The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about chicken jerky for dogs, saying some products imported from China may be associated with 70 reports of dogs who became ill or died. That number is up from 54 reports last year, the agency indicated.
The FDA has not determined that the jerky definitely caused any of the illnesses and hasn’t identified a specific cause, despite testing a number of different products for potential contamination. The agency has no plans to issue any recalls and is continuing to test different types of treats, and testing is ongoing. The FDA could provide no brand names of products that are being tested.
Dog owners who feed their pets these types of treats should monitor them for signs of serious illness, including decreased appetite, a lower level of activity, vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), increased water intake or increased urination.
Chicken jerky products, sold as chicken tenders, strips or treats originally came to the FDA’s attention in late 2007 after 156 dogs became ill, and they issued a preliminary warning in 2008. The number of reported illnesses dropped off in 2009 and 2010 but increased over the past year, prompting the latest warning.
Officials said the upswing in cases is probably due to increased publicity after Canada issued a similar warning earlier this year since dog owners and veterinarians are more likely to report illnesses after information becomes public.
Anyone who wants to report a potential jerky-related illness can go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.