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353 Reports of Illness Due to Chicken Jerky Treats

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Chicken jerky dog treats imported from China continue to cause health problems for some dogs who eat them. The FDA has issued warning statements, but since the exact source of the illnesses has not been defined, no products have been recalled. The common element in all of these cases is that the dogs were fed chicken jerky treats made in China.  JoNel Aleccia of Vitals on msnbc.com reports on illness due to chicken jerky treats in this article.

353 Reports of Illness Due to Chicken Jerky Treats

Reports of illnesses in dogs given chicken jerky treats have spiked dramatically following a new government warning about pet snacks made in China.

The federal Food and Drug Administration has logged at least 353 reports this year of illnesses tied to imported chicken jerky products, also sold as chicken tenders, chicken strips or chicken treats, a spokeswoman said.

That’s up from 70 reports of illnesses — and some deaths —  received in 2011 before the Center for Veterinary Medicine issued an updated warning on Nov. 18.

Dog owners and veterinarians are reporting that animals have been stricken with a range of symptoms within hours or days of eating chicken jerky, including serious problems such as kidney failure and Fanconi syndrome, a condition marked by low blood sugar.

Though the illnesses appear tied to chicken jerky products manufactured in China, the source of the problem remains a mystery, said Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman.

Despite extensive chemical and microbiological testing, the agency has not identified problems with a specific contaminant — or a specific brand or type of treat.

“[We are] still digging through the reports to see if we can discern a common thread that’s more specific than just chicken jerky,” DeLancey said.

The latest warning was the agency’s third alert about chicken jerky treats, with previous cautions issued in2007 and 2008. In 2007, 156 reports of dog illnesses tied to chicken jerky were logged, but the number fell sharply, to just 41 in 2008, according to FDA records.

Because the agency has not identified any particular products as the culprit, no recalls have been issued.

In the meantime, FDA officials are warning pet owners to avoid chicken jerky treats imported from China. They’re also urging owners to seek medical care if dogs develop symptoms including decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, increased water consumption and increased urination. Stop feeding the treats to the animal and seek veterinary care, especially if symptoms are severe, or persist for more than a day, officials say.

Since there have not been any recalls, the word hasn’t been spread in a big way, and we may expect to see more reports of illness linked to chicken jerky treats. Please follow the FDA’s recommendations and avoid these treats. Also, if your dog has eaten them, pay close attention for signs of illness and report any illness to the FDA. You can read the full original article here. Do you have any experience with your dog becoming sick as a result of commercial dog food or treats? Please tell us your story in the comments below.

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  1. Avatar Of Ron Jones

    Ron Jones


    Are the Purina treats Pro Plan that used to be Carvers harmful?

  2. Avatar Of Dahligirl



    Thanks for the conformation, Bob. Industry is learning that through the internet, people will have a voice stronger than ever before. We love our dogs!

  3. Avatar Of Bobshoe Bobshoe says:

    Nestlé Purina continues to sell chicken jerky manufactured in China though its subsidiary Waggin’Train, even though the [FDA __title__ FDA] has recently and repeatedly cautioned pet owners of the potential association of illness and even death in dogs from the consumption of these Chinese made dog “treats.” Rather than clearly alert consumers to the dangers of its China made products, Purina packaging instead states, “Waggin’Train is an American owned company.”

    Nestlé [Purina __title__ Purina] continues to sell chicken jerky manufactured in China though its subsidiary [Waggin’Train __title__ Waggin’Train], LLC, even though the [FDA __title__ FDA] has repeatedly and recently cautioned consumers of a potential association between the development of severe illness and even death in dogs from the consumption of these Chinese made dog treats, according to the website [ChickenJerky.org __title__ ].

    Since 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued several cautions to dog owners that chicken jerky products may be associated with illness and even death in dogs. The first caution was published in September 2007. The FDA followed this up with a health notification in December 2008. Then, in November 2011, the FDA published its latest statement based on numerous reports from dog owners and veterinarians.

    Rather than warning pet owners of what the symptoms to watch for from feeding these China made treats to their pets, Purina’s packaging instead states, “Waggin’Train is an American owned company.”

    “Had I any indication whatsoever of what symptoms to look for when my two 5-year old Australian Shepherds got ill, I would have immediately stopped feeding these treats to them before Skylar, the smaller of the two dogs died,” says Bob Schumacher, who launched ChickenJerky.org in memory of his dog.

    Skylar, a healthy and robust dog’s death was attributed by his veterinarian to eating small amounts of Purina’s Waggin’Train chicken jerky treats purchased at Costco.

    “I don’t expect Purina to make the most delicious or even the most nutritious dog food or treats. But I do expect Purina not to knowingly sell treats that potentially are linked to sickening or killing our beloved companion animals, — and not be responsible enough to warn us.”

    “Can Purina’s executives begin to imagine what it is like for me to know every day for the rest of my life that I fed Skylar, my best friend who depended on me to care for him, the very treats that killed him,” continued Mr. Schumacher.

    “Do these Purina executives have any genuine empathy for what it is like to watch your companion die a slow and horrible death over two months in spite of constant round the clock care and thousand dollar veterinary bills?” concluded Mr. Schumacher.

    • I feel Mr. Schumacher’s pain and frustrations and this is another good example that too many companies in the pet food industry care more about profits than quality.

      This is why we the dog parents need to educate ourselves on labeling and ingredients lists and what they really mean… I have been doing research for over three years, ever since my Beagle started to have seizures and believe me what you read on the labels is misleading at best.

      I have not read the labeling for these treats, but I would guess if it’s made in China it would include a meat by-product of some sort… I am not saying that this meat by-product was the cause of illnesses, but if your dog food lists a meat by-product it is a good indication that it is a low quality food and the manufacturer cares more about profits than quality.

      Please at the very least stop feeding your dogs any formula that list a meat by-product, and these formulas can be found even on the shelves of some Vets, so don’t think because the Vet sells it, that makes is a quality food.

      There are so many more things you should know about reading and understanding dog food labels that go beyond meat by-products, but if you do at least that it would be a good start.

      Keeping my dogs as healthy as possible has become a major part of my life, and spreading the word to other dog parents about what I have learned has been part of that mission for over three years now.

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