Sergeant’s faces lawsuit over indigestible dog treats, claims Pur Luv treats are dangerous

Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, maker of Sentry Pur Luv dog treats, is facing a lawsuit that claims the treats are harmful and potentially deadly for pets.

Ryan Bietsch, Bryan Schneider and Michael Pfortmiller filed the lawsuit on June 19 in United States District Court in Illinois against Sergeant’s, claiming its line of Pur Luv pet treats are dangerous for dogs.

Rock-hard chunks

The lawsuit said some of the parts of the semi-soft dog treats are indigestible, don’t dissolve or break down after dogs eat them, and instead form into “rock-hard chunks” that can obstruct a pet’s bowel causing serious injuries including death.

All three said, after their dogs consumed the treats, the dogs developed serious health problems, requiring extensive veterinary care. While Schneider’s dog, Tank, and Pfortmiller’s dog, Ginger, recovered after passing “a large chunk of red material, identical to the center of the treats,” Bietsch alleges his dog, Wrigley, required surgery, but still died.

All three say that their pets’ veterinarians linked the dogs’ health problems to the Pur Luv treats.

Tests prove allegations

To prove their allegations, they enlisted the help of Kelly Swanson, professor of animal and nutrition sciences at the University of Illinois Department of Animal Sciences, to study the treats. Because, in order for the treats to be safe, they must be partially or completely digested in the gastric and intestinal phases to avoid gastrointestinal blockage.

To find out whether dog’s can digest the treats, a safe and effective method to test for these characteristics without risking the dog’s health is through an in vitro (in glass) assay technique. The test mimics the pet’s digestive processes by simulating the gastric and small intestinal conditions.

Swanson’s test demonstrated the treats do not properly dissolve when exposed to gastric acids, such as those present in a dog’s stomach.

The test found that after six hours, while the treats that were immersed in the simulated contents of a dog’s stomach, 80% of the Pur Luv treat remained undigested and after 18 hours, 40% of the treat remained undigested.

The seven-count complaint against Sergeant’s includes allegations of violations of federal law and state consumer fraud laws in Illinois and Kentucky, as well as breaches of implied and express warranties.

The suit is seeking class status for those who purchased the dog treat brand, and is also seeking more than $5 million in damages plus court costs.

This is not the first time that Sergeant’s has faced a lawsuit over Sentry’s indigestible Pur Luv dog treats, a previous complaint was filed in 2013 by the same law firm that is representing the current plaintiffs, Joseph Siprut in Duran v. Sergeant’s Pet Care Products Inc., et al., Case No. 1:2013cv00762 U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Ill.

Source: United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois-Eastern Division case number 1:15-cv-05432

donate poisoned pets

Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (66) Write a comment

  1. Gracie has been eating these for years with no problems at all. I do use a branch lopper to cut them into bite sized pieces. Other than that it’s all I do.

    Reply

  2. My dog (Boxer Shepard) had vomited undigested pieces on middle of night twice, then vomited bile. I first thought it was rocks then realized it was PUR LUV grande bones given 1-2 days prior. I tried calling number on package but just directs to website. Agree very dangerous!

    Reply

  3. I gave one Pur Luv treat to my dog 2 days ago and today he threw up nearly the entire treat in three large chunks, with vomiting foamy bile throughout the house. That was his first and last of that treat. From now on I will check on line for reviews before giving him new treats.

    Reply

        • PurLuv ingredients: Brown Rice Flour, Turkey, Ancient Grain Blend (Barley Flour,Spelt Flour, Quinoa Flour), Pregelatinized Rice Flour, Driedground Chicken Cartilage, Rice Syrup, Dried Rice Syrup, Lentilflour, Pumpkin, Flax Seed Meal, Inulin, Gelatin, Honey,Propionic Acid (A Preservative), Monoglycerides, Sulfuric Acid,Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Natural Smoke Flavor, Caramel,Tocopherol (A Preservative), Turmeric, Calcium Sulfate.

          The only ingredient that a dog should be eating is turkey (and maybe pumpkin and honey) and when it’s just turkey it includes the water weight. I’d recommend a freeze dried snack instead. Try PureBites freeze dried for something digestible and good for teeth.

          Reply

  4. OMG! My lab is getting really sick 2. About 3 days after giving him on of those bones he started to vomit, eating less and less. Found big chuncks of something red in his poop. Thats when I put 1&1 together. The pieces look like rubber. I read up about those bones. This seems to be the cause of his misery. This manufacturer had a law suit 2015 because dogs died after eating those. I will take him to the vet.. Why are they still sold at the pet store. Bought mine at Petco. I contacted them and they said, they can not answer to any open ligations, but they are standing behind the product they are selling. I definitely report this to the FDA.

