Mars Dog Food Recalled After Police Dogs in Australia Die

A Mars brand dog food blamed in the death of almost a dozen police dogs in Australia, is now linked to the same illness in pet dogs. Just days after the news report of police dogs becoming ill, consumers stepped forward with similar reports of family dogs diagnosed with the same disease: Megaesophagus.

The common link between the ill dogs is they are all fed the same dog food: Advance Dermocare, a brand of dog food made by Mars Petcare Australia. The news prompted a nationwide recall of the dog food in hundreds of pet stores across Australia.

Problems with the dog food first emerged with the death of a Victoria police dog. Eight other police dogs are also sick, with two expected to be euthanized after the dangerous disease struck the dogs.


All of the dogs have been diagnosed with a difficult, and often fatal, disease known as megaesophagus. What happens is the dog’s esophagus becomes abnormally enlarged, and they lose their ability to swallow or absorb nutrients, causing them to waste away – essentially starving to death.

A pet parent describes the horror of watching his dog lose half his body weight within weeks, saying he was reduced to “skin and bones.”


According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, some dogs may improve over time; however, in general, “the prognosis is poor. Aspiration pneumonia is a frequent and often lethal complication.” If they survive, specialized care and dietary modification are often required for life.

Whether the dogs illnesses are a terrible coincidence or whether there is something terribly wrong with the dog food is unclear, and until more is known Mars Petcare Australia is recalling all of the Advance Dermocare dog food from the market.


Mars claims to have conducted “hundreds of tests” on the dog food, but they say they have not found a link between their dog food and the deadly illnesses seen in dogs. Nevertheless, they are recalling all Advance Dermocare dry dog food products from the market in Australia in all size bags including the 3kg, 8kg, and 15kg size bags. Even though no connection has yet been found Mars said they are “working to get to the bottom of this.”

“We will continue to provide information to University of Melbourne to enable further testing, and consult with the Australian Veterinary Association,” a company spokesperson said.



The company is asking consumers to contact their vet if their pet is experiencing any problems and to return the product to stores for a refund. Mars is asking consumers to call the company if they are experiencing any problems with the dog food at 1 800 640 111 (Australia). The recalled dog food is not sold in the U.S.


If you believe your pet has become ill from consuming a pet food, please provide the FDA with valuable information by reporting it electronically through their Safety Reporting Portal or call your local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.

If you and your veterinarian think a pet food or treat is the source of a problem – save it – because your state agricultural or veterinary diagnostic lab may want to do testing. If you need more help, find out how to report a pet food complaint to the FDA.


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Mollie Morrissette

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

Comments (10) Write a comment

  1. My daughters dog is got heart failure after eating ziganture kanagroo is probably going to not live grain free dog food what can be done to help


  2. I wonder how ignorant , low IQ and common senseless people are . It is simple bagged dog food KILL DOGS. It is the cause of allergies ,short life, structural problems , hip dysplasia and more. OVERVACCINATION, neutered and bagged dog food ARE SLOWLY KILLING YOUR PETS AND DRAINING YOUS POCKETS. My dogs has a stunning lifespan of 19 years and are 80 pounds guys and girls.


  3. Pingback: Clues In Deadly Dog Disease in Australia Connected to Outbreak in Latvia; Dog Food Blamed | Poisoned Pets | Pet Food Safety News

  4. I honestly believe I lost my beautiful cat named Sushi to feeding him a Mars pet food brand. Can’t recall the name but I do know I just bought a bag of Nutro yesterday, which won’t be fed to my dogs.


      • I agree, and as a framework for whether to consider becoming a customer of Mars Inc. manufactured pet foods, remember that Mars. Inc. holds a patent (US 7,575,771 B2) for a procedure to process offal (dictionary definition: garbage/refuse/rubbish) into pet food.


      • Hi Mollie

        Just read your reply to Denise and I’d appreciate some advice as well please. I feed my beautiful new rescue dog Advance Weight Control, she’s an upper medium sized Johnson Bulldog cross and is 7.5 years old.

        She has hip laxity (precursor to hip dysplasia?) and reading James’ comment above has me wondering what I can do to help it.

        What do you think I should be feeding her? She has a tendency to put on weight and is obsessed with food.

        At the moment I feed her about 3 cups of Advance WC per day with cooked pumpkin skin on and tinned tuna. She also gets 1 Glucosamine with chondroitin pill and 2 fish oil capsules per day.

        Any advice would be greatly appreciated
        Thank you, Lee


        • I’m sorry Lee, but I don’t know which pet foods are available in the AU.

          However, my advice, in general, would be to choose food made with human edible ingredients – ingredients you would eat. Possibly you can ask your vet to guide you on how to make your own food. Alternatively, if you must buy a commercial food choose ones where the species of the meat or poultry are named and are made with human grade ingredients.

          I hope this helps.


          • Hi Mollie, didn’t realise you weren’t in Australia (dumb me :)), thanks for your advice, Lee


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