Wednesday, October 23, 2013

FDA Statement Regarding Jerky Treats Making Pets Sick

Yesterday (October 22, 2013)  the FDA made a statement, and issued warnings regarding their ongoing investigation of  consumer complaints regarding jerky pet treats made in China. The treats are made with chicken, duck, sweet potato, and dried fruits.  More than 3600 pets have become sick and nearly 600 pets have died since 2011.  Most of the cases involve dogs (there has been 10 cats) of all breeds, ages and sizes. The pet may become sick within hours or days of having the treats and most suffer gastrointestinal illness and/or kidney and urinary problems.  The FDA stated although extensive testing is being done, a cause has not been determined.

Signs to watch for in your pet include:  decreased appetite, decreased activity level, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption and/or increased urination.  If your pet shows any of these signs, seek veterinarian care right away.

No formal recall has been made, so a list is not available for which brands have been reported.  The FDA is continuing testing and recommends that pet owners whose pet becomes sick after eating the treats should report the complaint to the FDA Safety Reporting Portal .

Safe Treats For Dogs?

Treats are not essential to your dog or cat's nutritional needs.  In fact, we discourage overtreating as it can lead to obesity.  However, it is a good idea if possible to give your dog a light meal mid-day.  This helps to regulate a dog's blood sugar, improves digestion and keeps them from gorging themselves at night.  For dogs, using green vegetables, carrots, sardines or freeze dried "dog food" without grains is optimal.  Stella and Chewys and Instinct both have freeze dried small patties that can be used for lunch or as a mid-day treat.  The Honest Kitchen offers freeze dried haddock filets which are hypoallergenic for dogs.   If you do want to give your dog or cat treats, then be sure to scrutinize the label of ingredients.  To learn more about safe ingredients for pets, please read our article about ingredients on the pet food label.