Is Chicken From China in Chicken Jerky Treats Making Dogs Sick?

In November 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to pet owners that chicken jerky treats made in China may be linked to illnesses in dogs. From 2011 to the present, the FDA has received 596 reports of dogs becoming very ill or dying after eating chicken jerky treats manufactured in China. Despite testing large numbers of samples, the FDA has not yet found any conclusive evidence of contaminants, and no products have been recalled.

According to the complaints, dogs of all ages are falling ill and even dying after eating chicken jerky products made in China. Blood and urine tests in these dogs indicate kidney failure and Fanconi syndrome. Fanconi syndrome is a disorder of the kidney tubes. Symptoms in dogs include a decrease in appetite, low energy or lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst levels, and an increase in urination. While many dogs seem to pull through, some have suffered chronic kidney disease, and others have died as a result of these illnesses.

This is not the first time the FDA has received complaints from dog owners and veterinarians about serious illnesses in dogs related to food products imported from China. In 2007, the sheer number of people who reported that their dogs fell ill after eating imported chicken jerky products caused the FDA to issue a warning about these products. 2007 was also the year that massive recalls were ordered on a wide range of pet food products. Many dry and wet pet foods were found to contain melamine, a toxic substance found in plastics, and were pulled from the shelves as a result.

Since 2007, the FDA has tested hundreds of samples of chicken jerky, chicken tenders and chicken treats. Unfortunately, they have found no evidence of toxic substances or contaminants. 84 samples were tested last year, and 130 samples have been put under the microscope so far this year. Testing and investigation will continue throughout the year.

Because there has been no definitive cause identified for the illnesses, pet food companies are not required to recall the products. Despite the warnings and public outcry, no company has volunteered to pull their products. One particularly popular pet food company hinted at financial settlements after reports of illnesses came in, but then rescinded once the FDA tests came back inconclusive.

Many pet food safety advocates are calling for a total boycott on pet food products made in China. They are urging the FDA to stop allowing dangerous products to be sold. In addition, they suggest that consumers read the labels on pet food carefully to avoid purchasing products that have been made in China.

If your pet exhibits any suspicious symptoms that you think may be related to food products, the FDA suggests that you stop feeding the food to your pet immediately. If the symptoms are particularly severe or they persist longer than 24 hours, you should take your pet to a veterinarian for testing as soon as possible. You can also report any illnesses via this link:

March 2012: The FDA Has Posted Questions and Answers About Chicken Jerky Treats From China.



Helen Billet is a freelance writer based in MA. She shares her home with 2 dogs, 4 cats and a handful of fish. And oh yes, her husband and 3 kids too.

One Response to “Is Chicken From China in Chicken Jerky Treats Making Dogs Sick?”

  1. Trish
    March 18, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    Do a Google search for “American Made Pet Treats”. There are many other choices. Yes, the treats from China are always the least expensive, but at what real cost? We are losing our loved ones. If you feel you need to provide chicken treats, please buy American Made. It’s worth the extra cost. My neighbor was one of the first to lose their 5 month old puppy to the treats from China (about 3 years ago) and I don’t think I’ll ever completely get over it. Just heartbreaking.

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