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5 Ways To Protect Your Pet From Toxic Jerky Treats

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In the past couple of years, the number of pets becoming ill after eating contaminated jerky treats has increased dramatically.  Most of the cases involved treats with ingredients sourced in China. The December 2013 issue of Whole Dog Journal offers these suggestions to keep your pets safe:

  • Don’t buy ANY jerky treats.  There are many alternatives to jerky that pets love, including leftover turkey (without bones or skin, white meat) or grilled chicken breast (without sauce or marinade).  If you dog can’t be without his jerky treats, check out these other suggestions  below when picking jerky treats.
  • Buy only treats that expressly state all ingredients are sourced in USA.  It’s not enough to indicate treats are made in the USA, the ingredients need to be sourced here to reduce contamination risk.
  • Stop feeding treats immediately if your pet becomes ill after eating one.  If your pet begins vomiting, has diarrhea or loses his appetite shortly after eating a jerky treat, there may be a problem with the treats. Watch for signs of increased drinking and urination along with reduced activity.  Be sure to keep the rest of the treat package, but immediately discontinue feeding them to your pet.
  • Report any problems your pet has after eating jerky treat.  If your pet does encounter problems like those mentioned above after eating jerky treats, file an online report at safety reporting.hhs.gov. If you run into problems with the reporting process, consult your veterinarian for assistance.
  • Make your own jerky treats.  This can be an easy process if you have a food dehydrator, or the treats can be done in your oven (this does take quite a while, though).  One benefit to DIY jerky is you can make them to the consistency your pet prefers.  If he likes his jerky chewy rather than crisp, the dehydration process won’t be as long.  When making your own jerky treats, be sure to refrigerate them in an airtight container/bag to keep them fresh longer and retard spoilage.  Make only enough so they will all be consumed within a few days.

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