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Chicken jerky treats made in China may be linked to kidney disease in dogs

When: 2011-11-21 23:38:00 -0800
Where: United States


Update May 22, 2012:

Nearly 1000 dogs have reportedly been made ill and over 300 reportedly have died because of ingesting chicken jerky treats made in China. Treats containing yam, sweet potato, and pork (pig ears) were also cited by pet owners. The US Food and Drug Administration updated the tally of complaints, saying Federal health officials have received 900 complaints from worried owners and veterinarians since last November.

Despite continued research, the agency's inspectors have no findings yet available. Although no suspected products have been recalled, at least one product manufacturer has settled a claim with a dog owner.

Representatives from Milo's Kitchen confirmed that the firm has paid at least one owner who complained about a sick dog $100 in exchange for a release of all liability. Firm officials said arrangements are conducted on a case-by-case basis. They declined to confirm how many similar agreements are in place. A spokesman for Waggin' Train also said that the firm negotiates agreements with complaining pet owners individually.

Dog owners whose dog may have been affected can continue to submit complaints to the FDA's safety reporting portal.

Only products made in China appear to be affected. 

Concerned pet owners cited the following products/brands:

  • Waggin' Train Chicken Jerky and Yam Good chicken produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Co.
  • Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats or tenders, produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Co.
  • Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, produced by the Del Monte Corp
  • Beefeaters Sweet Potato Treats (16 types of yam-related treats)
  • Kingdom Pets at Costco (exact item not specified)
  • Drs. Foster and Smith (exact item not specified)
  • Dogswell Veggie Life Vitality (4 types of Veggie Life brands)
  • Smokehouse (exact item not specified)
  • Bestro (exact item not specified)

Check individual packaging or contact the manufacturer to verify the origin of ingredients as not all jerky treats may be made in China. 

The treats may also be called by other names such as stix, chips, poppers, tenders, drumettes, kabob’s, strips, fries, lollipops, twists, wraps, bars, tops, treats, and discs.

Top Symptoms reported by pet owners whose dogs have gotten sick from the treats are:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Change in Appetite
  4. Change in Activity Level



Update March 26, 2012:

Over 600 dogs are suspected to have gotten sick from chicken jerky products across the United States. FDA records show there are three major brands that are cited most by concerned dog owners and appear to be associated with the tainted treats, manufactured in China. Concerned pet owners cited the following products:

  • Waggin' Train Chicken Jerky and Yam Good chicken produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Co.
  • Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats or tenders, produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Co.
  • Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, produced by the Del Monte Corp

Nestle Purina and Del Monte officials said their treats are safe and FDA regulators said repeated tests have shown no absolute tie to any brand or manufacturer.

“No specific products have been recalled because a definitive cause has not been determined,” FDA officials said in a statement.

Since 2007, FDA scientists have analyzed jerky treats for evidence of dangerous toxins, including heavy metals, melamine, melamine analogs and diethylene glycol, chemicals used in plastics and resins.

"We still invite owners and veterinarians to submit complaints and samples,” said Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman. "The more information we have, the more likely we can find a link."

Consumers and veterinarians who see dogs affected by Fanconi-like syndrome and suspect the treats can report llnesses to the FDA's pet food complaint site.

Chicken Jerky treats


Pet owners should be aware that chicken jerky products from China may be associated with reports of Fanconi-like syndrome in dogs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned of chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities.

Chicken JerkyFDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product.

Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Fanconi syndrome can be diagnosed by a veterinarian, through urine analysis, which would show glucose in the urine. Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died. FDA's Veterinary Laboratory Response Network (VLRN) is now available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories.

To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified a contaminant. Fanconi syndrome is often breed related, but toxins are also known to induce this condition. Known toxins could include lead, copper, mercury, maleic acid, Lysol and some drugs, such as outdated antibiotics.

Product recall notices have not been issued, nor have any specific treats been identified. Jerky treats are made of dried meat and are available in a variety of stores.

Note: DogHeirs posted a similar NeighborHound Alert in June 2011 for our Canadian readers when several dogs in Ontario were diagnosed with Fanconi Syndrome. All dogs in reported cases had been fed chicken jerky treats that were manufactured in China.


DogHeirs and DogHeirs members have published a selection of articles and NeighborHound Alerts about the treats which can be read below. 


