Recalls that Affect Dogs
- Treats from China Making Dogs Ill?
- How to Report a Pet Food Complaint
- How to Report a Complaint about Jerky Pet Treats
- FDA Safety Reporting Portal
- These sites track recalls among other things, and you can subscribe to receive notifications:
- PetSitUSA Blog
- TruthAboutPetFood.com (see Report a Pet Food/Treat Adverse Event for their own tracking as well as instructions for reporting to the FDA)
- Poisoned Pets: A Look Inside the Commercial Pet Food Industry
Note that I don't post information about most salmonella recalls, since dogs are usually not affected by this bacteria.
For more information, see the following sites (you can sign up to get updates at the first three sites):
- News on Pet Food Recalls (Truth About Pet Food)
- Pet Food Recall (PetSitUSA Blog)
- Your complete guide to the Diamond Pet Food recalls (Poisoned Pets) Also see Diamond Pet Foods Hit with Class Action Suit over Salmonella Outbreak
- Diamond Pet Foods Recall Information
I'd avoid any food that uses corn at this point. Aflatoxin is more serious than the more typical salmonella recalls. No illnesses have been reported, but see this old notice for signs to watch for if you've fed these foods: Dogs keep dying: Too many owners remain unaware of toxic dog food.
Please avoid all jerky treats unless you're certain that they're made in the U.S. or Canada, using ingredients from those countries. These products may also be called Chicken Tenders, Strips, or Treats. Avoid other imported treats as well. Chicken jerky and other dehydrated treats (duck, sweet potato) imported from China (and maybe Thailand, too) have been linked to kidney disease in dogs, though the cause has not yet been identified and no treats have been recalled. Avoid all Waggin' Train, Canyon Creek Ranch, and Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, and any others imported from China.
Update February 2015: See Reports of jerky pet treat illness ebb in U.S. for a concise overview of what we currently know.
Update March 2014: After the recall last year (see below) due to illegal antibiotic residue, some companies have decided to change their strategies (see Manufacturers confident in revamped chicken jerky products for more info). Their new products will be introduced in March 2014. I would still advise avoiding these treats until the cause has been identified (e.g., both products below still contain glycerin, a possible culprit):
- Milo’s Kitchen (made by Del Monte, now called Big Heart Pet Brands) will reintroduce its Chicken Grillers and Chicken Jerky Recipe treats in March 2014, along with a new product, Burger Bites. The company decided to reformulate the products and source 100 percent of its meat from the United States, exiting China completely.
- Waggin’ Train treats are made by Nestlé Purina, which has decided to continue manufacturing Chicken Jerky Tenders in China, but will now use a single chicken supplier and a single manufacturer in China that’s part of a U.S.-based company. They are also phasing out their Canyon Creek brand name, which was much the same as Waggin' Train, and introducing two new products made in the U.S. with domestic ingredients: Jerky Duos and Smoky Jerky Snacks.
Petco also announced in May 2014 that it will stop selling any pet foods or treats from China by the end of the year. PetSmart followed a day later, promising to remove these items from their shelves by March 2015.
Avoid feeding chicken jerky strips (or any other treats) from China to dogs until we know conclusively that they are safe. Note that these products often appear to be made in the US, but if you search carefully, you'll often find "Made in China" in tiny print somewhere on the bag. If in doubt, call the company and ask not only where the treats are manufactured, but the source of their ingredients as well.
In September 2012, the FDA announced yet another warning about chicken jerky treats causing kidney failure in dogs. This has been going on since 2007. The cause remains unknown, but reports are increasing. See the following for more information from the FDA:
- Jerky Pet Treats
- FDA Issues Update on Jerky Pet Treat Investigation (February 2015)
- FDA Provides Latest Information on Jerky Pet Treat Investigation (May 2014)
- FDA Facts: Jerky Pet Treats (October 2013)
- Questions and Answers Regarding Chicken Jerky Treats from China. (FAQ)
- How to Report a Complaint about Jerky Pet Treats
- FDA Releases Progress Report on Jerky Pet Treat Investigation (10/22/13)
- Update on Jerky Treats (1/9/13)
- FDA Report Regarding Jerky Pet Treats and Illnesses (1/9/13)
- FDA Investigates Animal Illnesses Linked To Jerky Pet Treats (9/14/12)
- Caution to Dog Owners About Chicken Jerky Products (updated 7/17/12)
- FDA Continues to Caution Dog Owners About Chicken Jerky Products (updated 4/16/12)
Signs to watch for include decreased appetite; decreased activity (lethargy); vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; and increased water consumption and/or increased urination.
The type of kidney failure associated with chicken jerky strips is called acquired Fanconi syndrome, Fanconi-like syndrome, and acquired proximal renal tubulopathy. Urine test results consistently show glucose and granular casts. Blood tests may show hypokalemia (low potassium), mildly increased liver enzymes, and acidosis, along with increased creatinine and BUN (signs of kidney disease). Some dogs also have hypophosphatemia (low blood phosphorus) that may continue even after the dog has otherwise recovered (treatment involves electrolyte supplementation).
