Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration issued a Consumer Update regarding jerky pet treats. Veterinarians and pet owners are requested to report to them if your dog or cat became ill after eating jerky pet treats. Since 2007 at least 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have become ill after consuming these treats, and about 580 have died. During that time the FDA has issued alerts and "has conducted more than 1,200 tests, visited jerky pet treat manufacturers in China and collaborated with colleagues in academia, industry, state labs and foreign governments."
From the FDA:
What to Look Out For
Watch your pet closely. 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. Severe cases are diagnosed with pancreatitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, and kidney failure or the resemblance of a rare kidney related illness called Fanconi syndrome.
Bernadette Dunham, Director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said "This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we've encountered."
Reports can be made to:
-the Safety Reporting Portal*
-or your local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator
(*I'm using Chrome and get an incompatible browser error when I access this site, saying some functions may not work.)
The subject of jerky treats, most of which are made in China, has been discussed before on Daily Kos. It was the subject of at least one diary, Dog Owners Beware - I found them in my house, by Missys Brother last March. Lots of good discussion there.
Personally this has been difficult for me because my dogs LOVE them - it's like the treats are made by Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. They get one each night. I've tried the suggestion of making my own by drying fresh chicken in the oven, but it really didn't compare. Not that I'm in the business of making recommendations, but the brand I've settled on is Happy Hips by Dogswell, recommended by my local independent pet store. I've been using them for a couple of years without problems, but then when you compare the amount of pets getting jerky treats to the number of reported problems, the odds of problems are very small.
Most jerky treats are made in China, but even products made in the USA might contain ingredients from other countries unless they explicitly state otherwise.
Let me put in a plug for the website http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com. They test and rate hundreds of brands of dog food.