Check Your Cupboards! Tainted Pet Treats Are Making Thousands of Cats & Dogs Sick

chicken jerky

Is it just us or did almost every friend you know seem to get sick around the holidays? Well, if your four-legged friend seems to be equally draggy and out of sorts lately -- or leaving you little presents on the carpet -- you may want to take a second look at the pet treats Santa may have left in his stocking. 

Especially if they came from one of the big retailers like Petco.


This isn't a recall ... yet. More like a red flag. The FDA is investigating reports that jerky treats (shown above) with ingredients from China may be making more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, and 3 people (um?) really sick -- and could even be responsible for the death of more than 1,000 dogs since 2007.

So until they know for sure, here's what every pet owner needs to know and do:

Most 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, according to the FDA. 

Unfortunately, it's not super easy to tell where the stuff your pet's treats are made from originate since manufacturers aren't required to tell you on the label. So packages that do not come right out and say "Made in the USA" or whatever may contain ingredients from China or other countries that export to the US.

Petco has removed all remaining Chinese-made dog and cat treats from its website and stores nationwide. PetSmart plans to follow suit and said it will have the treats off the shelves of its 1,300 stores by March.

If you think your dog or kitty may have eaten the tainted treats, watch their behavior closely. The following symptoms could pop up within hours or days of eating the products:

    -- decreased appetite
    -- decreased activity
    -- vomiting diarrhea, sometimes with blood
      -- increased water consumption


    -- increased urination

If your pet shows any of these signs or symptoms persist for longer than a 24-hour period, definitely hop on the phone with your vet right away. The FDA is asking pet owners to save the pet treat product, in its original packaging, if possible, for testing.

If anything, this is a reminder to check the labels of our pet's food treats just like we do our own! If you ever have a complaint about your pet's food, don't hesitate to go to the FDA site and file a report.

Has your pet ever gotten sick from pet food or treats -- and how could you tell?

Image © Vladislav Gurfinkel/shutterstock

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