get to it. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Hi Erin… I’m sure there are some purists who believe plastic storage of any kind is not good for the storage of either human or pet food. However, I don’t see the problem at all. My only complains about accessory storage (Tupperware, plastic pails and the like are twofold: (1) the air space that grows as the food content within them steadily diminishes and (2) the loss of manufacturing information (batch data, Best By dates, etc.) that comes from separating the food from its packaging.

  • erin c.

    Is it ok to store kibble in Tupperware cereal containers?

    I buy a small bag and pour it out of the bag into the container.

  • Brandon W

    Alright,I can understand why I guess. I was looking at different brands that are available in my area. I noticed you do not have a review on Nutram. I found it to be good for my dog when she was a pup,never had problems till I switched to a mass produced brand. They (Nutram) do offer a grain free dry food. I had good results with the puppy formula from them so im debating if I should try the grain free product. I do also like the qualities of Orijen,they have all the qualities I was told to look for. Is it possible to review that brand so I may have an idea of their rating if they do not like the Orijen.

  • Hi Brandon… You may want to try a grain free dog food or a hypoallergenic recipe. Wish I could be more help. Unfortunately, I cannot provide customized reviews and product recommendations for each reader. For more information, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Brandon W

    Hey Mike

    This is a great website,I wish i found it sooner. I noticed symptoms in my dog,and thought her hair loss was just shedding,but it had got worse. I decided to research what it could be instead of bringing her to the vet. I find they dont use the most effective,or natural ways of diagnosing a dog. Plus it can be costly. Im almost a hundred percent sure it is her food. She displays most if not all of the reactions. Some not as much,others more often. I also noticed the family dog as well with the majority of these reactions.Some of the symptoms got worse in my dog when I moved back home.Her diet was changed again and switched her to the family dogs food,iams adult instead of buying to kinds.She was on Nutram as a puppy, that got expensive on my own so I decided to get a brand that was a little less expensive and tried to avoid by-products I ended up choosing Pedigree. After that I started to noticed the symptoms in her.After learning it could be allergies I tried to search for all possible signs a dog may show.The family dog has always had ear problems,sensitive,infections,and warm. He always chews shit paws,and rubs his but on the floor.This is what leads me to believe it is the food,when she was switched some signs got minor some worse.Its when I noticed the hair I started to worry,specially when it got worse. So,I was looking at the types of food to start switching them to. I read some reviews of some brands. Some of the users comments have made me undecided and not sure what brand would be the most effective. I got some feedback from another forum for animal lovers about what ingredient it could be and was told to put her on something holistic,with no grains and no chicken. Is it at all possible to give me some suggestions as to what food is best and that you have heard/had about good results with ? There are so many selections and views of whats good or bad im lost as to what to pick. Do you think im in the right direction with the thought that it is their diet ? Im in canada,so not sure if that helps narrow down products. Thanks in advance for all the help. Id appreciate any feedback from anyone else as well that has info on this subject or if you went through it with your dog.

  • Meagan

    Thanks Mike. I do leave the bag in there as well with the food still in the bag, but only after reading your site :). I never would have thought of having the product info for recalls.
    Thanks so much for this website and all your hardwork!

  • Hi Meagan… Yes, there’s air inside the container, too. So, you always want to squeeze all the air out of the bag first. And besides, you never want to lose the manufacturing information (lot numbers, Best By dates, etc.) just in case of a product recall. Thanks for that excellent question.

  • Meagan

    I put my opened bag of dog food in a plastic storage bin(made for dog food). Do I still need to re-seal the bag if its in a closed container?

  • Kassie

    I’m actually taking it back now. I couldn’t sleep over this.

  • Melissa


    I would take that bag back to the place of purchase and immediately switch brands. If you are saying that there appears to be unground hair bits sticking out of the kibble(and I have seen that before over the years) why would you want to feed it anyway even if its not considered “contaminated’?

  • Hi Kassie… Not sure I understand what you mean by “crawling with hair”. In any case, it does sound like your particular bag of food is contaminated. I’m not aware of any recall. Could just be your bag got wet during storage. I’d recommend you contact Pedigree Customer Service.

  • Mike P

    Pedigree with 16 red flag items appears toxic without the hair Kassie . Even the hairless Pedigree is garbage food . Maybe you could buy a 3 or 4 star food for the same amount you pay for Pedigree .

  • Kassie

    I’ve been feeding my dogs Pedigree for a long time. The new bag I just bought, seems to be crawling with hair! I have never seen this in my dog’s food before & it scares me. I can’t find anything on it, I just want to be safe. I’m hoping there isn’t a recall. I really don’t want my animals eating tainted food! Please help.

  • Hi Ray… I’m no fan of these dispensers because they allow the dog to feed himself freely. And an animal can easily get too much food each day. Overfeeding in large breed puppies is now considered the leading cause of skeletal disease and hip dysplasia in adult dogs.

  • Ray

    Also, even when one feeds grain-free canned food that’s tightly sealed and stored, I would assume that we should still wash their bowls out daily just the same. For this is a potential hazard as well.

  • Ray

    What do you think of these dog food dispensers that dispense the food directly into the dish as the pet feeds in it? Would this be another concern for infestation?

  • annebkaba

    There is a magazine called The Whole Dog Journal which is available online ( or in specialty animal supply shops. Every February, they feature an article about dog foods. I strongly suggest that anyone concerned with the quality of the food they are feeding their dogs read this article. They do a great job of explaining what is and is not a good ingredient and why. I have no affiliation with them, I just like the magazine.