    Reply

  5. I wish I read this sooner. My dog is in the hospital with a massive blockage causing internal bleeding. She most likley will need surgery to have this bone removed. Why are they still selling these?

    Reply

  6. I am so glad I found this article, I just bought this product today for my pup. I am returning them and reporting this to the store . Hope all having health issues get better very soon.

    Reply

  7. My dog Sampson is a 9 year old English bull dog! Is so sick right now from Pur Luv Grande Bacon Flavor Bones! He has been to the vet on intro venous , had blood work done showed infection , then Xray of his stomach showed chunks sitting in his stomach! On Sat January 13th 2018 gave my dog just one bone! Within 8 hrs he was vomiting! On Monday the 15th was rushed to the Animal Hospital! Today January 18th took my dog back to the vet after being on medication his white cell count is even higher than when this started! He was given another med and fluids for dehydration! These chunks pass so slowly through our dogs digestive system that they caused serious infection of his blood, intestines and stomach! He barely moves, eats the bland diet food vet gave and a struggle to get him to drink! He has had 2 bowl movements since last Saturday ! One on Wed and on Thursday rock hard red chucks present in his stool! So Vet believes antibiotics are not working because the body is still passing this crap! and He is scheduled for Ultra sound tomorrow! She believes the outer casing to the bone is still in his stomach! This has been a night mare to us! I have made a written complaint with the FDA, Called the store purchased from, Called the manufacturer Sergeant pet care products InC! Talked to there vet in pet care ! Told me they never heard of this before ever! So those of you above and your poor pets they LIED! there have been 2 Law suits against them for these same bones! and a petition signed by 9000 people! What is it going to take to get these off the shelf? I was so horrified when I learned of the prior law suit and read each and every one of your comments I cried!

    Reply

    • I am so sorry for you and your poor dog. I will put you in my prayers and please know that your report to the FDA does not fall on deaf ears but adds on more voice to this tragic chorus of grieving pet parents. It does make a difference – every report is taken seriously! Please know that.

      Reply

    • And hopefully they listen at the store level as well. I worked in a retail environment for 8 years and even when we couldn’t remove a product we would literally tell people at the check out about products that were reported to is as dangerous and offer alternatives. People would take us up on that more often than not. So hopefully Sampson is feeling better today and the FDA and the store are doing what they can to prevent this in the future.

      Reply

  8. This is for a friend’s dog who is very sick from this in ri…good luck jack hen hope your fur buddy makes a full recovery pos!

    Reply

  9. I just bought these treats for my German Sheppard on Christmas. She started with diarrhea the day after i gave her the first treat, since she suffers from allergies i thought it was just a flare up. Today she vomited red and white chunks after she ate two of those snacks. I am really concern now

    Reply

    • If you’re concerned, the vet is a quick way to ease a troubled mind. I know our German Shepherd regularly had issues like these so sometimes we would attempt to wait it out, but there is no substitute for good old vet check up.

      When to visit vet for sure: If dog is having problems with or not eating, drinking, urinating, or defecating. If your dog’s gums are pale. If the dog is lethargic and showing extreme disinterest in their usual favorites for more than an hour or so.

      If it’s just diarrhea sometimes pumpkin or sweet potato can help solidify things back up. Hope your doggy feels better!

      Reply

      • Thank you Cassandra for reminder her to take her dog to the vet. It’s always the best thing to do – especially if the dog is having issues! Thank you as well for giving her the symptoms of serious illness.

        Reply

  10. I gave two mini bones (a day apart) to my mini poodle two days ago and she has been puking chunks ever since. She still eats on and off and is pooping ok….but I’m really nervous if there are still chunks in there that will cause problems later. I am shocked that this product is allowed to remain on shelves and will be filing a report at the link above. Has anyone received helpful advice from their vet on how to treat at home? I am really hoping she will not need vet care but almost feel like I should take her to make sure problems don’t happen later.

    Reply

    • I am so so so sorry Ann! Our prayers and thoughts are with you! We need to get them off the shelves or at least make every one aware of the there dangers! I have a petition on my page! Our dog is so deathly ill right now! OUR heart breaks for you!

      Reply

  11. My dog is popping and vomiting and cannot even get up of the floor. He is so sick. He’s had these treats for 4 days, one a day. This is terrible. It came on all of a sudden and we are terrified. Because it is coming out both ends, we don’t think he is blocked. He ate and drank fine this morning.

