How Can We Continue to Trust Commercial Dog Food?

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think that pet owners should have to be concerned that the dog food they buy is going to kill their dogs. I thought the industry had learned their lesson in 2007 when every dog food manufactured in China was recalled because it was tainted with Melamine.

But still, there’s the ongoing situation with chicken jerky treats produced in China, and now there’s something new that is absolutely mind blowing, and deeply disturbing.

On February 3, Evangers announced a voluntary recall for their Hunks of Beef canned dog food, because it tested positive for pentobarbital. Pentobarbital is the drug used to euthanize pets.


(photo: Evangers)

I know what you’re thinking. What? How did Pentobarbital get into cans of dog food? Good question. I’m hoping that Evangers will be able to provide an answer, and I’m hoping they get to the bottom of it pretty fast. I can only think of two ways this chemical could logically have ended up in cans of dog food: either someone tainted the food purposely, or the food was rendered from euthanized animals. Whatever the case may be, there’s no excuse for it.

Here are the lot numbers affected and the states where they were distributed:

Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

The food was manufactured the week of June 6 – June 13, 2016 with lot numbers that start with 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB, and have an expiration date of June 2020. The second half of the barcode reads 20109, which can be found on the back of the product label.

Evangers dog food has consistently been rated among the best dog foods on the market.

When D. and I went on the defensive in 2007 after the melamine recall and searched for a food we could trust, Evangers was one of the foods we looked at. It had a reputation for being high quality and trustworthy. In 2003, Evanger’s was the first pet food company to create a food that was packed by hand instead of machine by putting whole pieces of fresh meat and vegetables into the cans. This process started a new trend in pet food, Evangers called it “People Food for Pets™.” They claim that it is made of human grade ingredients.

But things were already going wrong for the company and the public just didn’t know about it. Between 2006 and 2008, things had started getting weird at Evangers. Health inspectors found rotting carcasses and maggot-infested grease traps on the property of their Wheeling plant. The village fined them in excess of 300,000 dollars, and Evangers took the decision to court, in a case that lasted until 2012. (the court upheld the decision).

In December 2012, the FDA discovered that Evangers Lamb and Rice food and their Grain Free Duck food for dogs and cats didn’t have lamb or duck in it. Not even a little — it was just plain old beef. Then the company posted test results defending themselves that turned out to be the test results from a entirely different brand of duck food for dogs.

Then, in September of 2012, Evangers was cited and fined again for “foul and offensive odors” causing a public nuisance to neighboring properties to their Wheeling plant. tThe stench was apparently, unbearable.

In January of this year, the president of Evangers was arrested and charged with bribing a witness in a court case against his company regarding the theft of gas and electric to his food plant. Obviously, there are some financial problems going on over at Evangers, and I’m not buying their “our supplier disappointed us” excuse for this month’s recall. In simple language, all their statement means is that they don’t know with 100% certainty what their meat supplier is giving them…and that’s no way to run a business where the lives of our most vulnerable family members are at stake.

Evangers has also been accused of patent infringement, and had a recall last year because there were metal tags in their chicken food for dogs.
(Picture Credit: WILX 10 NBC News)


The Mael family. Their pug, Talula died from eating Evangers, and their other three dogs are sick.   

Should we, as pet owners, really have to follow the lives of pet food manufacturers and executives so closely?   Shouldn’t we, as consumers, expect that the product we are buying is what it is advertised to be? Whom can we trust?

I’ll tell you exactly whom you can trust. YOU. That’s it. As the Trump administration begins to roll back regulations for businesses and manufacturers, things are only likely to get worse. If we can’t count on safe food from commercial suppliers now, how will we be able to count on it after plant regulations are relaxed?
If you can cook for your pets, do it! If you already cook for your pets, please share a recipe in the comments here so we can all join you.

Additional reading about the recall:
Poisoned Pets
Dog Food Advisor

We are also always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons thanks(we are still trusting Ainsworth foods),  Cesar coupons, or milkbone coupons that  you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send.

And if you come across an errant box of Purina Busy HeartyHides for sale on amazon or ebay, for God’s sake, send them to us!

I also have a wishlist of items that we just can’t afford, but would make life a whole lot easier. It has recently been updated. Click the link below to view. Topping the list is a Thundershirt for Maria.

Things we need Up on the Woof






About yelodoggie

Ariel C. Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. They have been involved in pet rescue for over twenty-five years. They have written two books about their true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and a guide to animal advocacy using the Internet as a tool: How to Change the World in 30 Seconds". Wulff also wrote a pet column and book review column for the Examiner, and was a contributing editor for They attribute their love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
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3 Responses to How Can We Continue to Trust Commercial Dog Food?

  1. kathyg92256 says:

    We must not let the new administration roll back some very important regulations regarding the environment, animals and food in general for people and for animals.


  2. We feed our 85 pound husky mix a combination of dry kibble (Purina One, and we check the label to make sure that meat is the 1st ingredient), raw meat – usually chicken leg quarters, and chicken livers. He gets 6 oz of meat, and 2 oz of chicken livers.

    Our trainer suggested a raw meat diet, and when we researched it, we found that raw meat bones won’t splinter like cooked bones, and that this diet really makes the poops nice and firm. We also put some coconut oil and a helping of DinoVite vitamin supplement in the meal as well. Our dog really loves his dinner (we feed twice a day – morning and evening) and eats every last bite.


  3. Pingback: Year End Update – Up on the Woof | Up on the Woof

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