Jessica Rennard is a dog lover. Her border-collie puppy, Kevin, was a member of her family. She would do anything to take care of him as best she could. That’s why she bought him healthy food and treats and spent as much time with him as she could. Sadly, it was one of these healthy treats that killed Kevin, and now Rennard wants the company to change the shape of the popular treats.
Rennard’s saga began back in May. She’d just taken Kevin for a walk, and she gave him a treat once they returned home. As she turned to hang up Kevin’s leash, he headed for the living room to eat his Zuke’s Mini Naturals treat. When Rennard went in after him she found him lying on his side on the floor with his tongue hanging out.
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Thinking that he had suffered from some kind of allergic reaction, she picked him up. That’s when blood began leaking out of his mouth, and Rennard knew something was seriously wrong. She rushed him to the local animal hospital, but it was too late.
According to the necropsy report, “Kevin aspirated on a circular foreign object, which then completely occluded the trachea causing asphyxiation.” In other words, Kevin had choked on his Zuke’s Mini Naturals treat. The bleeding was caused by a hemorrhage in his throat from the retching reflex. Rennard’s vet stated that this was a freak incident and that it is rare that a dog is asphyxiated by a treat they are eating.
Rennard grieved over the loss of her beloved pet for weeks, but now she is looking for action so no other dog has to suffer the same fate as Kevin. She’s requesting that Zuke’s change the shape of their popular dog treats.
The manufacturer of the dog treats reached the same conclusion as Rennard’s veterinarian. Chris Meiering, the founder of Zuke’s, said that the company agrees with the vet and believes that Zuke’s Mini Naturals are a safe product. He said that they have sold millions of packages of dog treats since their introduction in 2003 and there has never been a similar incident.
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Although they are not planning to make any changes to their product, Meiering says that he understands how devastating it is to lose a pet and offered to donate to the pet-rescue group of Rennard’s choice in Kevin’s name. Unfortunately that isn’t enough for the dog owner.
Rennard has begun collecting signatures on an online petition to try and force the company to change the shape of the treats. She believes the treats, which are about the size of a pencil eraser, should have holes that allow air to pass through or be more of an oblong shape. So far she’s collected over 1,500 signatures on Change.org.