Pet retail chain Petco has announced that it will stop selling all dog and cat treats made in China by year end, according to NBC News on Wednesday.
Petco, with more than 1,300 locations, is the first national pet specialty retailer to remove all China-made dog and cat treats from it's stores and online sales.
The retail chain said it listened to concerns by pet parents, and doesn’t want its customers to take any chances. Petco CEO Jim Myers stated “As a leader in the industry and the trusted partner for our pet parents, we’re eager to make this transition and to expand our assortment of safe and healthy treats, the majority of which are made right here in the U.S. Very simply, we feel this decision is in the best interest of the pets we all love and, ultimately, for our business.”
While not selling pet treats from China, they will continue to sell treats made in the U.S., such as brands American Jerky, Blue Buffalo, Canidae, Dogswell, Merrick, Nature’s Variety and Zuke. Treats from New Zealand, Australia and South America will also be sold.
Their decision came after FDA’s newly released information on pet illnesses and deaths from the products. The FDA said on it’s website, that as of May 1, 2014, FDA received approximately 4,800 reports of pet illnesses related to consumption of jerky treats, most coming from China. Most complaints involved dogs, (5,600 affected), but also 24 cats, and three people had reported illnesses from the pet treats. More than 1,000 dogs died, according to the FDA.
The FDA website reported “Since 2007, FDA has become aware of an increasing number of illnesses in pets associated with the consumption of jerky pet treats. FDA continues to investigate ongoing illnesses, predominantly in dogs whose owners report exposure to jerky pet treats from China.”
It was noted that there does not appear to be a geographic pattern to the reports received.
Most complaints involve chicken jerky (treats, tenders, and strips). Also reported were duck, sweet potato, and treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes, or yams.
Other stores continue to sell the tainted pet treats from China. So the FDA advises consumers who feed their dogs jerky pet treats to watch their dogs closely for hours, even days after eating the treats. Signs to watch for include decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, increased water consumption, increased urination, and/or diarrhea, sometimes with blood.
If the dog shows any of these signs, stop giving treats to the pet, and call a veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours.