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7 Things Pet Owners Need to Know: Chicken Jerky Treats From China

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By now you have probably heard about the uproar over possibly tainted chicken jerky treats made for pets. The FDA has issued several warnings to consumers about these treats, which are sourced from China, but there has been no official recall yet, and the products are still available on store shelves.
Here are 7 things you should know:
1. Around 600 dogs have fallen ill or died so far. Symptoms can include your dog throwing up, being lethargic, lack of appetite, having diarrhea (sometimes bloody), drinking a lot of water, and peeing more than usual. Most dogs recover.
2. These three major brands have been implicated by pet owners and veterinarians
(but not publicly named by the FDA): Waggin' Train, Canyon Creek Ranch, and Milo's Kitchen Home-style. Other brands may be involved. These dried chicken jerkys are sold in stores as tenders, strips, or treats.
3. The FDA has come under increasing pressure to take stronger action. Several lawmakers have pressed the agency to act, and a grassroots group has been formed, called Animal Parents Against Pet Treats Made in China. Recently, an Illinois man whose Pomeranian died filed a lawsuit seeking $5 million in damages.
4. The FDA has analyzed the jerky treats for years trying to pinpoint a toxin, with no success. A toxic additive called melamine – the apparent culprit in a massive pet food recall in 2007 -- has been ruled out in this case. Also ruled out so far: rat poison, Salmonella, pesticides, heavy metals, and a chemical called diethylene glycol. The results of a brand-new battery of tests from the FDA are pending.
5. Why hasn't the FDA issued a recall yet? Because no "definitive cause" has been found in the agency's many tests.
6. Why haven't the companies taken their products off the market?
There is nothing stopping them from issuing a voluntary recall, but the pet food companies claim their treats are safe "as directed." If you must feed these treats, follow the feeding guidelines exactly and closely monitor your pet.
7. Pet owners must remain vigilant, not only about these treats but all pet foods. Approximately 70 percent of ALL dog and cat food products sold in the United States are imported from China, according to the group Food & Water Watch. Yet only 2 percent or less of these products are inspected at our border. Pet foods do not have to be labeled "Made in China" -- some may even say "Made in the USA" even if certain raw ingredients, such as vitamins, were sourced from China.
PetsAdviser.com has been providing ongoing coverage of Chinese ingredients in pet food. To get instant access to our 5-page investigative report, sign up here for free. For more facts and information, and to learn how you can help get the word out, see Chinese Pet Food Ingredients Are Killing Our Pets.
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