Buyer Beware. The treats we're giving our dogs could make them sick -- or even worse.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nearly 600 dogs have died and more than 3,600 have gotten sick because of chicken, duck, and sweet potato jerky treats. The FDA reports most were made in China, but it's what they're made of that is still a mystery. Because they can't figure out the ingredients, they can't figure out a brand, so no recall has been announced.
Dr. Michael Thomsen, a Veterinarian with Kimberly Crest Veterinary Hospital in Davenport, says the numbers are astounding.
"It's crazy to think that you're buying a treat for your pet because you want to give them something special and you could be poisoning them."
He says pet owners may want to consider giving up on treats that are made in China and look for ones made in the U.S.
"There's a lot of difficulty in figuring out exactly what is in these treats. The factories in China and the Chinese Government aren't very cooperate with helping us figure out what it is that goes into those treats. They don't have the regulations as far as what can be put in them, so the treats that we have here, they've had difficultly figuring out what is in there that's causing the toxicity."
"It's amazing to me that the United states can't make pet treats. They're made in China and shipped over here on ships and it's so hard to find U.S. made treats.
That's one of the reasons why bakers like Dawn Lovejoy are so unique.
"Our treats are baked right here in the store by me," says the Manager of Loving Paws Bakery in Moline. "They're made with 100% human grade ingredients. We don't add anything artificial. No preservatives. Nothing like that."
Lovejoy says the illness outbreak is devastating and pet owners need to be careful with China-made products. She says convenience is not always safest.
"There's no control over it, over what's going into the treats or how clean the place is or anything, so when you grab them off the shelf you run that risk."
If you think you may have given your dog an unsafe jerky treat, bring him/her to your Veterinarian. Dr. Thomsen says the illness could impact your dog's kidneys, so look for an increase in drinking or urination. Others also say to look for strange behavior like different appetite, decrease in activity level, and possibly vomiting or diarrhea. For more information from the FDA, click here.
The FDA says at least 10 cats have also fallen ill, so cat owners need to be aware of the outbreak as well.
Even though there isn't a recall from the FDA, some manufacturers are voluntarily recalling their treats until the investigation is complete. Those brands include Nestle-Purina, Canyon Creek, and Corp's Milo's.