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Sweet Potato Dog Treats, Made in China, Are Allegedly Making Dogs Sick

These seem to be doing the same thing that chicken jerky treats have long been blamed for.

 |  Jul 30th 2012  |   14 Contributions


You already know -- we hope -- better than to feed your dog treats made in China. For years, chicken jerky treats imported from China, under the labels of popular dog food companies, have been sickening and killing dogs, and the numbers are shocking. 

"The FDA has logged 900 reports of illnesses and deaths from vets and concerned pet owners since November," reported Time in a May 2012 article.

"Recorded problems stemming from the treats range from vomiting and diarrhea to kidney failure and death," reported Time. And it's not just chicken jerky treats, but "products known variously as chicken jerky strips, treats and nuggets."

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There hasn't been a recall, because the FDA, despite years of testing, has yet to identify the toxin causing the illness, and without a toxin, it can't determine what is making the dogs sicken and die. Without evidence, there are only complaints. But MSNBC got a hold of the FDA records and discovered that three top brands of chicken jerky treats were most often cited by owners and vets in complaints. These are: Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch and Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats.

But, again, you knew all that (we hope). Here's something you might not know, but it'll make you just as angry: Sweet potato snacks for dogs are now reportedly doing the same things. They're also from China. And the FDA is not doing anything. 

Healthy Pets reports that sick dogs who have eaten sweet potato snacks show symptoms similar to Fanconi syndrome, "a condition in which the tubules of the kidneys don't function properly." 

"Symptoms may show up within hours or days after a treat is eaten and include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and increased thirst and urination," that report states.

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According to Healthy Pets, products implicated in anecdotal accounts include:

  • Beefeaters Sweet Potato Snacks for Dogs 
  • Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Yam Good Dog Treats 
  • Dogswell Veggie Life Vitality 

According to Becky Lundgren, DVM, of the Veterinary Information Network, "Anecdotal reports from veterinarians indicate similar concerns about sweet potato pet treats made in China. Although no evidence is available that these sweet potato treats cause kidney issues similar to those related to chicken jerky treats, pet owners should be aware of the possibility."

You certainly should. A prudent course of action that every shopper should take is simply looking for a "Made in China" label on any package of treats, and, if finding one, returning it to the shelf. You might think that unfair, but consider the "chicken jerky treat" moniker cited in countless news reports is just a catch-all term for any number of dog treats -- tenders, twists, wraps, stix, you name it. 

Also consider that in 2010, the FDA "issued an Import Refusal Report for sweet potato dog treats imported from a company in China ... that were contaminated with a highly toxic pesticide known as Phorate," according to Poisoned Pets. Phorate is used for pest control, and it "is one of the most-toxic set of pesticides known in the world."

The takeway is clear: Check your labels carefully. 

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