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Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Musing Maggots

Like so many people I know, I've owned dogs just about my entire life. I grew up in a time before heartworm medicine, before a monthly flea treatment really got rid of fleas, before tick medicine prevented ticks. It was a time when we bought flea powder at the grocery store...

Yet, we always treated our pets like they were family. My dad used to make an ice cream cone and then held it while his Scottish terrier licked it. I would ride my bicycle across town to pick up five cent cans of dog food for my cockapoo. And they never, ever had bugs in their food.

So in mid-October when I was at PetSmart in Wilmington, NC - 87 miles one-way from my home - I picked up a 34-pound bag of Pro Plan. It cost $43 on sale so it was far more expensive than the Sam's Club five minutes from my house charges for Member's Mark.

And it never occurred to me that it would be filled with maggots.

I have those specially designed dry dog food bins where I pour the food in and it closes with a seal-tight fit. I opened the bag, wrestled with it (since it was 34 pounds and bulky) and poured it in.

When I was finished and ready to put the lid on, I saw the maggots swarming in the food - and some with wings were trying to fly out.

I immediately enlisted my daughter-in-law's aid to hold the bag while I poured the dog food back into it from the food bin. You can see the maggots in the food and crawling over the lid in this video we made.

I called PetSmart who told me if I couldn't drive 87 miles back to their store (and spend $32 in gasoline to return the $43 bag of food) then I should contact the manufacturer.

I contacted Pro Plan and explained what happened. Their response:

Maggots are not harmful to dogs and it won't hurt them it they eat it.

Their factories were sanitized and the maggots didn't come from them.

However, they offered to send me a coupon for the next time I wanted to drive 87 miles to buy another bag of their dog food.

I went to the local pet store who does not carry Pro Plan. They gave me 10 pounds of Eukanuba for FREE so I could try it with my dogs and see if they liked it. I came back two days later and bought their largest bag. Now my dogs are eating Eukanuba.

I still have the 34 pound of Pro Plan in my garage, taped into the original bag and then into a plastic bag. The bin is outside drying after I spent thirty minutes cleaning and disinfecting it.

Lesson learned.


Author & Illustrator said...

I had that happen before as well. But there was a lot more, and they were all over the inside of the bag. The only difference was, I took it back to the store, and it wasn't petsmart, just regular grocery store. They switched the bag and gave me a fresh one. It was gross! They might say it doesn't hurt the animal, but do you see animals really trying to eat that stuff? And you wouldn't want something like that in your house, for heaven's sakes!!! I can't believe they didn't do anything about it except tell you to call the manufacturer. What rubbish!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Disgusting! Did you tell them you won't be buying their brand or shopping at PetSmart again either?

p.m.terrell said...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving comments, Bonnie and Alex!

Bonnie, you are right; who would want a bag filled with maggots inside the house where I normally keep the dog food? And who would with good conscience choose to feed it to their dogs?

Alex, you're right, also. I won't be buying any more pet food at PetSmart in Wilmington, for sure!

Gardenmom said...

I couldn't feed my dog this morning because there was a worm in his sealed dry food container. We bought the bag Oct. 23rd at Care-A-Lot Pet Supplies in Virginia Beach. We use two five gallon buckets with tight lids to store our dog's food (in the house). It was placed in the cleaned out buckets the day we bought it. After I saw the worm in the first bucket, I checked the second one and sure enough, another worm and those webby deposits all around the side. I did some research and feel they are pantry moth larvae.

Guess what? It's Eukanuba Senior food. We've been using it for years. Since we don't still have the bag, we can't tell if there was a tiny hole indicating a moth got in after packaging.

I called Eukanuba and they are making a report to their quality control department and contacting the local distributor. We just returned from the pet store with a new bag I inspected very well for holes. I will still have to inspect the contents also, of course.

Any grain products can have this issue. The pet store manager told me they have pantry moth traps out to try and combat it. But it CAN happen any way along the distribution line.

This just makes me more alert to check ALL grain packaging in the future. Of course if I end up seeing any pantry moths flying around my home I will be sick, but will deal with it.

Good luck to you. I just wanted to tell my story. I found your blog when I Googled "maggots in dry dog food".

p.m.terrell said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to tell your story! That is very interesting, indeed! I have never heard of pantry moths so I learned something today. I would imagine once they have them, they are very difficult to get rid of. If they hire an exterminator, they'd have to spray pretty close to the bags of food, which I would think would contaminate them.
How interesting also that your contaminated bag was Eukanuba. I have started buying mine from a locally owned pet store who only orders the amount their customers need each month; I figured that would reduce the liklihood of anything in the store getting into them, but it doesn't address the whole distribution chain.
It IS sickening when you find something like that, isn't it?
Thanks for dropping in and leaving your story! I hope to see you again.