Deadly Dog Treats

Pet Safety

Dog treats imported from China, which contain the poisonous seed Jatropha, have been connected to deaths in dogs. However, there are many other items, including food products, cosmetics and medical products that contain Jatropha seed that could be contributing to illness in humans and other animals. Rest assured Bully Stick Shoppe does not offer any product that’s not natural.

How do these toxins make their way into animal treats? The FDA does their best to comb all oral intake products for toxins and substances that will make you or your animals sick, or that may be deadly to your pets; however, phorbol esters are bi-products of these toxins and are nearly untraceable.

The Real Culprit

Dog jerky, and specifically dog jerky treats made in China, all contained Glycerin in the list of ingredients. Researchers believe that tainted Glycerin is the cause of these dog deaths and illnesses. Early reports indicate that all flavors and varieties of jerky treats, including Sweet Potato, Chicken and Duck have been infected with these toxins.


Symptoms, unfortunately, vary from pet to pet. Some of the most common symptoms have been listed below:

  • 60% of the animals infected suffered from from gastrointestinal and liver disease
  • 30% ended up with kidney and urinary disease
    • 15% of cases involving urinary or kidney problems tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, an uncommon kidney disease
  • 10% had other symptoms including, but not limited to:
    • dermatological
    • neurological
    • immune system-related problems

Additionally, some animals suffered from minor symptoms including:

  • decreased appetite
  • decreased activity
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea with blood or mucous
  • increased water drinking
  • increased urination

 The Numbers

According to research conducted primarily by the FDA, this toxin has affected nearly 5,600 dogs, 24 cats and 3 people, causing widespread illness and in some cases death. Sadly, since the original report, released in 2012, there have been another 1,800 illnesses reported. Because of these illnesses and over 1,000 pet deaths in the U.S. alone, national pet retail chains, PetSmart and PetCo   have decided to remove all Chinese produced dog treats and food from their shelves. PetSmart is hoping to have all Chinese produced food bi-products removed by March 2015 and PetCo, by the end of the year. Both stores have about 1,300 stores nationwide.

 What Took so Long?

PetCo’s spokesperson said in an interview with the press, that they have been working towards the goal “for some time, and feel it’s the right thing to do for pets and our customers.” However, it is a costly decision to make, as nearly 50% of jerky treats found in pet stores across the nation are made in China.

Additionally, investigations have been underway since 2007 when it comes to many such treats. Drugs have been found in many products coming from China. The biggest setback in the investigation is that many pets exhibit different illness symptoms and owners don’t immediately take them to the vet, choosing to instead monitor the symptoms at home, which may result in serious internal issues or death.

 Ongoing Investigations

A number of brands and treats are believed to have been infected, including:

  • Nestle Purina PetCare Co’s Waggin Train
  • Canyon Creek Ranch treats
  • Del Monte Corp’s Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky
  • Del Monte Corp’s Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Grillers

The FDA has turned their investigation over to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), for now, to conduct further investigations into this potentially deadly toxin. In conjunction with these new investigations, the FDA and CDC have invited the Chinese manufacturers to participate in scientific experiments to determine the root cause of the illness and worked with them to correct the issues. However, little progress has been made and owners are calling for greater protection for the four-legged family members they love and care for.

 Compiling a Complaint Report

If your pet has become seriously ill or died after eating jerky products made in China, you could help other pet owners avoid the same fate by simply reporting your instance to the FDA. Your report should go directly to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your state or online through the Safety Reporting Portal. Remember, you could be helping to save lives of pets around the world! If you suspect your pet has been infected, immediately place the remainder of the treats, including any half-eaten treats along with the packaging into a sealable bag and send them to the FDA.

Valerie is a customer service associate for Bully Stick Shoppe and loves to write articles for dog owners. Her work can be seen on various websites including the Bully Stick Shoppe blog.

Photo Credit: Photo1

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