Dogs & Chicken Jerky: Beware!!

As a lover of all pets, I knew I had to blog about the dog chicken jerky illnesses and recalls. It seems like it’s one most people, not to mention most pet stores are not aware of, which is very sad as well as dangerous.

Since 2007, the FDA has warned pet parents to avoid giving their dogs chicken jerky treats made in China because there was some evidence the treats were making the dogs very ill, and in some cases killing the dogs. Some companies quietly pulled the products off the shelves and the FDA started looking into possible brands and issues with the jerky.

Unfortunately, five years later, the FDA still has no idea what the problem is, and the number of ill pets keeps rising. Companies don’t have to label where the ingredients came from, and to make matters worse, many bags say they are made in the U.S., but upon closer inspection (amidst some very teeny tiny print) they will say “product of China.” 

Symptoms can include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased activity
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased urination

Blood tests may indicate kidney failure. And urine tests may show Fanconi syndrome (increased blood sugar). Although most dogs are likely to recover, some deaths have been reported. If symptoms appear, immediately stop feeding the products and get to a vet if symptoms progress or turn severe within 24 hours.

Thanks to numerous concerned pet parents and vets, a few of the worst offenders have been identified: Milo’s Kitchen (made by Del Monte Corp.), Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch (both from Nestle Purina PetCare Co.). The issue is so severe, Suzi Barrett, the woman in the Milo’s Kitchen treat ads is breaking her contract with the company. Other suspected brands include: Dingo, Boots & Barkely (sold at Target), Hartz, Kirkland, Dogswell Happy Hips and many brands found in Dr. Foster and Smith, who just recently started selling jerky made in the U.S.. Other types of jerky, such as duck and beef, have also been mentioned, but not nearly as much as chicken treats.

Short of making your own treats and  jerky, here are some companies that really do make their products in the U.S. as well as use ingredients from the U.S.: Rachael Ray Just 6; True Chews; Blue Buffalo; Blue Dog Bakery; Jerky Direct; all Bil-Jac treats. Even though they are on the ‘safe list,’ the FDA and many vets advise pet parents to watch their dog carefully for symptoms and reading packaging labels extra well.

To learn more about chicken jerky, or how you can help, check out the following:

Facebook Group: Animal Parents Against Treats Made in China

FDA Pet Food Recall List

FDA: FAQ on jerky

MSNBC report on jerky

Petition to invoke stronger guidelines for pet foods

TheKitchn: 9 tasty dog treat recipes

Easy to make dog treats:

A small list of dog treats & supplies made in the USA

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