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Danger! Don’t give your doggeh chicken jerky

Dear doggeh owners: I got this email recently about chicken jerky tenders, strips and treats that are making doggehs ill. Please read it and make sure you don’t put your pooch in danger.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is again cautioning consumers that chicken jerky products for dogs (also sold as chicken tenders, strips or treats) may be associated with illness in dogs.

In the last 12 months, FDA has seen an increase in the number of complaints it received of dog illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China. These complaints have been reported to FDA by dog owners and veterinarians.

FDA issued a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerky products to consumers in September 2007 and a Preliminary Animal Health Notification in December of 2008. After seeing the number of complaints received drop off during the latter part of 2009 and most of 2010, the FDA is once again seeing the number of complaints rise to the levels of concern that prompted release of our earlier warnings.

Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.

FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product.

Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.

FDA, in addition to several animal health diagnostic laboratories in the U.S., is working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant.

The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state.

2 comments

  1. The Chinese were putting melamine into dog food in the major pet food recall a couple of years ago. Melamine was used as a substitute for real protein like beef or chicken because it makes samples of dog food test as if they had the required protein levels. Melamine causes kidney failure. The Chinese were also caught putting melamine into kids’ milk and infant formula. If it’s from China and edible, it’s not for you and it’s not for your dog…

    If you’re looking for a REAL ‘American Made’ chicken treat, we started making our own Chicken Jerky after we ran across the FDA warning of 2008 about Chinese chicken treats making dogs sick or killing them. It turned into a cottage business and we now sell our TriPom Chews online and  in 20 stores in the New England area. Our products are the only ‘Maine Made’, ‘American Made’, chicken jerky produced from whole, restaurant-quality chicken breasts containing NO Additives and NO Preservatives. We had to make them super wholesome as our 3 Pomeranians (our babies) taste test every batch for quality.

  2. I wonder if this only applies to chicken jerky from China. The girls love Milo’s. Someone also told me to watch out for dog products from Costco, I imagine because they are imported. I buy chicken jerky with  sweet potato from there. I’ll have to look at the packages. Thanks for posting this. ;-(

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