Feeding These Treats Could Kill Your Pets!

Since 2007, the FDA has received over 5,200 complaints about sick dogs, cats, and people related to feeding jerky treats to pets. According to the FDA website, the reports involve more than 6,200 dogs, 26 cats, three people, and include more than 1,140 canine deaths. Reports peaked in 2012 and 2013 with almost 2,000 complaints in each of those years. While the FDA claims there is still an ongoing investigation as to the cause of illness, there are still no clear answers. The illnesses reported are most often related to kidney disease or symptoms of kidney disease. A disease called Fanconi syndrome has been reported in over 360 dogs. With Fanconi syndrome, glucose is found in the urine in the absence of high blood sugar. Pets that become ill may have increased thirst and urination, decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea with blood, elevated liver enzymes, hives, skin irritation, tremors, seizures, or kidney failure. Any of these symptoms should prompt owners to bring pets in for an exam, blood tests, and urinalysis.

According to the FDA, in over 87 postmortem studies in deaths suspected to be related to ingestion of jerky treats, over fifty percent were attributed to other causes, but the remaining animals did not have any concurrent disease that would eliminate the jerky treats as the cause of death. Of course, there could be thousands of other animals that have died after eating jerky treats, that were not reported to the FDA or other authorities. When a pet dies it is unlikely that a full postmortem examination by a veterinary pathologist is performed due to lack of availability and cost.

Originally, it was thought that illness and death were only related to chicken jerky, but cases have been reported related to duck and sweet potato jerky treats as well. Most of the treats have been sold in the US, but sourced or produced in China. Pet owners should be aware, however, that manufacturers are not required to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products. The FDA has done inspections of Chinese factories and has detected illegal residues of antibiotics and antiviral medications used in foreign poultry. Melamine has also been implicated.

Brands of treats that have been implicated in the past have included Nestle Purina's Waggin Train Jerky Treats or Tenders, Nestle Purina's Canyon Creek Ranch Jerky Treats or Tenders, Del Monte Corp's Milo's Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats, Del Monte Corp's Chicken Griller Home-Style Dog Treats, Publix Stores Chicken Tenders Dog Chew Treats, IMS Pet Industries Cadet Brand Chicken Jerky Treats, Dogswell/Catswell Duck or Chicken Jerky Treats, Joey's Jerky Chicken Jerky, and Dingo Brand Treats.

The FDA has released warnings to consumers to use caution when buying and feeding jerky products. However, after nine years of warnings, these treats are still being sold in massive quantities. I am amazed at the staggering number of clients that still use these products. I like to think my clientele is actually more aware of these dangers, so that scares me more!

So what should you do? The answer is quite simple - don't feed jerky treats unless you make your own! It's impossible to know if ingredients are sourced overseas, even if the product is "made in the USA". If you ignore the warnings and choose to use these treats, watch for symptoms of illness, which can occur hours, days, or weeks after ingestion. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pet becomes ill. Report symptoms to the FDA. Have a necropsy (post mortem examination) performed to determine cause of death if that occurs. Keep the packaging and lot numbers of all food and treats you give your pets. Write them down somewhere if you can't keep the packaging.

Instead of buying potentially toxic treats, consider using this simple recipe for dried treats for your pets:

    • Slice chicken, turkey, liver, bananas, apples, or other goodies into 1/4 inch thick strips
    • Place the strips on a wire rack on a cookie sheet
    • Place the tray into your oven and turn on to about 170 degrees farenheit
    • Leave in the oven 8 to 12 hours
    • Remove and blot away oils
    • Store in air tight containers in the refrigerator and feed within one week
  • Since 2007, the FDA has received over 5,200 complaints about sick dogs, cats, and people related to feeding jerky treats to pets. According to the FDA website, the reports involve more than 6,200 dogs, 26 cats, three people, and include more than 1,140 canine deaths. Reports peaked in 2012 and 2013 with almost 2,000 complaints in each of those years. While the FDA claims there is still an ongoing investigation as to the cause of illness, there are still no clear answers. The illnesses reported are most often related to kidney disease or symptoms of kidney disease. A disease called Fanconi syndrome has been reported in over 360 dogs. With Fanconi syndrome, glucose is found in the urine in the absence of high blood sugar. Pets that become ill may have increased thirst and urination, decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea with blood, elevated liver enzymes, hives, skin irritation, tremors, seizures, or kidney failure. Any of these symptoms should prompt owners to bring pets in for an exam, blood tests, and urinalysis.

    According to the FDA, in over 87 postmortem studies in deaths suspected to be related to ingestion of jerky treats, over fifty percent were attributed to other causes, but the remaining animals did not have any concurrent disease that would eliminate the jerky treats as the cause of death. Of course, there could be thousands of other animals that have died after eating jerky treats, that were not reported to the FDA or other authorities. When a pet dies it is unlikely that a full postmortem examination by a veterinary pathologist is performed due to lack of availability and cost.

    Originally, it was thought that illness and death were only related to chicken jerky, but cases have been reported related to duck and sweet potato jerky treats as well. Most of the treats have been sold in the US, but sourced or produced in China. Pet owners should be aware, however, that manufacturers are not required to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products. The FDA has done inspections of Chinese factories and has detected illegal residues of antibiotics and antiviral medications used in foreign poultry. Melamine has also been implicated.

    Brands of treats that have been implicated in the past have included Nestle Purina's Waggin Train Jerky Treats or Tenders, Nestle Purina's Canyon Creek Ranch Jerky Treats or Tenders, Del Monte Corp's Milo's Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats, Del Monte Corp's Chicken Griller Home-Style Dog Treats, Publix Stores Chicken Tenders Dog Chew Treats, IMS Pet Industries Cadet Brand Chicken Jerky Treats, Dogswell/Catswell Duck or Chicken Jerky Treats, Joey's Jerky Chicken Jerky, and Dingo Brand Treats.

    The FDA has released warnings to consumers to use caution when buying and feeding jerky products. However, after nine years of warnings, these treats are still being sold in massive quantities. I am amazed at the staggering number of clients that still use these products. I like to think my clientele is actually more aware of these dangers, so that scares me more!

    So what should you do? The answer is quite simple - don't feed jerky treats unless you make your own! It's impossible to know if ingredients are sourced overseas, even if the product is "made in the USA". If you ignore the warnings and choose to use these treats, watch for symptoms of illness, which can occur hours, days, or weeks after ingestion. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pet becomes ill. Report symptoms to the FDA. Have a necropsy (post mortem examination) performed to determine cause of death if that occurs. Keep the packaging and lot numbers of all food and treats you give your pets. Write them down somewhere if you can't keep the packaging.

    Instead of buying potentially toxic treats, consider using this simple recipe for dried treats for your pets:

    • Slice chicken, turkey, liver, bananas, apples, or other goodies into 1/4 inch thick strips
    • Place the strips on a wire rack on a cookie sheet
    • Place the tray into your oven and turn on to about 170 degrees farenheit
    • Leave in the oven 8 to 12 hours
    • Remove and blot away oils
    • Store in air tight containers in the refrigerator and feed within one week