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Wondering where the Greenies went?

If you’re not noticing Greenies on your store shelves these days, that’s because their maker, Nutro Products, Inc., has restricted those selling them to veterinary hospitals and pet specialty retailers.

In a press release issued last week, Nutro announced the change applies to Greenies canine and feline dental chews, Pill Pockets and Smart Biscuits.

“…We believe that pet medical professionals at veterinary hospitals and well-trained, knowledgeable staff at pet specialty stores are best equipped to answer pet owners’ questions about our products, and to make the right recommendation, said Carolyn Hanigan, Vice President of Marketing, Nutro Products, Inc.

The press release makes no mentions of deaths and injuries from use of the product. A CNN investigation in 2006 uncovered 40 cases since 2003 where a veterinarian had to extract a Greenie from a dog after the treat became lodged either in the animal’s esophagus or intestine. In 13 of those cases, the pet died. The problems arose when dogs swallowed them without chewing them first, leading them to become lodged in a dog’s esophagus or intestine, where, some veterinarians say, they are slow to break down.

The company, on its website, says Greenies contain “easily digestible proteins that help keep dog’s teeth clean while also keeping their breath fresh. The easy to digest and chewy nature of Greenies dental chews helps ensure that they are safe for dogs when given the appropriate sized serving.”

The Greenies website says natural sources of dietary fiberhave been added for digestibility, and that their new recipe carries the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance.

In the company press release, officials say its important dogs get the right size Greenies — not because of choking issues, which they don’t even mention, but because “each of the five sizes is specially formulated to deliver the maximum dental benefit to each corresponding weight range.”

I really don’t think it’s an overdose of dental benefits that the company is worried about. But the move to restrict those vending them to vets and professionals — as opposed to grocers — is a step in the right direction.

Greenies, which are green and shaped like a toothbrush, were introduced in 1998, by Nutro Products, a leading manufacturer of natural pet food products. Its products include Max, Natural Choice and Ultra pet food brans. The Greenies Company is a division of Nutro Products, Inc.

Comments

Comment from dfrenchdc
Time May 6, 2009 at 9:55 am

Hello, pet friends!

In the spirit of full disclosure I consult for the Greenies company and issued this news.

Appreciate the opportunity to clear up any confusion about canine Greenies. The original product formulation was REPLACED in mid 2006 with a new formulation that is more soluble and digestible. There have been no reports of obstructions or blockages since that time.

Every person owned by a dog knows that they love to chew and they’re frequently indiscriminate in what they choose to chew! Some are “gulpers” like my Doberman.

It’s important to monitor everything your dog chews. Giving your dog appropriate–and appropriately sized–treats, chew toys and the like is just being a responsible pet parent.

The five sizes of Greenies each have a different texture to provide maximum dental benefit, accounting for the chewing capability in that weight range. It’s truly a case of “one size does NOT fit all.”

While some pet owners may not understand this, pet professionals–especially veterinarians–do. That’s why most are confident in recommending Greenies for daily oral care.

Thanks!

ohmidog! responds: Thanks D! We love full disclosure. We appreciate your clarity, honesty and advice. And our best to the Doberman.

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