Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dog Treats

You should always be wary of the food and treats you buy. Many no-name or discount brands you find at bargain stores or grocery stores contain meat from China and other questionably-sourced ingredients (I've personally encountered them in several small and large stores). When in doubt, steer clear. Check ingredients for hazardous ingredients, look for country of origin, don't use brands that look sketchy, stay informed about recalls. And for treats, you can always make your own! It's easy and there are a lot of great recipes online.

Don't buy anything made from Chinese meat (especially the Chinese-sourced jerky) and throw away what you have from this our other suspect brands, but there is no need to panic. As far as renal failure goes, a change in urination habits is the first sign (accidents in the house, whining to go outside more than usual, drinking a lot) and frankly, something that you should always see a vet for anyway.

And to people worrying about the nutritional profile of Milkbones and the like: unless your dog has a pre-existing condition like diabetes or a gluten allergy, don't worry about it. Just like having chips now and again isn't going to make you sick, neither is a few treats every so often. They have ingredients like sugar, salt, and spices (none of which are bad on their own in moderation) to make them tasty and something a little "different" than their regular food. They're not horrible for them, but they're not meant to be nutritionally balanced, they're meant to be tasty-- just like your own snacks. Moderation is the key here! Lots of calories and few nutrients, so only an occasional thing

The FDA's position is they will not implicate nor recall products until a specific contaminant has been identified. The agency maintains chicken jerky treat samples have been tested for drugs, poisons, mycotoxins, heavy metals and certain chemicals, yet the problem remains a mystery.
But while the FDA seems content to remain clueless about what's causing the problem, pet owners and veterinarians in the U.S., Canada and Australia have their own suspicions. These include:
Ongoing melamine contamination
Irradiation of ingredients in jerky treats
An as-yet unidentified chemical preservative
Diethyelene glycol (a toxin)
Symptoms to look for:
Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), increased thirst and/or urination, and decreased activity.
Symptoms appear within a few hours to days after a dog eats the chicken jerky treats. Pets who become severely ill or have symptoms lasting more than 24 hours should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Blood tests may show markers for kidney failure. Urinalysis may point to acquired Fanconi syndrome.
Fortunately, most sick dogs have fully recovered, however, an increasing number of deaths are also being reported.


  1. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Especially the symptoms of renal failure to watch out for. I'm always reading labels when it comes to purchasing my doggie's treats. I have more faith in agencies in Europe (especially Germany) than I have in the FDA. They seem to be light years ahead of us when it comes to product and food safety. ~Aurora

  2. I have been so much more aware of where the dog treats come from lately. Chase loved the Waggin Train Chicken Jerky, and luckily he is fine after he ate them....but I haven't bought them for a few months. Seems like lately all things made in China are becoming a beware. I noticed that there are lots of dog treats made in Brazil, or other South American countries, are these safe??