Three dogs sick, another dead: Woman questions safety of canned food

WASHOUGAL, WA (WCMH) — A Washington state woman has questions for a pet food company after three of her dogs became suddenly ill and a fourth died unexpectedly.

Nikki Mael said her four pugs — Tito, Talula, Tinkerbell and Tank —started acting strangely after she fed them Evanger’s Hunk of Beef with au jus canned wet food as a special New Year’s Eve treat. Shortly after, she knew something was horribly wrong.

“I fed them one can and within 15 minutes, they were acting drunk, walking around, they couldn’t … they were falling over,” Mael told KATU. “So I grabbed them all and I took them to the emergency vet and when I got them there when they were limp. They weren’t moving or anything.”

The dogs went into the ICU right away. Three of them survived and are now back home with Mael, but unfortunately Talula passed away.

“Tito and Talula ate the most, and Talula passed away,” Mael said. “Tito, we got to bring him home today. He still suffers from seizures. I don’t know if there’s any long-term [effect] on the other two, but it’s terrible.”

Mael placed Talula’s remains in a cooler so she can take them to Oregon State University where a necropsy will help determine the cause of the sudden illness. Mael believes it was something in the food and wants other dog owners to stop using the food right away.

“I lost my dog, and it shouldn’t have to be this way,” she said.

Evanger’s Pet Food has not issued a recall yet, but a representative told KATU that an effort to test unopened cans is underway. Evanger’s also contributed the full fundraising goal on Mael’s You Caring page to cover the vet bills for the four pugs.

Evanger’s has also said they will accept any product return from customers who have concerns about the safety of the food. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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