Dog treats are a staple at my house and when I purchase more, I trust what I’m buying is safe for my dogs to eat. After all, the FDA is suppose to be watching and regulating our food, as well as our pets’ to make sure it’s safe for consumption. It’s been five years since the first reports surfaced, so why are dogs still getting sick and dying from dog treats made in China?
The first public warning came in 2007 after the FDA received complaints from dog owners. Another warning was issued in 2008, and a third warning was put out in late 2011. However, the FDA warnings have not been urgent and pet owners have not been properly warned. To date, the treats suspected of sickening dogs have not been recalled and are still available on store shelves. One would think the reasonable and responsible action would be to pull the treats in question until this issue is resolved. Unfortunately, there has been no recall and it doesn’t look like the FDA or the manufacturers of the treats are inclined to issue any in the near future.
Since 2007, there’s been close to 1,000 dog owners who have watched their dogs fight to survive after eating tainted dog treats made in China. Some of the dogs died. These are reported incidents and there is no estimate of the number of dogs that have, and still are, getting sick or dying. I have to put myself into this category. Two years ago I adopted a puppy my neighbor didn’t want. She gave me a bag of dog supplies along with her pup. Among the supplies was a bag of Waggin’ Train dog treats. I was working with one of my other dogs on her training and was out of my usual treats, so I used some of the Waggin’ Train treats. A day after eating them, she became very sick. My vet said she had been poisoned and neither one of us suspected the dog treats. My 11 month old dog died from kidney failure three days after getting sick. We weren’t aware of the FDA warnings at the time. The anguished look on my dying dog’s face will always haunt me.
The reason the treats are still on the market is because the FDA has not been able to find the toxins responsible for making dogs sick. According to ABC News, the FDA has samples from dog owners whose pets were affected by the treats, but the government agency is being closed lipped about any test results, nor are they giving out any information concerning inspections from Chinese plants where the dog treats are made. The FDA has tested the treats for toxic metals, pesticides, rat poison, melamine (the toxin found in pet food imported from China in 2007, resulting in the largest pet food recall in history), salmonella or any other toxic chemicals. Because no toxins have been found, the FDA can’t force a manufacturer to recall their product.
The dog treats in question are chicken jerky strips, nuggets, tenders, and treats. Two of the treats are made by Nestle Purina and the brands to avoid buying are Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch. Milo’s Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats, produced by Del Monte Corp is the other brand to avoid.
Symptoms to watch for are vomiting, diarrhea, blood in vomit or diarrhea, loss of appetite, excessive thirst and urination, and lethargy. If you have given your dog any of the above treats and you notice any symptoms, call your vet immediately. Most dogs have recovered, but those that died developed kidney problems that lead to their deaths.
Both companies continue to tell consumers their dog treats are safe and they do not intend on recalling them. Since the FDA won’t issue a recall until they find the toxins responsible, frustrated dog owners and veterinarians are trying to spread the word to warn dog owners about the dog treats. Angry dog owners started their own Facebook page, Animal Parents Against Pet Treats and Food Made in China, to help get the word out and you can find more information there.
As a dog owner who lost a pet, I’m angry the two companies refuse to issue a recall to remove these treats from store shelves. Instead, both are allowing unknowing consumers to continue buying tainted dog treats. The responsible thing to do would be to pull the treats until answers can be found. I understand a company wanting to protect their reputation, but as long as dogs continue to get sick or die, their credibility is already at risk.
Homemade dog treats are quick and easy to make and you know exactly what’s in them because you make them in your own kitchen. You can find a nice variety of homemade recipes online. Here’s one to get you started with how to tips on making your own treats, and easy recipes.
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