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Hill's Pet Nutrition recalls canned dog food that led to deaths of beloved pets

While Hill's issued a voluntary recall, many grieving pet owners blame their dogs' deaths on the tainted food.
/ Source: TODAY

Dog owners might want to take another look at their canned dog food before feeding it to their pups. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Hill’s Pet Nutrition voluntarily recalled some canned dog food because of excessive levels of vitamin D, which can lead to serious illness and death.

While Hill’s reassured consumers that most dogs make a full recovery after being exposed to too much vitamin D, people have been sharing heartbreaking stories about their dogs’ illnesses and deaths on Hill’s social media.

“We care deeply about all pets and are committed to providing pet parents with safe and high quality products. Hill’s has identified and isolated the error and, to prevent this from happening again, we have required our supplier to implement additional quality testing prior to the release of ingredients,” Hill’s said in its statement. “In addition to our existing safety processes, we are adding our own further testing of incoming ingredients.”

The recall affects canned dog food only. Hill’s dry food, cat food and treats remain safe to give to pets the company stressed.

The list of canned foods is extensive and a full list of impacted products can be found on the FDA website or Hill’s website. The company urges people to throw away any of the recalled products and said it will offer full refunds for unused products.

Hill's products are commonly sold at stores and online retailers like Petco, Chewy and Amazon.

The company encourages dog owners to take their pets to the veterinarian if they exhibit signs of vitamin D toxicity, which includes:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weight loss

Dogs who have been exposed to too much vitamin D for long periods of time could experience kidney failure, which requires specialized and expensive treatment. But, even with veterinary intervention it can be fatal.

Dog owners have been flooding Hill’s Facebook and Twitter feeds with horror stories of costly veterinary bills and even the deaths of their beloved pets. Many attribute to their dogs’ deaths to eating Hill’s food.

Jeff Morris shared a picture of his 4-year-old Italian Greyhound, Olive, who ate Hill’s her entire life. For four weeks she vomited, drooled and lost weight until she ultimately died.

“Unforgivable! I held her and talked to her ‘til she took her last breath.”

Another woman on Facebook, Jennifer Ann also shared a picture and story about her dog Staley, who had “unexplained acute kidney failure,” vomiting, shaking and refusing to eat. Staley died December 16 even though Jennifer invested heavily in her dog’s care.

While Hill’s has been trying to respond to bereft dog owners, some people have complained they cannot get through when they call Hill’s.

The Hill's recall follows a December recall of 11 different labels and brands of dog food for excessive amounts of vitamin D.