My maltese, only 6 yrs old, died from fancomi like symptons, my vet thinks the chicken jerky, (supposedly from USA), but I bought them in Cda, (Barnsdale Farms was the brand name); is what made him so sick. Our vet has been in practice 30 yrs and has never seen anything so severe as what our dog had. As a matter of fact, he couldnt say for sure why he died this way. When I told him about the chicken jerky his eyes grew big and said, it looks like fancomi syndrome which causes the kidneys to just shut down. My other 2 dogs would not eat them, but my maltese loved them. I only bought 1 pkg of these chicken jerky treats, and only gave our maltese 1 a wk or so. I emailed the FDA and also Barnsdale Farms. Of course, the latter did not give me any reply whatsoever. If there is any small print on the bag that you cant read, dont buy it!...its small print for a reason. Its all money....people have complained to store owners about bad food and they just leave it on the shelf to keep on selling it. Who cares if its bad or not.. I would not buy ANYTHING made in China, why would anybody do that. When I had to put my maltese down October 16, 2012...I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. He suffered so much in such a short time, 2 top notch vets could not save him, they tried the best that they could. If I was aware of chicken jerky and how dangerous some of it can be, not to mention other dog foods/treats...etc. I would never have given my dogs it at all. Now I feed them home made meals and a grain-free food called NOW....supposedly there is nothing whatsoever in that food from China. Also, dogs do not have the same physiology as their ancestor the wolf. With all the inter breeding over hundreds and hundreds of years, their bodies have changed alot. Keep that in mind....
Thank you for that information. The only recall I could find on Blue Buffalo was back in 2010 when they had added too much vitamin D to some batches. It was serious, of course, for some dogs. I believe I will try it though and I added my email address to receive recalls immediately from the FDA.
http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/newpetfoodrecalls/brand_list.cfm?Trade_Name=BLUE%20BUFFALO&pet=Dog This is a link to recalls concerning Blue Buffalo dog food. This was last updated in April of 2012.
I went in PetSmart Monday and asked for the manager. I told him I need a safe, nothing from china, nothing made in China, dry food for my 4 lb. Chihuahua. He took me to the Blue Wilderness brand of food on the shelf. It is one of the Blue Buffalo foods. He said that he had talked to their representative who assured him that everything about the food was safe. He told me that if I had any problem with it at all, even if Bella didn't like it, I could take it back to him. I have started mixing it with the last of her Iams Lamb & Rice so she can get used to it. Already she picks it out of the bowl and eats it and leaves the Iams. You can read more about this brand at BlueBuffalo.com/LifeSourceBits.
I give my chihuahua's human cereal as snacks, (Low Sugar) of course.
Hey Heirs Group...need your help ! I am disabled and hand slicing fresh chicken breast into thin slices to put into food dehydrator would be difficult for me. Can someone tell me if fresh high quality sliced deli turkey or chicken breast would work? I could adjust the thickness by how many slices that I stacked together. Carving Board is one type of deli meat I'm considering. Cannot afford to purchase a food dehydrator just to make jerky for my therapy/service dog if this meat won't work. Have no help to prepare thick meat. If someone has any feelings on this, please post back....try to make my own food for dog but have to adjust to my abilities. Thanks in advance!
Furthermore, MOST fruits and vegetables are safe and a wonderful nutritious addition to your pet's diet. Again, do some research. Some of my dog's faves are broccoli, seedless watermelon, carrots (not the pre cut stubby ones - those are old carrots processed and soaked in benzene). I also advocate a raw food diet. This is a personal choice and everyone needs to decide what's best for their animal, but I'm very proud that my vet maintains that my dog is the picture of health and her teeth are sparkling clean due to her diet - she's 8 1/2. I do not vaccinate either, but that's another conversation. Bottom line, you control what your pet eats, so give them the very best!
This really isn't rocket science. Dog's digestive systems are physiologically identical to wolves. What do wolves eat? meat, bones, organs and the stomach contents of the herbivores they kill (grass/greens). Wolves don't eat sugar, liquid smoke, propylene glycol - to name a few common ingredients in commercial pet treats. I feed my dog organic free range steroid/antibiotic free meats and treats, made in my own country. All you have to do is read labels. Isn't your dog worth it? I'm constantly surprised at how uneducated the general public is, especially in the information age. My heart goes out to anyone that has lost a pet or had them suffer due to tainted food and treats. All of this can be prevented.
FYI I keep a list of unsafe foods for my dog on my refrigerator. Just google "unsafe foods for dogs". There are plenty of reliable sources on there. Also, I just copied many receipes for home made foods for my little Chihuahua. She is under 5 lbs. and almost 3 y/o. I also googled this and found a site by Rachel Ray for dog recipes. Just be careful of some of the ingredients. They are listed as unsafe for dogs, like onions and garlic. She must not know this.
I am making my own wet food now. It is a "meatloaf recipe I got from a friend. You can use chicken and turkey, beef, I sometimes use an actual meatloaf mix of beef, pork and veal. About 1 1/3 pounds I grate some carrots, small sweet potato, small zucchini (or even yellow summer squash), add some chopped up pre-cooked bacon, chopped up broccoli, eggs, steel cut oatmeal, cottage cheese. Mix it all up and bake it just like a regular meatloaf recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. After it cools I cut it into 2 serving size pieces and wrap them separately and freeze. Evey time I use the last serving I pull another one out of the freezer and it is thawed by the next day. I heat it in the microwave for about 12-15 seconds just to get the chill off of it. One meatloaf lasts about a month for my 7 pound Yorkie. For bigger dogs you would just need to make more than one and of course they still probably wouldn't last that long. I mix each serving with some Fromm dry dog food. We are using duck and sweet potato right now. You can find it online or from a distributor.
