Consumer Alert: Watch Pet Treats

Pet treats from China may be making animals sick, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Since 2007, the FDA has become aware of increasing numbers of illnesses in pets associated with the consumption of jerky pet treats. The majority of complaints involve chicken jerky (treats, tenders, and strips), but others include duck, sweet potato, and treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes, or yams.

Pet food imports from China have grown from 100,000 pounds in 2003 to about 86 million pounds in 2011. As part of an ongoing investigation, the FDA inspected five Chinese plants that made products tied to illness reports. They found “one firm falsified receiving documents for glycerin, which is an ingredient in most jerky pet treats,” and China suspended exports from that firm.

No specific products have been recalled, but the FDA advises that “jerky pet treats are not necessary for pets to have a fully balanced diet, so eliminating them will not harm pets.” More advice:

The FDA is advising pet owners who choose to feed their pets jerky pet treat products to watch their pets 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 your pet shows any of these signs, stop feeding the jerky pet treat product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours, as it is important that your pet receive prompt medical attention.

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