Pet food retailers Petco and PetSmart have decided to ban dog and cat treats that are made in China.
Petco has indicated that by the end of this year it will pull down all dog and cat treats from its 1,300 retail stores as well as online. PetSmart has also said that it will not sell Chinese-made pet treats March 2015 onwards. Petco's and PetSmart's decision comes after both retailers complained to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that a jerky treat made in China was possibly making pets ill.
"We've been following the FDA warnings and related customer concerns closely, and we've been actively reducing our China-made assortment and expanding our American-made offerings for several years now," says Jim Myers, CEO of Petco. "We know the FDA hasn't yet identified a direct cause for the reported illnesses, but we decided the uncertainty of the situation outweighs the lack of actual proof. It has taken some time and careful thought to get to this point, but we're proud to make the change and we believe our customers will be pleased with it as well."
A Petco statement suggests that since 2007, the FDA has cautioned customers regarding a possible link between consumption of jerky pet food made in China and illness in dogs. The FDA says that it has received around 5,000 cases of pet illness after eating jerky products. However, as the agency did not find a direct link between the illness in pets and consumption of Chinese treats, the FDA has not asked for a recall of jerky products.
Experts suggest jerky treats can potentially cause vomiting, inflammation in the kidney and stomach, decreased appetite and diarrhea. If pets are not treated on time it may ultimately result in the death of the affected pet.
The FDA suggests that it performed post-mortem examination on 26 pets and does not believe that the consumption of jerky treats was potentially responsible for the deaths.
"In the remaining 13 dogs, a relationship to jerky pet treats could not be ruled out, although we are still not able to identify an exact cause-and-effect nature of that relationship. Of these 13 dogs, 11 had indications of kidney disease and two had gastrointestinal disease," per FDA.
The FDA suggests that if pet owners have given jerky products to their pets then they should watch their pets closely for vomiting, increased urination, diarrhea or change in appetite.