Out of curiosity I checked a bag of Waggin Train Chicken Jerky Treats to see what the label says. It clearly states that "Waggin Train is an American Company", which is misleading because that does not mean that their ingredients are from America. Please be careful what you buy. I have a hard time reading the small print as my eyesight is not very good anymore, so I do not know if they disclose on the label where the ingredients come from.
Julane, thanks for the info... and next time I go to my vet (hopefully next week) I will ask him about feeding my pups carrots. SOunds nutritious. - You say you make your own sweet potato treats? Can you please share your secrets with us? Baking time? Preparation? Recipe? - Thank you in advance! ~ Peace!!!
Seems we have more than a few commentors here that are dealing with disabilities....makes buying, cooking, creating own food from scratch a little more problematic. I cannot lift, carry, work with any weight, or stand, stir, prep over food for any length of time. Always looking for the easiest but safest way to feed my pets, as I consider them to be my fur children, and as such, MY responsibility...not something to pass off to a caregiver or helper. Must be able to care for them myself. Dan, with you on food dehydrator purchasing, but caregiver who uses hers for people treats says we will have to find a way to cut down the foods ( chcken or sweet potato) into very thin slices....or find a unique way to treat them. One dog trainer swore by thin-slicing huge hotdogs into copper pennies style slices that, in dehydrator, turn into easy dog training treats. Not the samevas a chicken jerky tender trip, but may satisfy the dogs. Still hoping our developing community will come up with recipes and ideas for feeding our beloved pets the grade of food they deserve! Should we, BTW, start a therapy dog ( or other animal) sub-community, of owners who have pets as companions or working therapy assets. If there are enough of us, we could become a force for change and progress.
I too took one of my pups to the groomers today. London looks like a rat now...lol, but she smells clean and is much happier. My other dogs barely recognized her. I'll take a photo and upload it to my profile for all to view, ASAP.... So, sweet potato treats... I have bought them in the past and they were fine. My dogs love them, so I plan on making my own. They also love peanut butter and since I like to cook and experiment; I plan on mixing up both the peanut butter (Jif - Has less fat than the cheap brands) and some fresh sweet potatoes. Stick it all in a food processor or blender then spread it on a backing pan and cook in the oven, at a low tempature (250 degrees) for about 2 hours... I am going to test this and will report back to let you know the outcome. I priced out some food dehydrators and the good ones are all over $40.00 dollars. - Walmart had the one I want on sale for $34 dollars, but they are out of stock, so I am going to improvise till I can buy the dehydrator for dirt cheap. - Hope everyone is doing well. I've had a great day! - Peace :)
Dogs like a lot of vegetables and fruits. My dogs like apple bits and carrots. They like Lima beans and Brussels sprouts but only cooked with lots of butter on them. They have nasty gas so I don't give them to them. I had both dogs groomed today. They smell so clean. Bugsy looks like a sheared goat. His fur used to never mat but now it does. It will grow back. I have a chronic illness (CFS) so I can't make dog food or treats. I'm grateful that I can rely on Pedigree.
I just heard back from. Flint River. All human grade. No china anything. Sweet potato treats? What is in them? I cook my own. I also just found, my Jack Russel loves carrots. He ripped open a bag I had on the floor to take to the stable :-). Chews them like a bully stick.
I see a lot of people, including myself, give their dogs sweet potato treats. My dogs love them as well! BUT, I've noticed that over time the treats develop a white "haze" on them. I have repeatedly emailed the manufacture about this, but they never respond. The treats don't have a "spoiled" smell to them, and my dogs still love them like crazy. Has anyone else seen this? Do you think it is a problem? Should I throw the treats away?
We have been buying chicken jerky at Trader Joe's for our Brussels Griffon. It is in their pet section and clearly marked Made in USA. Be careful some of the Chinese products include "USA" labels (not Made in USA, but some other description), but the small print tells the truth.
After I read this, I checked the treats I give my dogs. One is Beneful Baked Treats. The dogs love them and my Westie rarely eats hard treats. They are made by Purina which is owned by Nestle. I looked at the list above and several are made by Purina/Nestle. They had none of the treats yesterday or today. They've both been kind of sick and I've been eliminating things from their diet. It was mostly my Westie who is 14 so I thought it could be age. But then Emma my Golden stopped eating her dinner and just wasn't herself. She wanted her mommy (me) and would stay by me all day. The other treats they get are made by Pedigree. I checked and it says "made in the USA" on the bag. The Beneful treats just said who the distributor was not where it was made. I won't buy anything now unless it says "Made in the USA". I have always trusted Pedigree and they have never let me down.
These have been available at Sam's Club at least 5 years ago and I asked that they be removed because of illness and death in dogs and it was made in China. Management ignored me and they remained on the floor for sale. Even trying to educate doesn't always work.
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