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Toxic Treats
Buyer Beware

I just spent $400 for an ultrasound on my rescue Shepherd mix, whom we’ve had for five of his six years. Last year, we had baseline lab tests run and discovered that he had slightly elevated liver enzymes. This year, when the tests were rerun, they showed higher enzyme levels and mild chronic liver and renal failure.

The vet and I narrowed the cause down to one culprit: the chicken jerky treats we fed him every day. Although the treats are labeled “Made in America,” they are actually made in China and lab-tested in America. The vet said to immediately stop giving him these treats; he also said they’ve seen a large increase in medical issues (up to and including death) due to these made-in-China treats.

I would like stores to stop carrying all food products made in China, although I know this isn’t possible. But at the very least, because companies seem to hide the place of manufacture in very small print, warnings should be printed on packages that explain the risks of feeding these treats to our pets.

Had we not had a wellness-panel run, our beloved dog would have succumbed to liver and renal failure. I now wonder if the same product didn’t contribute to the deaths of our last two rescue dogs.

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Submitted by Toby Sue Shaw | August 22 2013 |

I also just woke up to the fact that “lab tested in the USA” is not the same as “manufactured in the USA.” This was a reminder to be even more diligent about what I buy for my dogs. I also need to continue to look at the ingredients. If I can’t pronounce it, forget it!

Submitted by Alexis Clark | August 22 2013 |

I could have written this. A year ago, our three-year-old yellow Lab, Charlie Frisco, stopped eating. We took him to the vet and tests revealed that he was in liver failure—our healthy dog was on the brink of death. We spent the next 11 days in the ICU with him while our vets prepared us for the worst. He had a liver biopsy, blood transfusions, a feeding tube and too many tests to count. The total kept growing, and we finally launched a “Save Charlie Frisco” Facebook campaign to help pay the almost $20,000 bill (insurance barely made a dent). Finally, Charlie started getting better and we brought our boy home. Now, after a year and with the support of daily medication, it seems he has made a full recovery. The only thing we could think of that could have caused this was the same “Made in America” (but actually from China) chicken jerky treats the reader mentioned. I hope that pet owners continue to educate themselves, and the FDA continues to expand their regulations on pet food. I also hope that more owners take note of these stories and get baseline tests done every year; the sooner they know about an issue, the better. Thank you for helping get the word out on the dangers in pet products.

Submitted by Kim | August 23 2013 |

Wow! I always look for "made in the USA" on any dog food/ treat. I did know know that they could use this label legally if it wasn't true. I only buy locally made dog food, and tend to only get Zuke's or Cloudstar treats, but this article is scary.

Submitted by JanC | August 24 2013 |

"Made in the USA" means the product was "assembled" here. The ingredients that make up the assembled product can come from anywhere. Nice, huh?

Submitted by Robin | August 24 2013 |

OF course it is possible to have stores stop selling this toxic waste! China seems impossible to avoid when it comes to everyday products sometimes, but food? We can and we should. I wish we would all organize boycotts and protests and force our beloved superstores to stop. There are SO many reasons to boycott China goods when we are canine lovers...the fact that they kill dogs for food, or for other reasons just to start. I wish we could pass some legislation for all edibles...for us as well...that have to detail if any part of the product is from outside the US. It won't guarantee food safety, but I beleive it will be a huge step. I'm so glad your pup survived and I hope you sue the manufacturer and wish you would have said who it was. THEY should be ashamed and alerted and the FDA should issue a recall. What about a risk to those HANDLING the product??

Submitted by Double R | August 26 2013 |

it is an easy fix. My pups do not know what store bought treats are. You will actually save money in the long and won't have costly vet bills. Fresh Blueberries, Bananas, apple slices, carrots. Buy it bulk, rinse it and freeze it till you need it :)

Submitted by Adele Williams | August 27 2013 |

Thank you for posting.

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