Dog Blog

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


If you are feeding jerky treats to your dog, better think twice and check the label. Tainted jerky and other poisoned treats are killing dogs by the hundreds and also some cats. Again, the culprit in the poisonings is mostly poultry--chicken, turkey, and duck, too, although even some sweet potato treats were found to be tainted.  What is a pet lover to do?  And what is the FDA doing to keep Chinese manufactured products off the shelves in our pet stores and grocery stores?  Not much, apparently. They can't even keep our food safe for consumption, let alone that of our pets. Even if the food is processed here, the ingredients often come from China.  

I've written before about trying to persuade Raley's and Costco to take Waggin' Train chicken treats, which sickened my dogs, off their shelves.  After a very long time and who knows how many sick pets whose owners didn't make the connection, the tainted treats finally disappeared from Raley's.  I haven't checked Costco lately because I don't frequent big box stores that sell mostly products from China.  As long as profit trumps safety in America, these problems will continue.  

After I noticed that the food I currently feed my dogs, Canidae Life Stages (given a nod of approval by our veterinarian) was on the hit list in 2012, I grew concerned about it in light of recent Salmonella outbreaks.  As a survivor of that nasty bug myself, I also take it very seriously where my pets are concerned, especially since some of my dogs got sick back in 2006.  I visited the pet store where I usually buy my pet food and tried to find any brand that didn't have chicken in it.  No luck.  Even when a brand claimed to be poultry free, when I read the label's contents more closely, chicken was listed.  That was true of even the most costly brands.  The clerk commented that all the pet food has some chicken in it.  Not good news for our pets' health.  

The only alternative is to make all your dogs' food yourself, which is a challenge.  It's tricky because you have to know what ingredients to include to maintain their health, but since even our food isn't safe, what's the point?  Seeing how poorly chicken is processed in American factories, especially for the chickens themselves, it is probably far worse in China.  

I was shocked and sickened to see an undercover film taken in a domestic processing plant and how roughly baby chicks are handled, like they are inanimate objects.  They are only hours old and should be bonding with their mothers, but a sea of fuzzy, yellow chicks speeds by on conveyor belts to be roughly sorted by workers who care nothing for their welfare.  The "rejects" are dumped into boxes to be discarded.  Many of the chicks are mangled in the process.  The rejected chicks that survive that process are then chucked into a grinder, many while still alive, to be pulverized.  That's probably those chicken by-products that end up in our pet food.  What's worse is that this same company claimed in all its product advertising to be 100% safe and humane!  Even the long-trusted Foster Farms has had a recent Salmonella outbreak which sickened many people.  

If companies like these continue to treat living, feeling animals as cruelly as they do, while lying and saying they don't, we and our pets will continue to suffer the consequences.  I don't know about you, but I'm not eating chicken, and I'm still trying to find a food for my dogs that doesn't have any Chinese chickens in it.  Wish me luck!  I wish you the same.

*If your pet has shown symptoms of illness after eating jerky treats, the FDA wants to hear from you or your vet.  Sounds like they are finally starting to take this poisoning problem seriously, but it's too late for the 600 dogs that have already died.  Symptoms: Look for decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea (blood tinged or with mucous), increased drinking or urination.        


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