WASHINGTON — A pet food maker has settled federal charges of false advertising for claiming that its Eukanuba food helped extend the life of dogs by almost a third.
Mars Petcare will face no fines. But the company is barred from claiming that Eukanuba or any of its other pet food products can extend a dog’s life, the Federal Trade Commission announced this week.
However future violations of the commission’s order could result in civil penalties of $40,000.
The commercials featured soothing music and happy-looking Labrador retrievers running across green fields. The dogs sported a bit of gray around their muzzles, but the company claimed that thanks to eating their food, the dogs are living longer than the 12-year average life span for their breed.
The ads pointed to a 17-year-old dog, a grinning black lab chasing a soccer ball, along with a graphic saying the dogs were living 30 percent longer than their typical life spans. All of this thanks to the dog food that ranges in price from $14.99 to $57.99.
But the commission says none of that is true — even though the ad cites a 10-year scientific study.
“Pet owners count on ads to be truthful and not to misrepresent health-related benefits. In this case, Mars Petcare simply didn’t have the evidence to back up the life claims it made about its Eukanuba dog food,” the commission’s Jessica Rich said in a statement.
In a brief statement, Mars Petcare described the settlement as an “amicable resolution with the FTC.” The company said the campaign ran in 2015.
In addition to Eukanuba, the Mars company, best known for its candy and gum products, also makes Iams, Pedigree and Whiskas pet foods.