RALPH Speaks

Is It PetSmart or Pet Stupid?

Ever since I was a puppy, I loved to visit PetSmart. It’s like Toys R Us for dogs. You get to see all the latest toys and when you walk in the food aisle, it sure makes my mouth water. The people in Pet Smart love all kinds of critters and sometimes…their love for dogs is more than their love for making money for PetSmart.

Should PetSmart Sell Products Made or Sourced In China?

“Don’t buy that!” one of the PetSmart workers whispered to my dog parent. “It’s made in China. You see what Pet Smart does? They take a product that’s dangerous and package it so it looks healthy and natural. Don’t buy that. Buy this instead.”

Well my dog parent learned to trust the people in Pet Smart. So when he got a coupon in his email for Dentley’s products wondered, were Dentley’s products made in China?

He went to the Dentley’s website and was in for a surprise. Dentley’s are exclusively sold at PetSmart. And no where on the Dentley’s site did it list where the product was made or sourced.

So the first thing he did was to Tweet @petsmart and asked them: “Are Dentley’s products made or sourced in China?” You see, sometimes a product says “Made in the USA” but the product ingredients come from China.

They ignored him.

So he tweeted them again.

They ignored him again.

Hey, this could be fun.

So he sent a letter to PetSmart’s PR department and asked them a simple question: Are Dentley’s products made or sourced in China.

They sent back a confusing email:

Are all Dentley’s products made or sourced in China?
Dentley’s products are sourced from multiple countries, including the United States, Brazil, China, Columbia, Ecuador, India, Mexico and Thailand. This diversity in sourcing helps us ensure that we provide pet parents with high-quality products at reasonable prices. All of our suppliers pass a rigorous audit process which includes both raw material testing and finished goods testing. Additionally, all Dentley’s rawhide products carry a guaranteed analysis and an ingredient panel on the label.

Let me translate that for you. Yes, we get products from China and other places. We do this because it’s cheap.

Now it’s pretty shocking to a little puppy like me to have my favorite store selling products that can harm me.

Here’s what the FDA said:

Since 2007, the FDA has become aware of increasing numbers of illnesses in pets associated with the consumption of jerky pet treats. The majority 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.
The FDA has received approximately 2,200 reports of pet illnesses which may be related to consumption of the jerky treats. The majority of the complaints involve dogs, but cats also have been affected. Over the past 18 months the reports have contained information on 360 canine deaths and one feline death. There does not appear to be a geographic pattern to the case reports. Cases have been reported from all 50 states and 6 Canadian provinces in the past 18 months.

Although the FDA has been actively investigating the reports of illnesses, no definitive cause has been determined. The ongoing global investigation is complex, multifaceted and includes a wide variety of experts at the FDA including toxicologists, epidemiologists, veterinary researchers, forensic chemists, microbiologists, field investigators and senior agency officials.

In the past 10 years, there has been a dramatic increase in importation of pet food from China. Human consumption of poultry in China largely consists of dark meat, leaving a large amount of light meat poultry products available for export. From 2003, when China first approached the USDA about poultry exports, to 2011, the volume of pet food exports (regulated by the FDA) to the United States from

Furthermore, the FDA has said:

Are there specific brands we should be concerned about?

No specific products have been recalled because a definitive cause has not been determined. The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. If the FDA identifies the cause, the agency will take appropriate action and notify the public.

Why aren’t these products being taken off the market?

There is nothing preventing a company from conducting a voluntary recall. It is important to understand that unless a contaminant is detected and we have evidence that a product is adulterated, we are limited in what regulatory actions we can take. The regulations don’t allow for products to be removed based on complaints alone. This is an ongoing investigation and FDA will notify the public if a recall is initiated. Currently, FDA continues to urge pet owners to use caution with regard to jerky pet treat products.

Did you note those words we marked in Bold? There is nothing preventing a company from conducting a voluntary recall.

