Close to 600 dogs have recently died due to consuming jerky treats, but this isn't just a recent problem. Since 2007, over 3,500 cases of dogs getting severely ill or dying after eating jerky treats has been reported to Food and Drug Administration (FDA). What the heck is going on?
Is Chinese Manufacturing at fault?
Maybe not. Yes, a majority of these jerky treats are made in China. However, illnesses have even been linked to jerky treats made in the U.S. because some of the ingredients used are from China. So, although China may be the main source, purchasing jerky treats made in the U.S. isn't necessarily safe either.
The FDA and vets have yet to determine what exactly is causing the deaths and illnesses from jerky treats. According to an article in the The New York Times, "About 60 percent of the cases nationwide involve gastrointestinal illness; 30 percent, kidney ailments; and the rest, convulsions, tremors, and skin irritations." Chicken is cited as the most common ingredient in these jerky treats. However, duck, sweet potato, and some other ingredients have been linked to these illnesses.
Factories and jerky are being tested for what may be causing these illnesses and deaths, but so far the results are inconclusive.
Should I still feed my dog jerky treats?
Maybe China is not 100% at fault. Personally, I will never purchase any food product (whether it is for human or animal consumption) with a label stating "Made in China" or any other foreign country if I feel that the country doesn't have strong safety production standards.
So, should you feed your dog jerky treats? My simple answer is NO! Why chance it? It's even being considered that jerky in general may be dangerous for dogs, as are grapes, chocolate, onions, and other foods. Although they may be safe for human consumption, our dogs shouldn't eat certain human foods. Jerky may be one of these foods.
It doesn't matter where these jerky treats come from. There is a common thread here: JERKY and DOG TREATS. Let's avoid these things in relation to each other.
If they aren't safe, why are stores still selling it?
Simply put: profit. They sell it; we buy it. If we stop buying it, they will stop selling it.
If the FDA and vets have no clue what is causing these illnesses and deaths, but ONE common thread is jerky treats, why keep feeding them to your dog? Stop purchasing jerky treats, period!
What can I give my dog instead?
Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Consider purchasing homemade dog treats from a local business or farmers market
- Feed your pet grain free/gmo free organic treats and food only
- Purchase products made in the U.S. only. (Verify the ingredient source is U.S. based; some labels and pet companies will clarify this)
- Read my blog on safe human foods to give as treats
Please reconsider giving your dog any type of jerky treat. Your pet's life may depend on this one simple decision!