SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

November 2, 2012

The dangers of jerky treats

Using treats as a means of reward or distraction for our pets is not unusual. “Roxie,” a Yorkie, was owned by a wonderful lady who had long suffered from severe hip arthritis and therefore could not get to the store very often. She relied on friends to buy her groceries and even food and treats for her beloved canine companion.

Happily, her veterinarian agreed to make house calls for her special situation. During a call for an exam and vaccinations, she returned from her kitchen with a bag of treats for rewards. Unfortunately, she held in her hand a newly opened bag of dog treats of a brand that has been associated with numerous complaints to the FDA. Thankfully, the veterinarian stopped her from giving the treats and explained this serious situation.

Jerky treats have been an extremely popular treat for pets because of their high-protein, low-fat composition, and dogs love them. Also, the fact that the ingredient list is generally very short (chicken and some flavorings) allows people to feel good about giving their dogs something “natural.”

But somewhere along the way, something has gone terribly wrong. Since 2007, the Food and Drug Administration has issued numerous warning about pet illnesses and even deaths associated with these jerky treats. The most recent figures show more than 2,200 reports on file, and these include more than 360 deaths thought to be linked to these treats. In many cases, kidney failure was the primary reason for the sickness, death or euthanasia of the pet. What is even more disturbing to most people is that almost without exception, the country of origin of the product is China. The memory of the nationwide pet food recall caused by tainted ingredients from China is still fresh. Thousands of pets became very sick and even died in 2007 from this serious problem.

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