You would think that a company like PetSmart who knows how much our dog parents love us would stop sourcing their products in China. But their response was:

To date, the FDA has identified no toxins that could cause illnesses in dogs. Information from both the FDA and product manufacturers- including required or voluntary recalls- is reviewed swiftly and any recommended enhancements or changes to our business practices specific to a product are implemented immediately. PetSmart will continue to monitor all sources of information and will take action if necessary.

Here’s the way I see it. PetSmart knows how much our dog parents love us. They could easily find products that aren’t made or sourced in China. But as long as the FDA doesn’t order them to do it, you can expect to see products made or sourced in China in PetSmart.

And to us, that means PetSmart is really Pet Stupid!

Do you think PetSmart should continue to produce and sell food products made in China?

Do you think Dentley’s should clearly label their products if they come from China?

Do pet parents have a right to know where the products they give their babies are made?

Please add your comments below.

58 Comments

58 Comments

  1. ashley gardner

    May 31, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    I am holding a bag of Dentley's Rawhide rolls. Says on the front in bold RED "MADE IN USA" However there are NO INGREDIENTS listed. Have no idea how they are manufactured. My 1 year old puppy likes them a lot but don't want to use if they are indeed toxic. Anyone???

    • Richard Hansen

      Jul 20, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      I bought the Dentley's brand because the label proudly indicated it was MADE In The USA.
      Usually can't find dog treats not made in China but thought this was at least safe.
      Went to checkout and the cashier stood frozen when item came up "Recalled item".
      I was shocked to find not only was this Dentley item recalled but was not made in the USA.
      Consider me Angry

  2. David Wedell

    Nov 15, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    My Pixie loves Dentley’s® Wrapped Rawhide Sticks Small Dog Treat – Chicken. She like to take a stick, put in on the ground and scrap off the outer layer. Sometimes she just crunches down on them and eats them right away.

    She has never been sick, and I don’t recall ever seeing that they were made in China. I’m very concerned and not sure what to think I was looking for Dentley’s website, but haven’t found it yet. I’ll keep looking.

  3. Crystal

    Nov 12, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Gave my dog Dentleys natural chew small bone, natural flavor center cut femur bone, stated made in USA, AZ. We always look for China. I gave it to her a few months ago and noticed she was lethargic, diarrhea and vomitting within 2 days since she’s a 1 year old puppy I thought she just got into something in the yard but I put up the bone as she only used when supervised anyway. She improved within 24 hours but had bowel problems for days. I forgot about the bone. A few months later I pulled it out and gave to her again. 2days after she again had problems! Vomitting, diarrhea and urine all over her crate!! Took the bone away for good!!! Just awful, I felt so bad. She is still having some bowel issues but is acting fine again. Never will I give her anything from Dentleys. .

    • Tracy

      Feb 1, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      Unfortunately,just because it says made in the USA,that doesn’t mean the ingredients where USA sourced. It makes it harder for pet parents to find safe treats as that is deceiving. So from now on I do not just look to see if it was made in the USA,but I also find out where the ingredients came from. It is a pain to have to research every treat or food I purchase for them,but they are my babies and so I make the extra effort.

  4. mommtufive

    Jul 7, 2016 at 12:41 am

    My friend gave me a pkg of Bentley’s Nature’s Chews Dog Chews, Natural Flavor, Prime Slices Tendon de bison. He bought them at Pet Smart. Being an Emergency Veterinary Technician I have seen many dogs and puppies come in gravely ill or sadly enough already deceased after eating chicken chews and other items made in China. So I checked the pkg quicky and saw that it was from Arizona. Unfortunately, due to my busy schedule and my rushing I missed where it said made in China. My Rottweiler usually has a stomach of steel and eats everything. I gave him 1 and another one the next week. Both times he vomited after eating one and was lethargic for at least 24 hours. Then I thought to inspect the pkg more closely and saw it was made in China!!! I don’t know how I missed it. I only feed made in the USA pet treats. I love my pets and dont want to play Russian Roulette with their lives.