    Reply

  12. This product caused bloody diarrhea in my dog. My dog is now being hospitalized at my Vet.

    Reply

  13. I work at a pet specialty retailer that sells these and we really pride ourselves on getting to know our product. Unfortunately, on store level there isn’t a lot we can do. Even if over 100 people boycott it might hurt one location a lot and still not be enough for the company to take away the treats. Just remember you vote with your dollar, if you are buying these treats you are saying, “I’ll take that chance” and try to let everyone know. I don’t recommend avoiding the store entirely because then you miss your chance to stop someone else from buying them unwittingly. Make a point to go there and walk right past the treats. If a lower percentage of shoppers chooses those items then the items that are more popular will get better locations, sales, and the non-sellers will diminish. By pulling yourself out of the store your voice is lost.We have been successful with getting harmful things banned from our store, but it sometimes takes years. On our level we try to keep stock low and we don’t put them on end caps or do anything when they go on sale, and if people ask us we tell the truth. “The first 4 ingredients are flour, I don’t know if you’ve ever made cookies with too much flour, but chances are, if you even ate them that your stomach did not feel great about it.”

    Reply

    • I guess what it really comes down to is – what can you live with. Should one of your customer’s dogs die from the treat how could you face them and say you did your best? Most consumers are not aware that a product on the shelf may harm or even kill their dog – so how can they know they even have a vote. Ultimately, they shouldn’t even been given the option to “vote” with their wallets. Nor should you. Remove all dangerous products from your shelves. Period. Full stop.

      Reply

  14. My pup had to have a large piece removed by surgery, then complications, a second, now she has digestive problems. Is there any help out there?

    Reply

  15. My dog almost died from PUR LUV Grande Bacon Chew purchased at Tractor Supply. I’m really lucky, she’s recovering. What a terrible feeling, knowing I bought these expensive ‘treats’ and almost killed her because I didn’t do my research.
    The fact that these companies are still selling these shows that profit is more important that our companions.

    Reply

  16. I live in canada and all of a sudden couldn’t find the pur luv products..our golden retriever has eaten these treats for three years no problem. We used the small peanut butter and bacon mini bones..is this the same in Canada as in USA?

    Reply

    • May be not but if they are please do not ever give your dog these treats! My dog is deathly ill ! Please get away from them you have been lucky not sure how! Put just think the dogs are pooping out hard rocks! If they make it through they come our like hard rocks! They might taste good but please they are deadly dangerous!

      Reply

  17. My dog, Macie just threw up twice today from this stuff! Both incidents contained huge chunks of this ‘treat’! Why is this still in stores? She looks like shes going to puke again. Taking her to the vet asap- she had one minibone one monday, one yesterday, and one today. ;-; just puked again

    Reply

    • Amara, that’s terrible! I want you and your vet to make a report to the FDA about this! Here’s how you do it: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm.

      It is really important that your vet make a report as well. And I also recommend you demand the company pay for your vet bill(s). If they refuse, write me, and I will tell you what to do next.

      I also suggest reading this post: http://www.poisonedpets.com/how-not-to-get-shafted-by-a-pet-food-manufacturer/

      Reply

      • How do I get a reimbursement from my vets? After giving my 2 1/2 year old Pitbull one of the pur luv bacon treats he started throwing up for 2 days- vet said that “treat” was the cause-$1,010 later after x rays, sonograms, fluids , I feel I should be reimbursed. Thank you

        Reply

    • I hope your dog is okay. My dog (a cocker spaniel mix) had a bone yesterday and one today and has now thrown up huge amounts of solid material which brought me to this website. My other dog sniffed but wasn’t interested in these bones (Grande Bones Bacon Flavor). I’m throwing the bag and will watch my dog’s behavior for the next 24 hours.

      Reply

      • Hi Suzy! I just wanted to update that Macie is doing well and she just celebrated her 4th birthday yesterday. I hope that your dogs are doing well! She now only gets treats that I know don’t break off into chunks and are digestible.

        I remember the package said something ridiculous like “make sure your dog does not bite off chunks” but that’s how dogs eat unless the treat slowly gets soft to eat small amounts! They definitely know what they’re doing wrong. Whatever money they are gaining from this is not worth robbing dogs of their lives!

        Honestly, Macie even gulps down her kibble. One or two bites max. Have they never seen a dog eat? Do they feed that to their own pets?

        My lovely little dachshund terrier mix could have passed away at only two and a half. I hope someday they realize just how much they’re trying to rob from dogs, and the people who love them.

