Tainted Pet Treats

May 24, 2014

This chewy treat isn't from China, is it?
Credit Gamma Man (Eli Christman) [Flickr]

About half of jerky pet treats in the US are imported from China.  New warnings indicate that such treats could pose serious and even deadly risks to your pet's health.


Once again, pet treats are in the news. The Food and Drug Administration or FDA released a report regarding pets being made ill or even dying after being given tainted jerky treats from China.

Since the FDA’s last update in October 2013, it has received about eighteen hundred reports about problems related to the treats; that’s in addition to the three thousand reports already received prior to the October update. According to the FDA website, “the reports involve more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, three humans and include more than 1,000 canine deaths.”

Working in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FDA has overseen testing of a dozen varieties of jerky pet treats from China. They are stumped, because there seems to be a clear connection between consumption of the treats and illness in pets, but most of the samples tested yield negative results for identifiable contaminants.

In response to the FDA report, two major pet supply chains have made the decision to stop selling any pet treats manufactured in China. Petco announced that it will discontinue sales of China-made treats by the end of this year. PetSmart followed with its own announcement that all such treats would be pulled from its store shelves by next March.

Most of the reported treats are chicken jerky, or duck or sweet potato jerky. Read the package carefully before giving your pet any treats. The FDA recommends that you watch your pet closely for signs of illness, including lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or change in water consumption, especially if you think your pet has been exposed to tainted pet treats. If you think your pet may have consumed tainted treats, call your veterinarian. And report it to the FDA.

You can find more information about the investigation into the dangers posed by pet treats from China by visiting the FDA website at fda.gov.

We buy treats for our best friends because we love them. It’s heartbreaking to think that such a simple gesture could be deadly, when we’re speaking of pets.