  5. Leah

    Jun 9, 2016 at 5:46 am

    Due to the recent safety concerns, I switched from a rawhide product which was marked as ” made in China” to a similar product made by Dentley’s. I read the packaging carefully and it clearly stated that it was made in Argentina. My pup seemed okay with the chews for a long while but recently I began to notice that he gets super ramped up after chewing one of these”safe” Dentley chews. Extremely rapid panting with heaving sides and glassy crazy-looking eyes. Even though my baby loves to chew and begs for these bones, I am going to return them, tell them about his symptoms and ask for my money back. I read the newer packaging and the place of manufacture has changed to Cambodia. I no longer believe that these treats are safe and will try to find a more natural treat for my baby. Thank you to everyone who posted here. Your information confirmed my suspicions as to the source of the problem!

    Worried Momma

  6. john

    May 13, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    my dogs love the stuffed rawhide. those seem to be fine. and i give max 1 a day.

  7. Tina Thames

    Dec 14, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I’ve just spent three days worrying because my Swiss Mountain Dog (117lbs) ate a Dentley’s Femur bone from PetSmart! She’s been X-Rayed and has a belly full of bones, that so far she continues to throw up. We are cautiously watching her to make sure she won’t need surgery to remove the rest! Why would you sell such a dangerous product!?!

  8. Leslie Larson

    Oct 8, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    RAWHIDE IS NOT TO GIVE TO DOG….EVER!!!!
    Its ALWAYS been unhealthy..
    Choose real MEAT! from USA (It will say made in USA MEAT not the packaging)

    • john

      May 13, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      thats not true.

  9. Chris Kirk

    Oct 2, 2015 at 8:43 am

    My dog was violently ill from this company’s Dentley Beef Rawhide. Violent diarrhea and would not eat for two date. Terrible terrible product.

    • Tonia

      Oct 27, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Did your dog recover? What did you do to help? Our dog is on day 3, and we are thinking it’s from this product as its the only change!

  10. Shelley

    Sep 15, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Oh good grief. NOTHING that the FDA said links any illnesses to any rawhide bones. Ridiculous.

  11. Shelby

    Aug 18, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Three days after only biting a Dentley’s stick that splintered, my dog’s face starting swelling. I repeat – biting the stick. I did not allow her to chew or ingest any of the bully stick. A golf ball sized abscess was eventually lanced. After three visits to the vet, two rounds of antibiotics, and one month of medical care. She appears to be well and able to chew her food again. Coincidence? Maybe. But, I connect the splinters to the abscess. Dentley’s should discontinue manufacturing.

  12. Lamont Taft

    Aug 18, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Boycott this dung selling corporation!

  13. Lamont Taft

    Aug 18, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Our puppy got REAL sick eating a Dentley’s rawhide “bone”. Made in Thailand. The font is a 5 or 6 and almost impossible to read. I will NEVER buy anything from PetStupid again!

    • Rebecca Alworth

      Jan 17, 2016 at 4:49 am

      Was it the plain skinny twist sticks? Because my puppy is having explosive diarrhea after chewing on them. What were your dogs symptoms?

  14. Chris

    Mar 9, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    I am sad that petsmart is no longer selling rawhide stuffed rolls. My dogs LOVE those. They have been enjoying them for YEARS. If the FDA had on speck of proof these treats where a problem they would have shut them down. Tons of products on the market are made in China. Too bad some American Company can’t make a treat like these. They probably have tried but they have to deal with so many taxes, regulations and the iron fist of the government that we can’t produce great products any longer.