If your dog develops these signs and test results while being fed chicken (or other) jerky treats, contact your state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Complaint Coordinator. See How to Report a Pet Food Complaint for more information, and Consumer Complaint Coordinators for a state-by-state list of who to contact. Please provide as much information as possible, including the specific product name, lot numbers, veterinarian's report and diagnosis, etc.
Also ask your vet to report the incident. See Jerky Pet Treats - Veterinarians for information and instructions specifically for vets. Veterinarians may also submit samples to the University of Georgia for free testing. See UGA veterinary lab offers free testing for jerky-related illness and death for more info (vets only).
Veterinary Information Network (VIN) announced in January 2013 that they are joining the search for the cause of jerky-associated illness in dogs, but they want to hear only from veterinarians. If you believe your dog became sick or died as a result of eating jerky treats imported from China, ask your vet to contact VIN. Also let your vet know if you still have samples of the treats that you believed caused the illness. See VIN solicits jerky-associated illness reports for more information.
If you're looking for safe jerky treats, I recommend Smart Dog Jerky and Kona's Chips, made in the U.S. You can also make your own jerky using a dehydrator or a warm oven. See Super Simple Chicken Jerky for a recipe.
Class action lawsuits:
- Pet owners find lack of chicken jerky recall, FDA warning unacceptable (includes update on one class action suit)
- Milo’s Kitchen and Del Monte hit with class action lawsuit over deadly dog treats
- Milo’s Kitchen hit with second class-action lawsuit over deadly dog treats
- Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Nestle-Purina and Walmart over Waggin’ Train Dog Treats
June 2014: Normerica Repackaged, Re-Dated Stale Dog Treats, Say Ex-Employees. Two ex-employees say that a Canadian warehouse routinely repackaged outdated, moldy, and bug-infested products from China for resale in stores, including Loblaw and Costco. Brands involved include VitaLife, Canyon Creek, and President's Choice.
October 2013: Study: Dog treats likely culprit in Australian outbreak. A report published in the September 2013 issue of the Australian Veterinary Journal concluded that chicken jerky treats causing Fanconi-like syndrome, also referred to as acquired proximal renal tubulopathy, probably contained a toxic substance. The study also found possible links to pig ears from pigs raised in Australia, and in a few cases to diet only (no treats), where dogs with these symptoms responded to a diet change.
October 2013: FDA calls on veterinarians to help solve jerky mystery
January 2013: Most companies importing chicken from China have recalled or withdrawn them from stores due to finding illegal antibiotic residue. It's unlikely that this antibiotic residue is the cause of the kidney failure that the chews have caused in some dogs, though it's possible that a sensitivity to sulfa antibiotics might explain why some dogs are affected and others are not. These treats are likely to return to the market once this issue is resolved. See the following for more information:
- Hartz Mountain is voluntarily withdrawing its Chicken Chews and Oinkies Pig Skin Twists wrapped with Chicken (1/26/13)
- Who's Next? (1/14/13)
- Publix Issues Voluntary Recall on Private Label Chicken Tenders Dog Chew Treats (1/12/13)
- Is there More to the Jerky Treat Story (1/11/13)
- IMS Trading Corp to voluntarily withdraw Cadet Brand Chicken Jerky Treat Products (1/11/13)
- Waggin Train/Canyon Creek Jerky Treat Recall (1/9/13)
- Purina ‘Withdraw’, Milo’s Kitchen ‘Recall’ (1/8/13)
- Jerky Treat Freedom of Information Act Request (1/1/14)
8/17/12: Pet treat investigation expands beyond chicken jerky. FDA is now investigating duck and sweet potato jerkies as well. Article also has additional details about chicken jerky, including, "In a sampling of about 270 complaints the FDA recently posted online, more than 20 brands are identified. The most cited is Waggin’ Train, referenced in about 75 complaints. Second is Kingdom Pets [Costco's brand] with 25 mentions, followed by Milo’s Kitchen, named in 15."
4/12/12: It's not just chicken jerky -- now dried sweet potato treats imported from China appear to be making dogs ill as well. There is even speculation that the problems may extend to pig ears and cat treats from China as well. These are the brands that have been mentioned so far:
- Beefeaters Sweet Potato Snacks for Dogs
- Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Yam Good Dog Treats (FDA has issued a warning on this product)
- Dogswell Veggie Life Vitality
Read the whole story here: ALERT Vets warn of new treats from China poisoning dogs
3/17/12: Susan Thixton at Truth About Pet Food has uncovered some interesting information about melamine and a possible link to jerky treats that have been making dogs very ill: Is it Melamine Again?
3/13/12: MSNBC reports 3 brands of jerky treats have more "priority 1" cases reported to the FDA: Waggin’ Train, Canyon Creek Ranch, and Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats. See Nestle & DelMonte jerky treats may be to blame for pet illnesses on the PetSitUSA blog for more information.
