FDA Issues Dog Treats Warning

November 18, 2011 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an important bulletin warning consumers that chicken jerky products (also marketed as chicken tenders, strips or treats) may be associated with serious illness in dogs.

Over the past 12 months, the FDA has observed an increase in the number of complaints regarding canine illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China.

These complaints have been reported to the government by both dog owners and veterinarians.

FDA had previously issued a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerky products in September 2007 and a Preliminary Animal Health Notification later on in December of 2008.

Unfortunately, so far, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. The FDA continues to conduct extensive chemical and microbial testing but has this far not identified a contaminant.

What to Watch For

Chicken jerky products should never be considered a substitute for a balanced diet. These treats should are intended to be fed only occasionally — and in small quantities.

The FDA is advising consumers who still choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky to monitor their animals closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding these products including:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased activity
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased urination

Blood tests may indicate kidney failure. And urine tests may show Fanconi syndrome (increased blood sugar). Although most dogs are likely to recover, some deaths have been reported.

What to Do

If a dog shows any of these signs, the FDA urges consumers to stop feeding the suspected products immediately.

Owners should consult a veterinarian if signs or symptoms are severe or persist more than 24 hours.

So, take precautions. And be sure to tell everyone you know.

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

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