  15. Guardian

    Mar 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Great information! Thank you everyone for the comments and energy for such an important subject. I don’t think that family food or anything for that matter should come from a high risk place in the world. The real and only way to punish the parties involved in hurting our families, and or killing our loved ones is to boycott all products coming from the source of the murders! Sounds harsh I know but look up the definition of murder and this fits the bill as I understand it. So lets say the truth of what’s going on. Petsmart is aware of the issues and continues to willingly still make available these products (murder). Most the food for our children (pets as some say) come from a lot of different countries as Petsmart said. people should not minimize our families by calling our children pets! For they distance themselves of the responsibility and magnitude of the truth by saying they are just pets or animals. Are they really just animal? The issues are coming from China in this instance. I am not too sure we can boycott all of what China makes available to us of course. We can however make this known as this site is trying to do. Then simply pay attention, read labels, and look up online. Boycott as according to at least our children’s food and treats. After all it is our responsibility to insure of what we feed our children and ourselves. Be aware that there are sites like this “great site” to help us all. I think any label should show ingredients and the origin of all ingredients also the assembly of the products. No need to hide information if these places are confident enough to make these products available for sale. To be perfectly honest I will not buy any food products coming from china! Can we survive on American made products only? I doubt it these days. Do you need to depend on china for food and treats? I don’t think so. Good luck everyone!

    Thank you, Guardian 🙂

  16. Linda S

    Dec 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    It is so sad that our pets have to pay the ultimate price for these stupid unreliable companies. Not sure who’s more stupid- the companies for selling these products or our wonderful FDA/govt for allowing this to go on. If places like Petsmart and Petco or anywhere else cannot be a reliable source of healthy, trustworthy place to do business, then they will not have my business. In the past, both places have gotten plenty of my money. Not the case in the future….

  17. alilyforme

    Nov 21, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    We just lost a family dog that was 4 because of Dentleys rawhide. She went into kidney failure and despite our vets attempts ativ fluids and antibiotics for 4 days, she was only getting worse and had to be put to sleep. Shame on these people who continue to sell these items while our pets are the innocent victims!

  18. alilyforme

    Nov 21, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    We just a family dog that was 4 because of Dentleys rawhide. She went into kidney failure and despite our vets iv fluids and antibiotics for 4 days, she was only getting worse and had to be put to sleep. Shame on these people who continue to sell these items while our pets are the innocent victims!

  19. [email protected]

    Oct 16, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    My dog was getting sick on Dentley’s rawhide chews that are like granulated rawhide strips. He refuses to eat these so he is telling me that there is something very wrong about this product. Normally he would love rawhide. I had to wait for my dog to vomit and have diarrhea to understand. I also do not but dog food products that are made in China. I understand that some chemicals in foods are in all our foods though.

    • Penny Stock Investments

      Nov 3, 2014 at 1:26 am

      Excellent Thats how companies are today.

    • Molly

      Dec 20, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      I just made the connection. I recently bought the rawhide chews and my do has had them three times. Two times she has thrown up! I trusted PetSmart that these were good for her!

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  25. Terry

    Jan 14, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I appreciate all of the comment, but it would also be helpful if alternatives are offered. Can someone post a listing or web site of US made dog/pet treats? It seems all of the popular brands are made in China. I’m looking at a bag of the Dentley’s Rawhide Stuffed rolls and it clearly says Made in China so no deception there in my mind.

    The way for us as consumers to make a difference is by spending our money on another product.

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  29. JT

    Nov 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    If you read the FDA report, it basically says it hasn’t finished it’s investigation yet. OK, I’m good with that. I’m also good with not jumping to conclusions prior to the completion of the investigation. So, if PetSmart (and Petco is in the same boat) don’t want the remove the Chinese products, that’s their prerogative.

    THE BETTER QUESTION IS THIS: Why don’t these companies carry products made in the USA? Today, while looking for rawhide bones, I found none made in the USA at Petco, and only 1 brand (out of 10 other brands) at PetSmart made in the USA.

    Let us consumers choose. At least give us a choice!

