Thursday, February 23, 2012

Healthy Dog Treats or Poison in Disguise??


So I just found out that the "healthy" treats I've been giving my dogs have been reported to cause illness several times throughout the last five years. In addition the FDA recently released a consumer report warning purchasers to be wary of pet food or treats manufactured in China--Specifically those containing chicken jerky.
I'm so upset!!! Both my dogs are fine and have been totally normal but I wanted to share this with you all as I was under the impression I was feeding my pups some excellent and tasty treats. 
Here's the scoop: 
I asked my family to purchase healthy treats for my dogs for christmas as River has IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and is sorta allergic to chicken products. Wynnie can probably eat anything (she has a habit of stealing hot wings...) but I try to make sure they both eat healthy. None of their treats or food contain wheat or corn gluten. I usually give River raw veggies as treats--she would literally eat anything, she eats broccoli, lettuce, asparagus, whatever I toss to her! 
So my family purchased Cadet Duck wrapped yams and Chicken wrapped yams as well as two bags of plain Waggin Train Yam treats. (Think dehydrated strips of yam and jerky type meat.) This week I sat down to write a post about healthy dog treats on my blog, typed in Cadet yam treats and BAM recall information. No actual recent recalls but the FDA juuuuust released the above warning November 2011---a little too close for my comfort. So later I will be researching healthy dog treat RECIPES so that I can control the ingredients/quality aaaannnnddd it gives me a chance to share this super important info for pet parents! 
Here's a few more links with info: 
1. Initial Warning September 2007--FDA officially informing us that there has been reports of sick pets that have consumed chicken jerky treats. It goes on to state that some dogs have died. The FDA as well as several veterinary diagnostic laboratories are working to determine the cause of illness in these pets. They have done extensive chemical and microbial testing and have not determined a contaminant. (click here for more info)
2. Preliminary Animal Health Notification December 2008--FDA continues to caution owners against feeding their pets chicken jerky treats or if they decide to continue feeding them they instruct you to watch for lethargy, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, increased urination and drinking, etc. We are informed that these alleged contaminated treats are imported into the USA from China. The report also states that University of Sydney is investigating the association of these treats with sick dogs in Australia. They report that their treats also came from China and they have since been recalled in Australia. Still no known cause. (http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm054448.htm)
3. November 2011 Consumer Warning--FDA again cautioned owners about chicken jerky. They state in the last 12 months they have seen an increase in the number of complaints of dog illnesses associated with chicken jerky treats made in China--the amount of complaints has increased so much to the point they are as concerned as they were at the first warning of 2007. (http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm280586.htm)
4. December 2011 Consumer Warning is still up on the FDA home page for Animal and Veterinary. (http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm092802.htm)
So I will definitely be throwing away the remaining treats I have that have been manufactured in China. There are a few pet companies that I know I can still trust and will stick with those but otherwise I think I will be feeding more fruits and veggies and make my pets their own healthy poison free treats. Other food recalls have included rat poison or melamine contamination. A big problem is that the small companies that we trust are being purchased by the large companies and a lot of dog food/treat manufacturers actually use the same plant, so multiple brands of food/treats can be contaminated! More on pet foods another time.
If your pets have been ill after eating food or treats and it is unrelated to any medical condition please do not hesitate to contact the FDA. 
Food and Drug Administration
Center for Veterinary Medicine
Communications Staff, HFV-12
7519 Standish Place
Rockville, MD 20855
240-276-9300
240-276-9115 FAX
This is the website to file a complaint against a product: http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints
Update: So far all the chicken jerky treats I have looked at are manufactured/made in China. I would use extreme caution when purchasing—check the fine print!! Even publix’s (FL) chicken dog treats are made in China. I’m considering purchasing a food dehydrator to make treats.
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