2/11/12: Could diethylene glycol be the toxin in chicken jerky that is causing illness and death? See FDA Silence is Telling on Susan Thixton's Truth About Pet Food site for more information.
Nov/Dec 2011: Fanconi syndrome in four non-basenji dogs exposed to chicken jerky treats. Study published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.
9/24/09: Incidence of Fanconi-like kidney disease in dogs in Australia appears to have ended after two products were removed from the market. The products were Supa Naturals Chicken Breast Strips, made by KraMar in China, and VeggieDents dental treats, made by Virbac. See Following product recalls, Fanconi-like syndrome outbreak abates in Australia for more information. See Update October 2013 above for more information from Australia.
5/28/09: Researchers in Australia have discovered several cases of unexplained kidney disease that was not associated with chicken jerky strips, but which may be associated with dental chews instead. The chews are called Veggie Dents and are made by Virbac. If your dog develops kidney disease and has eaten these chews recently, you or your vet should contact the FDA to report it. See New mystery arises in cases of Fanconi-like syndrome for more information. These chews were recalled in Australia the week of 6/1/09. See VeggieDent Chews Recalled in Australia.
9/13/07: The AVMA issued a statement warning people of complaints that multiple brands of jerky treats imported from China have been causing kidney failure in dogs. The FDA is investigating these claims, and have ruled out melamine as a possible cause. Also see Potential New Threats: Updated Information for Veterinarians for the ACVIM's treatment recommendations.
Here's the rest of the story: On August 20th, 2007 it was learned that Wal-Mart had quietly removed Chicken Jerky treats made by two Chinese companies from their shelves on July 26th, due to complaints about the treats making dogs ill. No recall has been issued. Wal-Mart is no longer selling the treats, but other stores, such as K-Mart, are still doing so. The brands that were removed are Bestro and Pingyang Pet Product Co. On September 14th, PetSmart removed various Smokehouse brand treats from their shelves due to reports of pets becoming ill. No recall has been issued. This product is reportedly being investigated by Cornell, but information is available only to vets, not to the public. Note that these companies have since returned to selling jerky products imported from China.
It is possible that other brands of chicken jerky may also be affected, such as the Kingdom Pets brand sold at Costco, and the Waggin' Train brand, which are also imported from China, as there are unconfirmed, anecdotal reports of dogs becoming ill after eating them, though no testing has been done. One person contacted me to say that her dog began having seizures after she started feeding Waggin' Train chicken jerky treats. The seizures continued once or twice a week for a year, until the owner eliminated all dried chicken treats, at which point the seizures stopped. See this article for another report on Bestro Chicken Jerky making dogs ill and leading to at least one death (read the comments at the bottom of these stories for even more information). The Pet Food Tracker site also has information on the many online reports of non-recalled dog treats suspected of causing illness/deaths (including Waggin Train which has not been pulled).
I have heard one report of dogs becoming ill (vomiting, diarrhea, Inappetence) from two different brands of chicken jerky made in the US.
See these pages for additional information:
5/16/12: Chicken Jerky Treats from China may be Associated with Kidney Issues
6/29/11 (updated 11/18/11): Chicken Jerky from China may be causing Fanconi syndrome in dogs (from a vet)
6/9/11: Canadian Vets Concern of Chicken Jerky Treats for Dogs
12/24/08: FDA Continues to Receive Complaints About Chicken Jerky Products (AVMA)
12/24/08: Caution to Dog Owners About Chicken Jerky Products (FDA, updated 7/17/12)
12/24/08: Caution in Feeding Chicken Jerky to Dogs (FDA)
12/18/08: Preliminary Animal Health Notification - Chicken Jerky Products for Dogs (FDA)
11/1/07: FDA cautions consumers about chicken jerky products for dogs (JAVMA)
10/15/07: Jerky treats from China could be causing illness in pets (JAVMA)
9/14/07: Update: AVMA warns of potential new threat to pets
11/14/07: Reports Of Dog Illnesses From Chicken Jerky Treats Continue
9/19/07: AVMA Issues FAQ's About Alert For Pet Jerky Treats
9/14/07: Smokehouse Brand Dog Treats Pulled From PetSmart Shelves
9/14/07: Indiana State Chemist Office Releases More Test Results For Chicken Jerky
8/23/07: No Melamine Found In Chicken Jerky Strips Dog Treats By Indiana State Chemist
8/22/07: Melamine Found In Wal-Mart Bestros Chicken Jerky Strips For Dogs
8/20/07: FDA Investigating Bestro Chicken Jerky Strips In Dogs' Deaths
8/17/07: Wal-Mart Removes Bestro Chicken Jerky Strips After Dog Death
You can contact me if you have any comments, but I regret to say that I can no longer respond to questions about individual dogs. See my Contact page for more information. My name is Mary Straus and you can email me at either or