  30. JS

    Oct 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Agreed. My lab Moose used to love these but I don’t buy them for him anymore. As a pet parent, I was horrified when my furbaby started vomiting after he ate these chews. It happened within minutes 3 separate times. I returned the one unopened bag I had to Petsmart and tossed the opened bag. I also contacted Petsmart customer service and filed a report with the FDA stating an adverse reaction to a treat. Thank GOD he did not suffer any long-term damage, but I am furious to see all this China BS still going on after years of pets becoming ill and many dying. I was also angry with myself for feeding him this crap. All his life I have been so careful not to give him anything from China. These chews were formerly Made in Brazil according to the bag, but had apparently switched to Made in China the last time I checked when my dog got sick. I was absolutely furious! Oh and not surprisingly, Petsmart removed my review of this Dentley’s product and is apparently not taking any of the China crap seriously.

  31. Peka

    Oct 16, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I’ve been researching Dentley’s today because my dogs, who have been eating the Dentley rawhides for years, have suddenly been vomiting after eating them. I opened a new bag a couple days ago and I’ve been cleaning up vomit since. Yesterday, I saw ‘Made in China’ on rawhide bag and was surprised. Guess I shouldn’t have been.

  32. Jackie

    Jul 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I was shocked to read all of this. I’d just tried to order dentleys on line. No more. I’d stopped buying stuffed toys because if china label but hadn’t thought of the chew bones. Good grief!!

    • Jackie

      Jul 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      Because “of” China label. I’m with the other guy — these iPads,

  33. amber

    Oct 15, 2012 at 5:42 am

    I totally agree with this article. Petsmart is a huge organization and if these companies will not do their own recall, Petsmart should do one of their own by not selling them! It's confusing enough trying to figure out what is and what is not healthy. They could at least remove the products that are Deadly!

  34. DoxieMom

    Oct 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Its very difficult to ensure you aren’t getting Chinese products for your dog. Even some dog food or treats that may state made in the USA may have used Chinese products. I do a lot of label reading and researching on the Internet to find truly healthy choices for my dogs.

  35. robert

    Oct 14, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Petsmart doesn’t HAVE to stop selling those products but it would be an awfully good business move to do it on their own- they would probably increase traffic in their stores. Meanwhile, we as dog parents, just have to be extra careful when buying for our “kids”. Read labels and research!

    • Ingrid

      Aug 1, 2014 at 12:24 am

      I won’t be shopping at PetSmart or using grooming services anymore since my dogs became ill. The only change in their diet was the Dentlley’s rawhide chew strips. I now recall that they became ill earlier in the year when I purchased the same product from PetSmart. I didn’t put 2-and-2 together until now. I don’t typically shop at PetSmart – it was a convenience stop – but not again.

  36. Laura

    Oct 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Yes, PetSmart sells the same products as other companies do and can be harmful to pets. What my problem is that they have adoption agencies that are nothing more than puppy mills and people buy them up like crazy! I personally know this to be a fact and wonder why a company would to this if not for anything other than money! I had always loved PetSmart until I found this out, now I only buy toys from there. I’m sorry I know you were talking about a serious problem, I just wanted to let you know thats not the only one!

  37. Renee Johnson

    Oct 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I purchased a case of cat food from petsmart several months ago. When I opened one can, it was filled with maggots!! I took the case of food back, and the refunded my money, and PUT THE REST OF THE CASE ON THE SHELF TO SELL TO SOMEONE ELSE!! I haven’t purchased any pet food from them since.

  38. joyce england

    Oct 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    No store should sell products harmful to animals or human animals.I like pet co for their helpful staff.They should not sell product harmful to pets.Read all labels ,take nothing for granted.

  39. SDlubala

    Oct 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    As consumers we all need to do our homework. There are companies in the US that make treats, chews and toys for pets. Red Barn comes to mind. Do your research and go to independents. You may pay a little extra but you will get US products. Now remember that anything can be recalled so nothing is 100% safe but your chances for safe are better. In the meantime make your own dog treats. There are lots of recipes for biscuits, dried sweet potatoes (my dogs love those) and jerky. Buy human grade materials from your butcher. Homemade is much better anyway. No chemicals and no preservatives!

