You can expect the dog treat shelves of your local Petco and PetSmart stores to start looking pretty barren. As both national chains promised last year, they will no longer sell pet treats that were manufactured in China.
More than 1,000 dogs have died after eating chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats made in China, and nearly 5,000 more have become ill. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been investigating these cases since 2007 (and taking way too long to do so, many pet parents complain). No link has yet been found between the treats and the illnesses.
About 60 percent of the illnesses reported to the FDA were gastrointestinal problems; 30 percent were kidney or urinary issues; and the remaining 10 percent were symptoms including convulsions, tremors, hives and skin irritation.
“We know some pet parents are wary of dog and cat treats made in China, especially chicken jerky products, and we’ve heard their concerns,” Jim Myers, CEO of Petco, said in a press release last May. “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.”
Since September, Petco has been pulling the products from its online store and 1,300 physical stores; PetSmart will finish removing them by March.
Petco Vice President John Sturm told the Associated Press the chain will substitute the China-made treats with those made in Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
Last week Jump Your Bones recalled some lots of its Roo Bites, treats made in Australia from dehydrated kangaroo meat, because they may have contained Salmonella.
It seems like it may not be a good idea to feed your dog commercially made jerky treats, no matter where they’re manufactured.
Photo credit: Tony Alter