Jerky Treats, why are they not banned?

Three name brands top the FDA list of suspect chicken jerky treats:

  • Waggin’ Train Jerky Treats or Tenders (Nestle Purina)
  • Canyon Creek Ranch Jerky Treats or Tenders (Nestle Purina)
  • Milo’s Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats (Del Monte Corp)

According to the FDA: “As of May 1, 2014, we have received in total more than 4,800 complaints of illness in pets that ate chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of which are imported from China. more…

toxic treats

If the FDA put out a report like this one on human beef jerky snacks, would you eat them? Would you let your kids eat them? So why would you give your dogs a treat with a good chance of causing them to get sick? We love our pets and want to give them the very best. We want to spoil them and for many that includes daily treats.

In the last several years there has been a growing trend in low carb/no grain pet food. Along with that trend came grain free treats, one being jerky treats made from chicken, duck and other high protein foods. Not too long after these products appeared on the store shelves they became very popular. About this time, and seemingly unrelated, veterinarians starting treating dogs who were sick from an unknown cause. As more cases presented, a common factor emerged: most of the dogs had eaten jerky treats.

Upon further investigation it was discovered that the chicken and duck meat in jerky treats seemed to be the real culprit. Treats either made in China or with meat imported from China were tainted. Salmonella was predicted to be the offending organism. Unfortunately so far, tests conducted by the FDA have found no specific contaminate.

My feeling on this issue is better safe than sorry. Especially when there are so many healthy treats available as well as recipes to make your own at home.

Next article: Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Jerky Treats, Have You Heard?

If you haven’t, let me fill you in. Jerky treats have been linked to illness in thousands of dogs. “In September 2007, the AVMA issued an alert that stated… had been receiving calls from veterinarians reporting Fanconi syndrome-like disease in dogs;” the problem appears to be associated with chicken jerky treats made in China. In 2011, Canada reported cases that were just like those reported in the US. According to the FDA Product Safety Information on jerky treats they have “received approximately 3000 reports of pet illnesses which may be related to consumption of the jerky treats. Most of the reports involve jerky products sourced from China. The majority of the complaints involve dogs, but cats also have been affected. The reports involve more than 3600 dogs, 10 cats and include more than 580 deaths.”

Those are alarming numbers and while there has been no official recall of these treats, it’s simply safest not to use them at all. The common factor with all brands of tainted jerky treats is that they are made in or the chicken comes from China. When buying jerky treats, check the label closely. Even if it does say “Made in USA” the chicken itself may have been imported from China. Although pet food manufacturers are not required to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their pet products.

The specific cause of the illnesses is, as of yet, unknown. Salmonella is suspected but the FDA has been unable to find any causative substance relating to the illnesses and deaths occurring in pets; “The results only confirm the agency is no closer in June 2012 to uncovering the source of the problem than they were in April 2007. Meanwhile, the number of illnesses and deaths of beloved pets linked to the treats is now over 1,800.”

Dr. Karen Becker of Mercola Healthy Pets has been watching this issue closely and has written several articles which can be found here. She also lists treats recalled voluntarily by their manufacturers here. Again, I feel you’re better off not giving jerky treats at all.

Some popular brands causing issues are:

  • Waggin’ Train Jerky Treats or Tenders (Nestle Purina)
  • Canyon Creek Ranch Jerky Treats or Tenders (Nestle Purina)
  • Milo’s Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats (Del Monte Corp)

Click here for the FDA advisory recall list and here is the FDA’s progress report on the jerky treat investigation.

People are more likely to remember something after they’ve read it three times. Also, people better remember the last thing they read. So, in closing and for the third time, the safest way to give your pets jerky treats is not at all.

Jerky treatsNext Blog: Is the domestic dog part of the family?