Two major pet retail stores in the U.S. announced they will stop selling jerky treats made in China in the coming months after growing concern from animal experts, pet owners and warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the products.
“From a veterinary stand point, I think we've seen way more [cases] than we've identified,” said Dr. Brittney Barton, who is a veterinarian and director at HEAL Veterinary Hospital on Oak Lawn.
Barton said she has seen a steady flow of cases come into her hospital over the years.
“I think part of the issue is people don't realize what their pulling off the shelf and they don't think to tell us that they've had that exposure,” said Barton.
Petco announced they will stop selling jerky and rawhide products that were made in China by the end of the year.
PetSmart said they will no longer sell the products after March 2015.
Both companies made the decision, even though the FDA has not found any conclusive proof linking the jerky to the animal illnesses.
But, many pet owners are not taking any chances.
“How can you feed your dog something that they just said could cause a lot of dogs to get sick?,” asked Ross Ikemire, who has two dogs.
Since 2007, the FDA has received nearly 5,000 reports of pets becoming ill, which may be related to eating the jerky.
“We just bought some stuff [jerky] and sure enough half of them are made in China and half of them are not,” said Ikemire, who said his dogs have never been ill.
Experts said the treats can possibly cause vomiting, diarrhea, inflammation in the stomach and kidney damage, which can ultimately cause the pet to die if left untreated.