Do you know what is inside the treats you feed your pet? Making the assumption that a treat is safe for your pet just because it is produced by a reputable company can be a deadly mistake.
The treats under fire most recently are Jerky treats, specifically those made in China. Jerky treats made from sweet potatoes, chicken, duck, and dried fruit have caused sickness in a reported 3,600 dogs and 10 cats across the U.S. since 2007. Despite extensive testing and inspections of Chinese factories, the FDA has been unable to pin-point the responsible ingredient or contaminant in these jerky treats. As a result, the FDA has made no recalls on Chinese dog treats. They have only issued warnings to consumers in the years when they received hundreds of complaints (like in the years 2008, 2009, and 2011).
The jerky treats cause a disease that affects the kidneys. The symptoms start with an increase in thirst and increase in urination, then a decrease in appetite followed by vomiting, diarrhea, and eventually total kidney failure. While some dogs have recovered due to a quick reaction from their owner, many owners don’t even realize what is happening to their dog until it’s too late.
Ways to Avoid Dangerous Treats
Read the label
While consumers have been warned to steer clear of products made in China, some labels can be deceiving. You may quickly scan the back of a bag and read “Manufactured in the USA” but if you read more closely you will see that that only means the treats were packaged in the USA and in fine print it will read “Made in China”. You should also read what the ingredients include and check for expiration dates.
Check the Recall Lists
While the FDA has been “unable” to recall such jerky treats, some responsible companies have voluntarily recalled their own treats. As such, in 2013, Purina’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch dog treats were voluntarily recalled, along with Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers. This proves that a brand name does not guarantee quality or safety, so pet owners should be vigilant about what they feed their dog. Stay alert and regularly check the FDA recall list.
Keep it Fresh
While jerky treats can cause your dog to become sick right out of the bag, other foods and treats can become a problem over time. For this reason, be sure to wash your dog’s food and water bowl daily. Use clean utensils when preparing their food. Store kibble in a cool, dry place. Keep opened cans of food in the refrigerator, but only for a few days – watch out for mold and expiration dates.
There are alternatives to store-bought treats that will help give you piece of mind. You can give your dog banana chips, pieces of apple, carrots, and dozens of other healthy human snacks that you can enjoy with them. If you still want an extra special treat for your dog without the worry of “where did this come from?” you can easily make dog treats at home. (Check out the article Homemade Jerky Treats for Dogs).
Be Watchful and Ready
Always keep an eye out for changes in your dog’s behavior, especially if you are trying a new food or treat. If he/she starts vomiting, has diarrhea or becomes lethargic, stop feeding the food/ treats and take your dog to the vet. Keep the packaging and any leftover food/treat incase you need to file a complaint.
Spread the word to your friends and family with dogs so they too can avoid dangerous dog products.