        Reply

  18. How can i verify if the lawsuit filed against Sergeants, concerning their Pur-Luv Mini bones, is indeed a fact, and not just internet B.S.? My Jack Russell vomited about about a 3/4″ piece…………20 hrs. after eating it. Sergeant’s rep says i “shouldn’t believe everything i read on the internet”.

    Reply

      • I’m not a big typer Mollie, so i tend to keep things brief. I know they don’t digest, as my Jack Russell proved. I meant she said the lawsuit was internet B.S., and i know she wouldn’t say anything negative, as a Sergeants rep. Finally found proof that the lawsuit was legit, and i’ve already followed the chain of command, as far as complaining to the Tractor Supply Store i bought the Mini bone treats from, and their Corporate HQ. They apparently AREN’T going to remove them from their shelves, and STOP buying them from Sergeants, so i informed them, that i no longer will be shopping there for ANYTHING. Problem is, i want to let everyone that shops there know, that this crap is dangerous to their dogs health, but not .sure how to do that, or at 74 yrs. old, probably not physically capable of doing much. Do you, or any of your readers, have any ideas?

        Reply

        • Other than reporting this incident to the FDA – that’s the only way things are ever going to get noticed by the people in charge of regulating pet food. More importantly, it is critical that your vet make a report as well. Those reports always carry a lot more weight. You can also report them to the BBB. Other than that – there really isn’t too much more you can do. You’ve already done a lot more than most people would. So, thank you!

          Reply

        • I don’t feel like i’ve done much. People are still shopping there, and buying this crap for their dogs. They have no idea of the potential harm it can do. There was supposed to be some ruling by the judge in this case yesterday, but i can’t find anything? I would like to somehow get lawsuit info to the surrounding public, but i’m not the activist type, and physically incapable anyway. Maybe i can check with the local paper, and see how big a space i could afford to buy, and try shaming the greedy shits into removing product? Just feel like i’m turning my back on a four legged fur ball, that can’t defend itself :(

          Reply

        • I also purchased these at Tractor Supply. I will be encouraging a total boycott against any business selling these. And making a stink on social media. Keep it up stay vocal. Tell everybody that will listen.

          Reply

  19. We just had to take my dog to the vet the other day because of these treats. She vomited what I thought were gallstones and wouldn’t eat or drink. I collected the “stones” and promptly brought her to the vet. Turns out what she vomited were the PurLove treats we had given her which couldn’t be digested. After doing an X-Ray, we were lucky to find out there was no blockage. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case for many other dogs. These treats need to be taken off the market!

    Reply

  20. Learned this lesson the hard way. Dog sitting for a poodle and a Yorkie along with my Chihuahua. Gave this treat to all on 9/25/15. Three days later two of them sooo sick. $376.00 later vet’s diagnosis for both was these Pur Luv (more like Pur Poision) bones. You would think after being sued over these exact treats they would be pulled off the market.

    Reply

    • Sentry Natural Defense poisoned my dogs! One died from it. I loved and took the best care for my dogs. Used their product once and poisoned. Hundreds of dollars later and losing my dog the company had to nerve after sending my case twice to them. A refund check for the product I purchased. I don’t hate…but I hate that company for selling products that say natural and are killing animals.

      Reply

  21. DO NOT GIVE THESE TREATS TO YOUR DOGS, I HAVE 2 CHIHUAHUA’S WHO ARE THROWING UP ROCK HARD CHUNKS OF OUTER PART OF TREAT 2 DAYS AFTER GIVING ONE TO EACH, THANK GOODNESS I HAVEN’T GIVEN ANYMORE AND THEY ARE BEING REPORTED. THEY DO NOT HAVE SIGN OF BLOCKAGE AT THIS TIME AND ARE STILL EATING AND DRINKING WATER, HOPEFULLY THEY WILL CONTINUE TO THROW UP WHAT IS LEFT IN THEIR STOMACHS !!!!!!!!!!!!! VERY DANGEROUS TREAT!!!!!

    Reply

  22. Very frightening. Sadly, legal action is the only way for consumers to become aware of this issue. Thanks for reporting.

    Reply

  23. I hope they win! This company’s dog line for flea and ticks harmed 3/3 of my dogs and killed one. I know it was this company’s products. They never sent one dollar for compensation. My dogs were perfectly healthy and 24 hrs their legs can’t move, shaking, drooling, lost hair where application was. I sent two complaints for my case to them and they turned me down each time saying No proof. I had all the proof on the world. And my dogs ashes that are with me are constant reminders of what this company does to animals. They don’t care about them. They only care about the money. Read consumers affairs reviews it makes me sick

    Reply

SHARE YOUR COMMENTS WITH US. YOUR OPINION MATTERS.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.