  40. adele Hansen

    Oct 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I will never buy any product for me or my cats and service dog made anywhere out of the US.
    you can never trust products made in china.if you use colgate toothpaste,check where its made,some of their smaller tubes,they are made in china.this makes me sick!!
    also the out sourcing of jobs so corps can get richer and our jobs are less and less.
    I no longer shop at petsmart or petco due to many of their products being made in china.
    shop your locally owned pet stores,they are loyal to their customers!!

  41. Kerry

    Oct 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    To be fair, PetCo and other holistic stores like Bark sell chicken treats, and other items, made in China, or that use ingredients made in China. Even PetCo’s Unleashed stores, which focus on natural products, carry chicken jerky treats made in China, which is odd, because they carry Colorado naturals – chicken, beef and pork treats made in the US using ingredients from the US.

  42. Amy

    Oct 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    i agree with Jamie. I knew a long time ago about certain products being sourced from China. YOU as the Pet Parent need to do your homework. All major pet stores sell products like the Dentley’s, why are’t you naming them in this story? I choose products that I have done research on or if i can’t find what i like, I go to my local feed store.

    I don’t think it’s right to bash a company like Petsmart that does so much good for ALL PETS out there.

    I understand you pointing this out, but c’mon.. surely you can find a story that has a little more merit than this one. This is somewhat old news that any good pet owner has already heard and are aware of.

    Everyone needs to take their own responsibility in having a pet.

  43. Becki Riensche

    Oct 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you for this article. I agree with both of the comments above. This article does single out PetSmart, but ALL stores who are after the Almighty Dollar need to consider their customers FIRST! If I purchased a tainted treat for me very loved (& spoiled) dogs, and they became sick and died, you can bet that almighty dollar that I would never set foot in that establishment again – EVER. If the stores are willing to,risk that, then their priorities are misguided. This ismwhy Imhave topped purchasing treats made ANYWHERE other than the USA or made in my own kitchennfrom foods fit for human consumption. My pet’s health AND life are not worth giving money hungry chain stores my hard earned money on the CHANCE my dogs will be ok.

    • Becki Riensche

      Oct 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Sorry for all the typos above…this iPad is possessed…I really can spell and punctuate correctly!

  44. Mia MacFarlane

    Oct 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I think if PetSmart wants to maintain its customers, it would be beneficial for them to pull the products on the list of possible contaminated treats. I used to give my dogs Beggin’ Strips until I saw them on the list of possible contaminated treats. I found some that were made right here in the USA and will continue to give these to my dogs. I don’t shop at PetSmart anymore for a few reasons, but the fact that they are supporting products that are on the list of possible contaminated products is one reason I won’t shop there.

  45. Ralph

    Oct 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Jamie, right now we are focused on one issue.

    Should PetSmart be selling products sourced in China.

    There are many other places to get products.

    We can cover other issues at another time.

    • Mary

      Oct 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      It is very hard to tell where a product is made or what is really in it, when companies try to “hide” what they are doing. Would they be hiding it if they didn’t think these products were doing damage. PetSmart is not the only one selling these products, but if they are actually manufacturing them, they have more of a responsibility to pet lovers and their pets. I sent back a box of rawhide treats recently because they were made in China. I had no idea before I got the product that it was made in China. I will not feed my dogs jerky treats of any kind at this point. There are plenty of other things to feed them. The unfortunate part is you don’t know where else these harmful ingredients are included.
      It is irresponsible and unconscionable to be selling and making these products while it is unknown what it is exactly that is harming our pets. It’s not smart business either.

  46. jamie

    Oct 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I think you are unfairly singling PetSmart out! All retailers sell these types of products so why not talk about them? Petsmart does a wonderful job for shelter animals and responding to natural disasters and puppy mill situations.(Donating supplies) Lets hear about that hmmm?

    • screw petsmart

      Oct 24, 2013 at 9:31 am

      i looked up the info for dentleys, and the poster is right. chinese/foreign made. my treats are going back. The sourcing from different countries=cheap. And by the ways the treats are not that cheap to buy.

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