Greenies dog treats have been in the news lately because of a few cases in which large chunks of the treats have been thought to cause intestinal blockages in dogs. The company has in some cases paid for the surgery required to remove the blockages, but maintains their treats are safe for dogs.
I know that some dogs chew more thoroughly than others. I have one dog who bolts food and treats and another who makes them last. It seems to me that any treat could cause a blockage if large chunks were swallowed by the dog. There are some who do not feed their dogs rawhide chews for this very reason.
However, I also know that newspapers and television news shows like stories that imply danger, because fear makes people buy the newspapers and watch the shows. (If you doubt this, listen to your local news commercials and see how many times they say, “Your child could be at risk” “Are you safe at work?” and other comments of that ilk.) So I’m sure the media outlets, in their effort to be viewed as a trusted and much-needed influence in our lives, play up the danger in these stories and avoid statistics such as:
- What percentage of dogs who eat Greenies have experienced intestinal blockage?
- How does this compare to the percentage of dogs who eat other types of treats and experience intestinal blockage?
- In the cases where dogs who ate Greenies experienced intestinal blockage, does the veterinary surgeon say that the blockage was caused by the Greenies?
I have no connection with the company that manufactures Greenies, nor am I paid either to defend or attack them. However, I do have some experience with the media (as a former national magazine editor in the pet industry) and feed Greenies to my own dogs. My only complaint is that they’re so expensive. My dogs love them, as do most dogs. (I have my own theory about why they’re so nuts about Greenies, and it involves sweeteners.) If they’re found to be dangerous, I will stop feeding them to my dogs. But let’s not get hysterical until we get more than self-promoting media hype and get some facts.
A response to this recent media attention is noticably absent from the website of the company that makes them, S&M Nutec LLC (www.greenies.com). I think it’s a mistake. They need to get in front of this.