The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently issued an alert regarding chicken jerky products imported from China. This year alone there have been 70 reports of dogs who became ill or died after consuming chicken jerky treats.
This is not the first time that the FDA has warned pet owners against feeding chicken jerky treats. The first warning came in 2008, after 156 dogs became ill the previous year from the treats. The number of affected dogs dwindled over the next two years, but has increased again recently, leading to the most recent warning.
Though animal health diagnostic laboratories are investigating why the treats are causing illness, they have yet to determine an exact cause. No recall has been issued, and the FDA is not specifying any particular brand name of offending treats.
I think it’s safe to say that for now, you should avoid feeding chicken jerky snacks, especially those that are imported from China. If you have already been feeding the snacks, don’t despair. Keep an eye on your dog for the following signs, which can develop hours or days after ingestion:
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased activity
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea (sometimes with blood)
- Increased water intake
- Increased urination
The treats are dangerous because they are associated with reports of kidney failure and Fanconi-like syndrome in dogs. Fanconi syndrome is a disorder of the kidneys whereby substances normally absorbed in the renal tubules are instead released into the urine. This can show on a routine urinalysis when the glucose level in the urine is elevated, despite normal blood glucose levels.
With supportive care and hospitalization, some dogs recover fully from these episodes, but unfortunately, some dogs have died from ingesting chicken jerky treats. Err on the side of caution here and stick to some other kind of treat for now.