A Cereal In Wolf’s Clothing? New York Woman Sues Blue Buffalo Over “Inspired By Wolves” Claim and Content in Dog Food

We recently discussed the dismissal of the lawsuit by a woman who accused Dr. Pepper of false advertising for using the word “diet” after she failed to lose weight after 13 years of consumption. Now a canine version of the theory has been raised in New York where Shannon Walton is suing Blue Buffalo, a dog food company, claiming that it is misleading consumers about its dog food as “inspired by the diet of wolves.” Instead, she claims that dogs are wolfing down carbohydrates and that the closest her dog is getting to a real wolf is the picture on the package. She complains that her Tucker, a seven-year-old a Labrador-beagle mix, is diabetic and obese due to the high level of carbohydrates in the food. Warning graphic picture below.

Taking a lesson from wolves, Walton is filing a class action to get the strength of the pack of disgruntled dog owners. There seems to be many and this company has been regularly sued for its food content and advertising.

In her class action, Walton claims that the Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain dog food is heavy on the carbs which are neither healthy for dogs nor a meaningful part of the diet of grey wolves.”

It is certainly true that wolves like this one at Denali go for caribou over carbs:

The company displays an image of a grey wolf on its products and describes its recipe as “Nature’s Evolutionary Diet.” The complaint notes that the carbs are known to be unhealthy contributors to obesity and diabetes: Millions of dogs in the United States—the vast majority of whom eat carbohydrate-rich kibbles like the ones sold by Defendant—suffer from diabetes. But among wolves—a species that never consumes carbohydrates—there has never been a single documented case.” 

While the wolf claims could be dismissed as puffery, the company does market its products as “high protein.” The company has long faced allegations of false advertising and reached a settlement a few years ago in such litigation. It settled another lawsuit in 2018. Prior litigation also raised lead contamination in the dog foot.

The company is owned by General Mills.

You can read one of the complaints here

28 thoughts on “A Cereal In Wolf’s Clothing? New York Woman Sues Blue Buffalo Over “Inspired By Wolves” Claim and Content in Dog Food”

  1. Good! It’s about time someone calls these company’s to task. Firstly, these foods are not regulated, are boiled and processed till there is no nutrition left. And it IS false advertising.

  2. Prof. Turley: Would you please explain the basis for class action suits? They seem to be lawsuits run amok. The so-called class are not asked to agree to participate. And the returns for each member of the class – assuming they can be identified – are meager. They seem to primarily be slush funds for lawyers (the 99% of whom give the 1% a bad name )

  3. It’s not difficult to boil chicken or beef with carrots and peas. It’s cheaper than the cheapest dog food in the long run. Then you know exactly what they are eating.

  4. Some mom & pop meat markets sell dog food they make themselves. It would be a preferable choice I imagine to what is sold otherwise.

  5. Predators eat the intestines of the herbivores they eat. The intestines are filled with partially digested and broken-down carbohydrates.

    That may be the difference for the dog food–are the carbohydrates in dog food partially broken down and filled with enzymes and bacteria which would help the predator digest them? I doubt it.

    1. That’s a good point.

      Canines did not evolve to require an Asian cereal grain (rice) in large amounts to survive.

  6. “Inspired by wolves” doesn’t mean “exactly the same diet as wolves.” Otherwise, the diet would be freeze dried caribou, with skin, tendons, and bones, rabbit, mouse, squirrel, vole, lemming, and the occasionally camper’s boot that was left outside the tent, along with directions to walk the dog for 20 miles a day.

  7. As a dog owner, I’ve had problems with Blue Buffalo’s claims from the beginning. For one thing, there is no direct link between dogs and wolves (and foxes.) Dogs and wolves can breed but there’s no direct link that proves the assumption that dogs are domesticated wolves. They also claim it’s made solely from meat (which is protein, not carbohydrates) but I have my doubts. It’s basically a high-dollar dog food and their advertising is designed to appeal to ego.

    1. I am a dog owner too and upset with Blue Buffalo lies on their bags also. No it is not a wrong lawsuit. Most of their products are scams. When tested what they claim on the bag in not what is inside. My dog need special diet for allergies and IBD. When Blue Buffalo claims lamb they found full of chicken and beef and other undisclosed proteins. Blue Buffalo has been sued before for deceptive claims and deserved a class action lawsuit. of which I am part of too .

      1. It is true that BB has been sued before.

        If the bag label was correct, and the carbohydrates percentage was listed, then this particular lawsuit is not warranted. However, the suits over misrepresented nutrition breakdown or content are justified.

        This reminds me of the “natural” craze in foods and cosmetics. The term is wildly misapplied.

  8. Here is why Trump committed murder: https://twitter.com/Dannymakkisyria/status/1213827473131094016

    Iraq has voted us out of their country and has lodged a complaint against us in the US with the UN. Trump is openly tweeting that he will commit further war crimes. Be an American and stand against this cruel and lawless behavior of “leaders” in the US. Protest. Do it peacefully and do it however one is able to accomplish peaceful protest. Do we the people stand with our own Constitution and justice or do we stand with a mafia/oligarchy because we think that makes us look strong? It shows how weak we are to anyone who can see the truth.

      1. Jill,
        I just saw the reports that the Iraqi Parliament did vote for the removal of U.S. forces.
        I think Trump will oblidge them, give Iraq the opportunity to find out how things will go when the U.S. completely pulls the plug.
        If our troops leave, I don’t think Trump or any possible successor to Trump would be likely to go back in again.

    1. Jill – I stand behind Trump on this one. No more buying our way out of trouble with Iran. He does have a plan if Iran responds. I would expect Iran to lose their oil refinery capability.

    2. A Tweet, as we have learned lately, isn’t citable proof of something having happened. When you have that kind of proof, I’d like to see it.

    3. Jill:

      Do I understand you correctly, that you think Trump “murdered” Soleimani because a Twitter post said Iraq invited him to be there? Since he was at the Baghdad Airport, one could assume he had permission to be in the country.

      Why was Soleimani targeted?

      He was designated a terrorist.
      He killed over 600 Americans.
      He was involved in recently bombing our American bases.
      He was involved in recently attacking our embassy in Iraq.
      The intelligence community discovered he was plotting an imminent attack on more Americans.

      Does any of this have anything to do with whether Iraq invited him or not? No. Does it matter in any way in regards to brining a terrorist to justice whether or not he is in his current location with the blessing of the host country, tribe, landlord, or hostel? No.

      If you make the argument that killing terrorists is murder, then so was the killing of Osama Bin Ladin.

      There can certainly be an argument made about how far the President’s authority goes in taking out terrorists. That does not involve Twitter or whether Iraq wanted him to visit or not.

  9. Sounds like a valid complaint to me. If you WANT your pets to be fat and diabetic, buy this stuff. Just, General Mills, fire your ad agency. They’re costing you money and reputation.

  10. Her local Petco or PetSmart sells at least 20 other brands of dog food. Choose one of those, lady.
    What an absolute waste of our judicial system’s resources.

    1. I agree that the first thing a court ought to do is say “caveat emptor” to people bitching about misleading advertising. But these lawsuits do, at least, get the question before a court of whether or not a company and their ad agency are misleading the public. Ideally, a finding of wrongdoing in a case like that shouldn’t lead to a payday for the plaintiff and her attorneys, but a court order to cease and desist the false advertising.

    2. Yep.

      The content of the dog food is prominently displayed right there on the label. If you dog food isn’t working for your pet, change the dog food. This is not difficult.

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