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Are We Killing Our Pets With Treats?

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Are We Killing Our Pets With Treats?

Nearly 600 dogs have died since 2007 who consumed pet jerky treats made in China, according to the†Food and Drug Administration. Another 3,600 dogs have been reported ill. The pet treats were sold under a wide variety of brand names.

The FDA currently does not know the cause of this outbreak and is reaching out to veterinary health professionals, as well as the public, for answers to help solve the mystery. Since the FDA is unable to determine the cause, no recall has been put in place, meaning pet owners need to make more educated decisions about what pet treats are safe to use.

I recently spoke with pet nutrition expert Anthony Bennie about the outbreak. He provided some insight and helpful knowledge on feeding our pets healthy treats.

LS: How long do you think this has been going on?

AB: Itís been going on since it became evident that itís possible to sell really cheap versions of what people want here. Itís one thing to copy electronics, another to copy pet treats. When you take the theory of cheapest practices and apply that to what you put in your animals’ mouths, it is a recipe for disaster.

LS: What do you think caused the recent outbreak, with number of death and illnesses still on the rise?

AB: Irradiation (the process of exposing pet food and treats to radiation as a means of eliminating foodborne microbes and killing pests) and glycerin (a humectant preservative) in virtually all pet treats from China in pet treats from China. There have been issues with pet food ingredients and finished treats from China for quite some time, including the massive recalls in 2007 that were traced to melamine, a non-edible protein additive used in China to adulterate and cheapen the products.

LS: Have there been studies done on the dangers of using glycerin and irradation together?

AB: The use of both glycerin and irradiation in the same product is troubling to me. No proper studies have been done to determine the possible synergistic effects. For the health and safety of your pets, as a first step I strongly encourage pet guardians to buy pet treats and foods made and sourced in the USA; but even then, be a detailed label reader and avoid products with chemical preservatives or other ingredients that you canít pronounce and donít recognize as foods.

NEXT: The FDA’s statement on pet treats.

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Read more: Cats, Diet & Nutrition, Dogs, Health, Pet Health, Pets, Safety, , , , ,

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.

232 comments

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4:06AM PDT on Jul 1, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

3:26PM PDT on May 27, 2014

In a sense, we're partly at fault for becoming consumers over the last 20 years or so who are only interested in having the "most" at the lowest possible cost. Before that, quality (over quantity) was much more emphasized. What my grandmother said is true, you get what you pay for. We can't be giving American workers $10/ hour minimum wages and then expect to pay $0.50 for a bag of dog treats.

11:44PM PST on Feb 26, 2014

Why and how do these companies get away with this?????? It really pisses me off!!!!!! They should get a fine or have some other kind of punishment for hurting/killing family pets.

6:25AM PST on Feb 25, 2014

Another ingredient... sodium selenium... is a by product of copper mining and is 10 times more deadly than cyanide. The correct selenium should be selenomethionine. I don't buy anything with sodium selenium in it for my cat... or when I have dogs, for them either.

I wish i could get my picky cat to eat home made food. I'd be feeding him organic food. But he is addicted to all that grain, so I'm weaning him off it and on to grain free food. The grain has made him fat. Just like it makes us fat. This isn't the world I grew up in. Thanks for your article... more stuff to avoid. But good to know.

11:57AM PST on Dec 12, 2013

I think that is what may have killed my last dog at the age of 3. I only use stuff now made in the USA

11:57AM PST on Nov 26, 2013

There are many great dogs treats made in places like Canada, the UK and the US. When I leave for work I always give my dog a small treat. One of his favourite treats is Tofurkey and he is sure to be watching if I have it out to make a sandwich.Because it isn't hard to chew it was an excellent treat for him after he had some teeth removed last month.

11:56AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

We check where the treats come from, but the treats we give our dog usually have a second purpose like being good for teeth or digestion and he loves them beyond reason, just because they're special.

7:11AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

Why are all the treats and food being made overseas by people who don't even have enough to eat themselves? Why would they even care what happens to our pets.

LET'S NOT BUY FOOD OR SNACKS MADE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY.

8:00AM PST on Nov 16, 2013

Time to boycott all food from China!

1:16PM PST on Nov 12, 2013

I tell pet stores I visit to NOT stock ANYTHING from China! Bowls, leashes, beds, toys, etc! I REFUSE to buy one thing from that cruel place!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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As other posters have said, this would have been common knowledge for our grandparents. Mine lived t…

Sounds wonderfully festive and warming on cold days and nights. Thanks for the recipe.

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