Just Say 'No' To Chicken Jerky Treats

Just Say 'No' To Chicken Jerky Treats
Lisa Mazur and Riley Rae share their final moments. Lisa courageously sharing this very personal photo, and taking a stand. Don't allow this to happen to your dog.

I will begin with the take home sentence first: Don't buy chicken jerky treats. Call it a boycott - if you like.

I just don't understand how it's worth the risk when the only benefit of chicken jerky treats is that dogs like them. There is no compelling nutrtional benefit. And the risk - though relatively small, by all accounts, is that your dog can get sick and may die.

I received one email: "I understand that the there's a minimal risk, but my dog really enjoys chicken jerky treats."

My email back read: "Your dog may even more enjoy chicken jerky treats you can make yourself, or baby carrots, or any of literally hundreds of manufactured dog treats - some have nutritional and/or dental benefits. You don't Need to feed your dog chicken jerky treats!"

So, what's at issue? Well, though most dogs chow down the treats, from Chna, with no discernible problem - a small percent get sick, and some of those dogs die (of kidney related issues).

So far this year, the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA CVM) has received well over 800 complaints of pets sickened due to jerky treats, according to Dr. Dan McChesney, director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at the FDA CVM. There's no recall on the products (which I will explain), but the FDA CVM has issued a warning and more recently, in June of this year offers Questions & Answers about chicken jerky treats. 

Of course, some complaints are not substantiated,  but other pets may have been affected but their owners never complained or associated a pet's problem with the treats, McChesney concedes there's clearly an apparent issue with chicken jerky treats.

In June 2011 several Canadian veterinarians reported dogs starting to display symptoms of kidney disease associated with the treats made in China and by Fall of last year the issue heated up in the U.S., again.  Actually, concerns about Chinese-made treats date back to 2007. Five years ago - and nothing has been done.

Though the FDA remains mystified, some contend the FDA CVM have done all they can to determine the problem, even sending an inspector and expert to China. Others - such as truthaboutpetfood.com - suggests the FDA CVM should be doing much more.

Because the FDA CVM has not found anything definitive - they can't legally suggest a voluntary recall.

In her healthypets blog Dr. Karen Becker wondered out loud if the FDA is even up to the task of figuring out what's going wrong with the treats. It made me think, in the 2007 pet food recall, it was a pet food company and as I recall a lab in Canada and another in the U.S. that contributed to determine cause. It wasn't the FDA.

I believe an effective boycott would motivate those who make the chicken jerky treats to either find a solution themselves (as the pet food company did in 2007) or to decide to stop selling the product - either way, I'm all for it because meanwhile, more pets won't be sickened, at least yours won't be if you're not buying the product.

Maybe a real boycott could be even a more motivating solution than lawsuits.

A class action lawsuit claims Chinese-made treats sold by Del Monte subsidiary Milo’s Kitchen kills dogs and make them sick. The Milo’s Kitchen class action lawsuit was filed by dog-owner Lisa Mazur, says her healthy 7-year-old dog, Riley Rae, suffered kidney failure and had to be euthanized after being fed Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Dog Treats.

Mazur claims the only change in Riley Rae’s diet was during January 2012 when she fed the Chicken Jerky Dog Treats to her dog “on occasion.” On February 1, Riley Ray became ill and was taken to the veterinarian, where she was diagnosed with kidney failure. Riley Rae was administered intravenous fluids for four days without improvement, forcing Mazur to euthanize her on February 5.

Defendants’ packaging did not warn of any dangers from feeding its content to dogs… [and] the warning is downplayed” on the Milo’s Kitchen website, the class action lawsuit says. (According to Del Monte’s annual report, the corporation generated approximately $3.7 billion in net sales in fiscal 2012.  Their pet food and pet snacks brands include well-known household brands such as Meow Mix, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Milk-Bone, 9Lives, Pup-Peroni, Gravy Train, Nature’s Recipe, Canine Carry Outs, Milo’s Kitchen and other brand names).

Also, a few months back, Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC of Chicago, IL filed the first class action lawsuit against Waggin' Train Jerky Treats and Walmart.  They represent plantiff Dennis Adkins, "on behalf of all consumers who purchased certain dog treats manufactured, marketed, distributed or sold by defendants Nestle Purina Petcare Co.

