By now, most people who love a dog know about the jerky warnings from the FDA. To bring everyone up to speed, jerky treats from China have been making thousands of dogs and cats sick and have killed almost 600 dogs. Disgraceful. And apparently, still a mystery as to the cause.
I just can’t imagine the heartache these dog owners are feeling knowing the treats they bought and fed to their dogs were the cause of illness or, in many cases, the demise of their precious pet. Pets trust us for everything. Truly heart wrenching.
Treats are not necessary for a balanced diet but as pets have become part of our families, giving your dog a treat is akin to giving a child a cookie. Both child and dog can certainly live without said treat, but they are a lot happier with their treat of choice.
If your dog has consumed treats manufactured in China and is showing signs of illness, take her immediately to your veterinarian for treatment. The signs show within hours of ingestion and take hold swiftly. Most dogs have survived but with lifelong consequences of their ordeals; 600 did not make it out of the vet offices alive.
What are the signs to watch for?
*Increased thirst/water consumption
More severe cases show gastrointestinal illness and/or renal (kidney) failure. If your pup is exhibiting any of these symptoms, get her to the vet now! And take the treat in the original bag with you when you go for treatment.
The FDA is asking vet practices for blood and urine samples of affected dogs and in the case of a dog who perishes, for necropsy results. It only took six years, but now the FDA is serious about getting to the root of this very dangerous situation.
To be safe, look very carefully at the packaging of any treat you are considering purchasing for your dog. Look at the extremely fine print to ensure it is not made in China. Most manufacturers who produce their treats in the United States are very proud of that fact and readily advertise it on their packaging. And watch for the phrases ‘manufactured by’ and ‘manufactured for.”
The phrase ‘manufactured by’ is a good indication that the product was manufactured by the company whose name is on the package; ‘manufactured for’ is a sure sign that the product was manufactured by some entity other than the one on the label.
Another key point of information to consider is are there any additives to the treat? If vitamins or flavorings have been added, I would want to know if those additives were made overseas or within the US borders. Many items, such as vitamin C, are manufactured overseas. These days, you just can’t be too cautious.
Know your sources. Can the manufacturer trace the product from the grower to you every step of the way? Being able to trace the origin of treats can be like tracking down your great granny four times removed. But, as a person who has dogs instead of kids, I want to know that information.
Where were the sweet potatoes grown? Where and how was the poultry raised? Antibiotic free? No hormones added? Human grade raw ingredients?
As consumers, you have every right to know these pieces of information. And for your peace of mind and the health of your dog who trusts you to make good decisions, you should seek the answers to these questions.
As a manufacturer, I want to tell you this information. If you don’t know, ask. Manufacturers who are proud of the products they produce will readily give up this intel. This is your dog’s life and well being we are talking about!
If you just can’t decide what to do, remember this. Buying no treats at all is better than buying bad ones.
Cindy Dunston Quirk is the Chief Dog Lover at Scout & Zoe’s Natural Antler Dog Chews. Scout & Zoe’s chews are allergy-free and a green, organic, renewable resource created only from 100% naturally shed elk antlers.