BRISTOL, Tenn. - According to the Food and Drug Administration, more than 1,000 dog deaths may be linked to toxic jerky treats.
The FDA says most of the cases occurred after the pets had eaten chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky made in China.
Dr. Kate Zimmerman, Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine at Tri-County Veterinary Hospital in Bluff City, says that jerky treats have been purchased for years. "Jerky is popular," said Zimmerman. "It is low-fat, it's full of protein. Dogs love it, just like any junk food," she said.
In 2007, some pet food companies removed jerky treats form the market, but the FDA did not want to issue a recall without a defintive cause.
Richard Coffey, owner of Pet Partners in Bristol, Tennessee says since the recall he has kept an eye on the products he carries. "We have moved to a lot of treats that are made in the U.S.A," said Coffey. "We are not depending on imports now."
Coffey says there are ways to be sure you are getting safe treats for your dog. "You want to stay away from preservatives and things like that," said Coffey. "It's always good to look for that 'Made in the U.S.A' label."
Dr. Zimmerman says that's good advice, but "Made in the U.S.A" could still contain ingredients sourced from China. "People want to say that this is all a Chinese problem, but it's not," said Zimmerman. "It's largely treats that come from China, but that is misleading because most of our pet foods are made with products sourced from China."
The FDA wants to remind pet owner that jerky treats are not required for a balanced diet. If your pet experiences any type of illness, be sure to contact your local vet right away.