Many of our clients are wondering if they should heed the warnings of many regarding the dangers of feeding their pets jerky treats. Following is important information from both the FDA and the American Veterinary Association.
Since 2007, FDA has become aware of an increasing number of illnesses in pets associated with the consumption of jerky pet treats. As of September 24, 2013, FDA has received approximately 3000 reports of pet illnesses which may be related to consumption of the jerky treats. Most of the reports involve jerky products sourced from China. The majority of the complaints involve dogs, but cats also have been affected. The reports involve more than 3600 dogs, 10 cats and include more than 580 deaths. There does not appear to be a geographic pattern to the case reports.
FDA has received adverse event reports for many sizes and ages of dogs, and for multiple breeds. About 60 percent of the reports are for gastrointestinal illness (with or without elevated liver enzymes) and about 30 percent relate to kidney or urinary signs. The remaining 10% of cases involve a variety of other signs, including convulsions, tremors, hives, and skin irritation.
What we recommend for pet owners
- It is up to you to decide whether or not you will feed your dog chicken jerky treats. There are wonderful grain-free alternatives to jerky treats and as a safe precaution, we suggest switching until more information is revealed.
- If your pet is vomiting, lethargic, or does not want to eat, consult your veterinarian, especially if there is a history of jerky treat consumption. If your pet is showing these signs, it does not necessarily mean that your pet has been made ill by jerky treats – your veterinarian will likely need to perform tests to determine the cause of the problem.
- If your pet becomes ill and you and/or your veterinarian suspect(s) the illness may be associated with the consumption of jerky treats, discontinue feeding the treats and save the treats and packaging (storing them out of your pet’s reach and in a place where a family member will not mistakenly feed them to your pet) in case they are needed for testing.
Following are links to the FDA and AVMA if you want to read more.