February 23, 2006

bad press for greenies

Greenies to Change Dog Treat Packaging

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The maker of Greenies, the country's best-selling dog treat, said Wednesday it plans to change its packaging in response to complaints from some pet owners and veterinarians that the treat may pose a health hazard to some dogs.

S&M NuTec, based in North Kansas City, also said it may remove a claim that Greenies are fully edible, saying its own study shows a dog can only digest up to 85 percent of the bone-shaped treat. [...] Roetheli said the company plans to enlarge and expand wording on the packaging that tells dog owners to carefully monitor their pets when feeding them Greenies and make sure they feed their dog the right size of treat. The company has long warned that dogs who gulp their food or otherwise do not adequately chew Greenies could have trouble digesting the treat, as could animals eating Greenies that are too big or too small for them.

NuTec has taken a beating in the media in recent weeks, as CNN and several newspapers and local TV stations across the country reported claims from veterinarians and angry pet owners that Greenies -- 315 million of which were sold last year -- were responsible for throat and intestinal blockages in their dogs. According to CNN, at least 13 dogs have died in incidents involving Greenies. [...]

Roetheli said he didn't know whether the media controversy would significantly hurt sales, which totaled $340 million last year. he stressed that Greenies are fundamentally safe, considering the number of incidents involving millions of Greenies sold each year, a figure he put at up to one in 8 million, under the worst-case scenario. He added that too little focus has been given to the ability of Greenies to help keep dogs' teeth clean, saying complications from gum and tooth decay cut three to five years off a dog's life. The treat bears the seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

brandy is much more well-behaved with greenies than with rawhide pieces, chewing on them frantically, but not wolfing them down. as to the tooth-cleaning effect... if that's what you buy greenies for, you may as well feed the dog rose petals against bad breath.

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