    I am currently fostering a lab with severe allergies, not uncommon in the breed. With a limited ingredient food and a much smaller dose of steroids than he’d been on for years, he is finally looking and feeling healthy. Good quality foods make a huge difference to our dogs, just like with ourselves.

  • Jonathan

    Well, BRI, this could be a very dangerous condition that will require a vet. If this is still going on, you need to get her to a doggy doc right away. And, of course, stop using Pedigree.

  • BRI

    I have a german pointer. we recently bought her a bag of pedigree dog food. Not even an hour after she ate the food she couldnt stand on her paws. Her stomach went in as if she hadnt eaten in months. Would anyone know what could be the cause of this? she has eaten this brand since she was a pup it has never effected her.

  • Brad

    What has helped us with our dogs food is the book by Ann Martin called FOOD PETS DIE FOR, you can get it pretty cheap, used, on Amazon, it is stunning about the crap that these greed motivated BIG companies put into dog foods! all the garbage that is unusable by the human food industries is put into pet foods! and they are dying from it.

  • Mary

    I have used Avoderm for over 10 years. So far there has not been a recall that I know of. I also give them vegies from the garden. There favorite snack seems to be zucchinis. It’s a great way to clean there teeth. Apples are great for teeth cleaning.

  • Brenda

    I had a dalmatian that ate Beneful most of his life. He developed urate stones and had surgery at the age of 11. 8 month later I lost him to a swift an brutal case of liver cancer. He ate Science Diet U/D after the urate surgery. The vet said there had been no sign of cancer when he had the stone surgery. Makes you wonder.
    I am just now doing research to change the food my dogs are eating. They have been on Iams large breed for over 2 yrs. One has hot spots and general itching. He is on a round of steriods for that problem. Two don’t want to eat sometimes. Recently we have had some vomitting and stool issues. I had no idea about some of the things I am learning. Great info. Thanks!

  • Hi Ruth… So sorry to hear about your son’s dog. Corn isn’t necessarily the culprit. Next time, though, try to avoid any dog foods rated just 1 or 2 stars. Look for 3, 4 or 5-star foods that fit your budget. If you believe grains cause problems, then try a quality grain-free food. Hope this helps.

  • Ruth

    We just had to put my Son’s dog down last night and I believe all of her problems came from the dog food. She never had cheap or generic food, but she still got pancriatic cancer which spread to her liver. She had always been a beautiful healthy dog and just in the last month or two she started showing signs of feeling bad and loss of stamina. We get a lot of our foods from other countries and they definately don’t care. We are at a loss as to what to feed our dogs, we reciently rescued 2 cocker spaniels and we always read the labels and don’t buy anything with corn in it, but what can we do??

  • Sheatina

    This is so sad indeed. I have been feeding my dogs Life’s Abundance and it has never been recalled. It is more expensive, but well worth the price. I had a friend recently lose a dog to likely poisoning in Eukanuba. She is waiting on test results from the food.
    If you would like info about this good food, please contact me. Blessings to all.

  • kanya

    I had two dogs die from giving them diamond dryfood. Realized when the company recalled or had issues with food, it was too late. The bag I had in my possession were the dates the company recalled. Very fine, vivacious, young dogs lost there life because of diamond.
    Very angry at this company. I will not buy cheap dogfood anymore for this reason.

  • Hi Kellie… mites can be a problem with any dog food containing cheap cereal grains. Although your vet has surely made a savvy diagnosis, I’d be inclined to focus more on the ingredients in the food rather than whether or not it is canned or dry. A three, four or five-star grain-free product would probably be an excellent place to start. Hope this helps.

  • Kellie

    My dog was just diagnosed with allergies to storage mites and dust mites and my vet suggested a wet food diet. Any suggestions on what to look for in a wet food and/or will a grain free food be good enough?

  • Hi De… There are a number of consumer testing labs around the country. But looking for a possible toxin in a package of dog food is like trying to find that proverbial needle in a haystack. Testing labs charge you “by the test” for each specific toxin. And there are literally hundreds of different possible toxic agents to consider. Individual tests can cost hundreds of dollars each. For multiple “suspects” your bill could easily reach into the thousands.

    What would help you save the most money is if you had some particular toxin already in mind. Then, the lab could run a test for just that specific agent (by itself).

    Ask your vet if he or she has a particular chemical suspect in mind.

    If you can handle the expense, try contacting Microbac Laboratories in Warrendale, PA at 724-772-0610. I’ve never used them myself but they appear to be at least interested in doing this type of work. Hope this helps.

  • De Davis

    Is there somewhere I could get dry dog food tested? My 8 yr old mixed breed died from sudden liver failure about three weeks ago. I suspect the dog food .

  • Hi Brenda… Haven’t yet reviewed that dog food. But thanks to your suggestion, I’m adding it to my “to do” list.

  • Brenda

    I feed my dogs Beef n’ more, is it a good brand to feed my dog?

  • Hi Shirley… I know how you feel! The world of commercial dog foods IS confusing (indeed). That’s why I created this website. You certainly can continue feeding a dog food that you (and your pets) both like. But it never hurts to do a little comparative “shopping”. If you have any doubts about your current dog food, try looking through some of the better-rated products. There are some really great dog foods out there. I plan to cover hundreds more over the next year… so if you can’t find one you really like, then stop back again. And I welcome any suggestions you have for others you’d like me to review.

  • I have three breeds of dogs which I show in conformation. Papillon Tibetan Spaniel and SmoothCoat Chihuahua and have been feeding Purina Pro Plan for years because it is one of the foods that wasnt recalled.
    Now I am completely confused and wonder what dry food to buy!!!