Toxic Treats: Chinese Dog Treats Linked To Over 1000 Deaths

blind_dogChina's flagWe have had a steady stream of tainted food and defective products from China, which is notorious for its lack of environmental and product safety enforcement. Now, more than dog deaths are believed to be linked to “toxic treats” from China and, given the under-reporting of such deaths, the number could be far higher. There have been roughly 5000 complaints since 2007 about jerky treats and pet deaths or illnesses.

Many of the cases involved gastrointestinal or liver disease and about a third involved kidney and urinary disease. The common factor appears to be chicken or duck jerky treat, or a jerky-wrapped treat from China. What is equally disturbing is that, while some treats say that they are made in the USA, they actually may contain Chinese ingredients. So, pet owners who routinely avoid Chinese products, may be unable to protect their pets by companies that use (but do not disclose) their Chinese ingredients. Under intense criticism and after New York state officials found antibiotics in their products, Nestlé Purina and Del Monte voluntarily pulled several popular chicken jerky treats made in China off the market. This included Nestlé Purina’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats as well as Milo’s Kitchen treats produced by Del Monte’s pet food division (Big Heart Pet Brands).

Dogs often show specific signs of sickness including vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. However, the FDA continues to be stumped about the cause of the contamination.

We previously discussed this scandal but it appears to be continuing to get worse. The FDA just issued this warning.. It includes this information:

Source: Washington Post

Since 2007, FDA has become aware of an increasing number of illnesses in pets associated with the consumption of jerky pet treats. As of May 1, 2014, FDA has received approximately 4,800 reports of pet illnesses which may be related to consumption of the jerky treats (These include 1800 complaints received since FDA’s last update in October 2013). 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 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, three people and include more than 1,000 canine 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 percent of cases involve a variety of other signs, including convulsions, tremors, hives, and skin irritation.

Part of the problem is that pet owners often face limited damages for the loss of pets, which are still treated as chattel. Class action lawsuits represent the best litigation option, but Chinese companies are notoriously difficult to sue.

Source: Washington Post

31 thoughts on “Toxic Treats: Chinese Dog Treats Linked To Over 1000 Deaths”

  1. I often encounter other dog-walkers who carry pocketfuls of treats that want offer them to my dog. I always decline and they react as if I’ve personally offended them.

    I don’t understand the notion of constantly giving an animal treats. I feed my dog twice a day, I give him an after dinner treat, and that’s it. My german shepherd is 11 years old an in impeccable shape. What he really loves is his walks.

  2. @Karen S, if memory serves, analysis of the (strongly) suspect dog treats has not yet demonstrated the source of the dogs’ illnesses. In other words, if there is a adulterant, bacterium, or virus at work, it has not yet been identified. That gives me pause. If there is newer information arising from analyzing the dog treats, I would be very interested to read it.

  3. Raff,

    I don’t think that will work, the FDA will only make them put a black box warning on them. Just think of how many folks are taking drugs with side affects that are worse than the reason for the drug.

    I know they did that with chantic but the FDA only prohibits commercial and private pilots from taking. And the NHTSA has banned over the road drivers. But yet it’s safe for you are me.

  4. Don’t the Chinese EAT dogs? They eat monkey brains. Can they eat dogs and cats killed by poison?

    We had a Chinese restaurant busted on the TV news here in Tennessee for having four dead cats in the freezer. The lady said, “we don’t serve that. They are only for our family consumption.” [She said that with an accent, which I can’t really capture in keytext.]

  5. If I was in the pet treat business I would put only US sourced items in the product and put a big logo on the front of the box with Made in the USA and text declaring that everything was from the US.

    I’ve been hoping to see someone selling products in general would put a Chinese Flag with with the red circle and strikeout on it and text that says “No Chinese Ingredients”. Hopefully it would catch on and the consumer might be increasingly sensitive to Chinese exports and refuse to buy them.

    The US government has the authority to deny food imports from an entire country for health reasons. It’s time they did so.

  6. Much of the “organic” food the Birkenstock crowd consume is from China. They know if it’s “organic” you charge twice as much. So, they pull the vegetables from a toxic wasteland and mark it “Organic.” We regular folks will outlive all those sanctimonious people. The ONLY way you can assure something is organic is having a personal relationship w/ a farmer you trust. It’s stupid to pay for “organic” in a grocery store. But, I’m a libertarian, spend away, it helps the economy. They’ll stamp “organic” even more for ya’.

    1. I restored your comment Nick.

      Folks, Nick’s comment is above at 3:07

  7. I wonder about frozen fruits and vegetables. I don’t wash my frozen fruits before eating, the frozen vegetables are cooked so should be safer, unless there are some heavy metals in the water they were washed in, which would get concentrated with cooking, I’m assuming.

  8. Even treats that say they are made in the US, were from wheat shipped to china then the Chinese processed wheat is shipped back to be used in US or Canada to make the biscuits. . I make my own homemade dog food and only milk bones for the my furry kids
    Chinese drinking water is filthy also so any fruit from Del Monte processed over there has this greasy shine to it, yuck check out the label for manderin oranges or pears

  9. This also affects cats, as there has been melamine poisoning in cats, as well as other problems, both in domestic and imported foods and treats.

  10. Maybe it’s time to put a ban in place on dog food, treats, or toys from China, since they have been demonstrated to be unsafe.

    Consumers here in the US assume that if a product is sold here, it is safe. We trust the FDA, the USDA, and the Consumer Product Safety Division. If items are being sold that do not fall under their jurisdiction, then it needs to be disclosed. Or we need to do better at communicating that “buyer beware” is still very much in effect.

  11. Makes me wonder when a family member I am quite fond of will stop manufacturing his products in China, yet he doesn’t allow his dog or his children to have Chinese made products. He’s a good man but willfully blind in this regard.

  12. I have only ever given hard dog biscuits to my dogs. I assumed they were not the products that China sends to us to harm our dogs. But, that was an ASSUMPTION. Anyone know? We are currently dogless. Having to bury 2 within 2 years[14 and 15 years old] was tough.

  13. ” I have a solution. Ban all dog treats from China until they prove they are safe by our standards.”

    I had thought there was also a problem with some ingredients imported from China. Perhaps I am wrong. But that problem is much harder for pet owners to manage.

    I also note that reports of these problems frequently neglect to mention brands that seem to be involved.

    I also try to avoid pet foods from China. But that action may be an incomplete solution to protect pets.

  14. rafflaw – China just did that to a meat plant somewhere that they visited so fair is fair.

  15. I always check my dog treats and toys to see if they are made in China and if they are, I avoid them like the plague. I have a solution. Ban all dog treats from China until they prove they are safe by our standards.

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