With more lawsuits potentially on the way, by all accounts, this only prompts notifications of further warnings on websites (if we do this or this we'll cover our you know whats). For example, check out the warning on the Waggin' Train site. Also, on the same website: "The quality and safety of our products are our top priorities, because everything we do is focused on keeping pets happy and healthy."

Bottom line, the products with the same problems are still being sold to whoever buys them. I suggest you not buy them. And then, at least in your home, problem solved.



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  • fb_avatar

    Thank you for writing about this. Prior to hearing the stories of issues, I purchased Waggin' Train peanut butter biscuits wrapped in chicken jerky at Costco. I gave each of my dogs (55 lb lab mix & 80 lb collie mix) one treat each night. Like you noted, they loved them. Within two weeks, both dogs were throwing up and that was the only change in their diet. That same week, I saw the reports and stopped giving the treats. That was a few months ago and they have not been sick since. I notified Costco and their only response was basically standing behind the company selling them stating they're "safe". I have kept the full bag, in case of any health issues down the road. In the meantime, I am very grateful to have read the articles and warnings and hoping my dogs are not impacted.

  • Potentially, even the Waggin' Train web site concedes they're not safe - trying using my blog post and re-email Costco.

  • fb_avatar

    Good article and best solution, 150% support, make that 200% support on this info!
    I am so sorry for the loss this and other beloved pets. I posted all the links you sited in your blog on my page.
    We do really need to examine not only how these food kill our pets, but how these animals were killed. It's a unending circle of pain and sorrow. It's safe to say anything sold like that has very little life energy, it's only convenience and let's face it, a hungry dog or cat will eat most ANYTHING.
    Seriously, back to basics, back to our own kitchens, back to the USA. Makes me wonder what we might import to eat from China, that might be harmful to our children and we too. Thank you for taking the time to track these stories...more will still follow, I'm sure. AnnMarie

  • In reply to Ann Glaviano:

    thanks for your comment.....AnnMarie

  • Thanks for this article warning about these commercial treats. It is SO easy to make your own treats at home from ingredients that you choose for yourself. Your dogs will love them. They don't care whether the treats were store-bought or homemade!! Just read up on food items that dogs should not have (like chocolate, raisins, onions, very fatty items, etc.). So sorry for Lisa's loss of Riley Rae.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to harpercollie:

    Thank you very much.

  • In reply to Lisa Pierwsza Mazur:

    Thank YOU for stepping up and filing a lawsuit against one of these giant, heartless corporations. Dog owners should be able to give their dogs an occasional store-bought treat and not worry that their companion might get sick from it. You are very brave to stand up for Riley Rae. Best of luck in court and I hope the boycott will get more media attention.

  • Yes, I too feel very badly - and that's not nearly strong enough wording, for the pets (and Riley Rae among them) who died....and those even who sickened....awful - let's not let this happen anymore - spread the word

  • fb_avatar

    Thank you for the article Steve Dale. It is 6 months today. We miss him so much.

  • Lisa - there are few words, if any which might express....I am so sorry. Can you email your private email address to me - steve@stevedale.tv

  • fb_avatar

    Thank you, Steve Dale, for helping spread the warning of these dangerous products for our dogs. My beautiful German Shepherd, Heidi, died on May 28, 2012 after eating just two pieces of Waggin' Train Jerky Treats. I didn't know about any warnings before I bought them for her.

    A campaign (link below) to get these dangerous treats off store shelves is underway and has already gained over 68,000 supporters. Please help us by reading the story here, signing the petition and sharing it liberally so that there is NO one left who is unaware (like I was) about the dangers of these products. Thank you. Rita DeSollar

  • fb_avatar

    Last week my wife brought home a bag of Pup-Peroni Mix Stix with Bacon and Egg and now I have a 2yr old dog with Major Diarhea and she smells like death. The treat was the only thing changed in her diet so $2.00 worth of treats has now ran up a $300 Vet Bill and will certainly have more to come. Normally when I get a sick dog I can dry them out with Rice and Chicken, but whatever bacteria is in this Pup-O-Death dog snack has given her a strain she can't get rid of on her own, even with my treating her.

    Thank you Del Monte Foods for this gift, if only I could bag up her feces and mail it back to you I would.

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