The Food and Drug Administration has been investigating illness and deaths in dogs (and some cats) associated with pet jerky treats. According to the FDA's findings, from 2007 to 2013, over 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have reportedly become ill from eating pet jerky treats. The FDA's Consumer Update indicates that 580 dogs have died.
What to Look For: Signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products are decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood or mucus), increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If you have fed jerky treats and your pet has any of these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. It is also helpful to take the bag and any remaining treats to your veterinary hospital for identification and possible testing.
Products involved: According to the FDA's Product Safety Information 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.
The illnesses have been linked to many brands of jerky treats. One of the factors common to many of these reported cases is that the pet has ingested a jerky treat that either is made in or contains ingredients imported from China. Pet owners should be aware that manufacturers do not need to list the country of origin for each ingredient used in their products, so packages that do not state on the label that they are made in another country may still contain ingredients sourced from China or other countries that export to the U.S.
Again, if your pet is having any of the symptoms listed above after eating pet jerky treats, please contact your veterinarian.