There is still no conclusion of why there have been over 70 complaints to the FDA that dogs became ill from eating chicken jerky products. Pet owners continue to look for answers of why their pets became sick or died from simply eating chicken jerky treats.
In response to pet owners’ complaints, some pet treat manufacturers and retailers are putting something different on their package label — recommendations on how many snacks a day should be given to dogs. Some manufacturers suggested that pets were possibly getting sick because owners were overfeeding them or using treats as their regular pet food.
Similar to what is on pet food, some companies, like ADI Pet Inc. and Smokehouse Pet Products, will be placing feeding instructions based on an animal’s weight for pet treats.
“The problem with high-protein treats is that dogs really, really like them because they taste good. I may like hamburgers for the same reason, but I shouldn’t eat 10 of them a day,” said Jerry Peters, president of ADI Pet Inc., makers of Waggin’ Train brand jerky treats.
PetSmart developed feeding guidelines in conjunction with Smokehouse Pet Products, a product they pulled off the shelves in September, and veterinarians, based on a pet’s weight. The feeding table is in stores now and will be put on Smokehouse labels by early next year.
Some say since the FDA has not found anything definitive in their investigation and that there is no scientific evidence that proves overfeeding is a factor, these new labels are premature.
“Making changes without a solid basis for the changes at best would be ineffective; at worst, it could â€¦ magnify a problem a problem if a problem does exist,” said David Syverson, pet food committee chairman for the American Association of Feed Control Officers.
Syverson said that instructions are not required for treats that are not part of a pet’s daily diet because “since treats are really junk food for pets, in a manner of speaking.”
In other chicken-jerky related news, more reports of sick pets continue. Cathy von Haartman, a Seattle resident, said that one of her dogs became ill after eating chicken jerky treats.
â€œShe vomited up the jerky and then she was sick for about four days. She wouldnâ€™t eat. She was very lethargic and when she slept it looked like she was having seizures,â€ von Haartman said.
Dr. Jayne Jensen, a veterinarian, tells pet owners to feed treats sparingly and to be careful about where the treats are coming from.
â€œRead the labels very thoroughly. Look where they are from. A lot of these come in with kind of an American name on them, but theyâ€™re actually produced overseas. And as weâ€™ve seen from previous experience, overseas products may not be as safe as ones that are made here,â€ said Jensen.