What You Need to Know About Chinese Chicken Pet Treats

Chinese made chicken jerky treats for our pets have made a resurgence in the news recently; most notably the deaths linked to brands like Waggin’ Train and Milos Kitchen. And there have been a number of official complaints made to the FDA over the past six years. It’s become such an issue that Nestle and Delmote have pulled products from the shelves; much to the relief of pet lovers. These deaths have spurred everything from an FDA investigation to numerous petitions. Plus, the stories have made national news, including NBC and National Public Radio.
As an Only Natural Pet customer, you probably haven’t been directly affected by this controversy. You, like us, understand the importance of quality in your pet’s diet. That’s why we have a huge variety of pet treats Made in the USA and pet products Made in the USA, including our Only Natural Pet Chicken Jerky Strips. But for those of you looking for answers and advice, let’s take a look at the facts:

• The FDA has been aware of illness associated with chicken jerky (as well as duck and sweet potato) originating in China since 2007.
• They have received 3,000 reports of illnesses, including 3,600 dogs & 10 cats, and 580 pet deaths related to the treats.
• Cases have been reported in every state.
• Chinese chicken treats have increased 85 fold from 2003 to 2013.

So as you can see, this problem is hugely expansive. And in the face of such a huge problem, it’s hard as a pet owner to know what to do to protect your furry friends. But with sound advice, extra planning, and informed decisions, you’ll be able to give your pet delicious treats without fear.
1. Look for signs of illness: Most of the illness associated with these treats has been gastrointestinal. This includes problems like vomiting, diarrhea, and blood and mucus in stool. More serious issues have arisen however, including pancreatic and GI bleeding and even kidney failure. If any of these issues arrive, seek veterinarian help immediately.
2. Stop buying treats made in China: Unfortunately, all too often, profits outweigh safety for big corporations. Chicken jerky brands like Only Natural Pet and BIXIBI are safely and proudly made in the USA.
3. Remember, chicken jerky is just a treat: Your pet doesn’t need treats to survive, so if you are at all concerned, stop feeding them treats. A balanced diet is essential for your pet’s health, treats are just the icing on the cake.
4. Share with your friends: Make sure every pet guardian you know is aware of what’s happening. Share on social media, like Facebook, talk to them at the dog park, whatever it takes! Get the word out to everyone that these treats are dangerous.
5. Make a statement: This one is easy and powerful. As consumers, we have the power to say to these big companies that our pets are more important than profits. Shop with smaller brands that produce in the USA. Let them know you appreciate their dedication to your pet’s health and happiness.

Navigating the world of pet food can be scary when dangers like Chinese treats and salmonella recalls are popping up so often. But these threats are easily neutralized when you’re a caring, informed pet parent. Together we can stand up for the rights of our pets.

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26 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    CB said,

    We were using these treats for morning departure time for months and now have completely switched to Made in the USA. Our dog had an increase in skin sists/growths that turned out to be non-cancerous and we are wondering if that has anything to do with these Chinese treats. What can we do to get those toxins out of his body that may have built up over time?

  2. 3

    Caroline Mast said,

    I have 3 large dogs and have been feeding them chicken jerky for a few years. Last year we had an episode of very bad intestinal problems along with sever digestion problems. All Three had it. I took them to the vet and found out that it was the chicken jerkey “Waggin Train” specifically that I was giving them. I gave them the medication the doc provided and started to make my own jerky.. I bought a dehydrator and it was easy….the problem…When you have 3 dogs that do consume more than average it becomes a cost factor. I found here at the Natural Pet store I could get safe and good jerky (which they love) for the same price as making it myself.

  3. 4

    Nancy Calvin said,

    My Yorkie got very sick with pancreatitis and a blood clot in his spleen.I never attributed it to the jerky treats.I heard the rumors,but didnt think my dogs were effected.Thanks for this solid info.My dog is fine,by the way, after treatment.

  4. 7

    Terri. Wegneri t said,

    Thank you so much for this important information. However it is to late for my baby of 13 years he just died of kidney failure. Jan 25, 2013. Thank you

  5. 13

    Curtisy Briggs said,

    I see that Only Natural Pet is still selling the Dogswell line of meat strips treats (Happy Hips and other varieties). All of these are made in China, and the company used to have that information plainly printed on the front of the bag. Now they have hidden the information in small type and sandwiched it among other small type on the bottom of the bag, and if you did not know it was there, you would not see it. I am disappointed that Only Natural Pet is among the many retail outlets who won’t stop selling these treats made in China because they are so profitable. One of my dogs developed serious inflammatory bowel disease while eating these treats routinely, and he got well when I stopped feeding them to any of my dogs. You should also know that, according to what the company told my local pet store, all the supplements like vitamin E are sprayed on the hot meat, which would render them ineffective (or, in the case of vitamin E, rancid). I hope that Only Natural Pet will stop selling this line of treats, or if you are not going to stop, then please inform your customers that these meat strip treats are made in China.

    • 14

      Thank you for your comment. We appreciate how important this issue is and would like to take a moment to respond to your post. Only Natural Pet maintains very high standards with respect to the products we sell. Related to our decision to continue to offer Dogswell treats, please consider the following points:

      1. Dogswell has a long history of making natural jerky products and we have sold them since we started
      2. Their treats are made in audited and certified facilities and regularly tested for quality assurance
      3. Their products are not part of the FDA investigation and recalls
      4. More information can be found at http://www.dogswell.com/qualityassurance
      5. We tell people to avoid food products made in China because most companies do not have the level of quality assurance programs that Dogswell does. That does not mean that there are no safe food products made in China. We still believe Dogswell is one of the exceptions, but are continually monitoring the situation.

      We hope that addresses your concerns. Thank you for being committed to the healthful care of your pets.

      • 15

        I too have been in touch with ONPS about items from China. I have asked that all items with Chinese ingredients be labeled… I was told you were working on it, but I have yet to see it implemented.
        As for DOGSWELL, let’s be FACTUAL. DW recalled a batch of Chinese treats for the same reason as Nestle Purina and Del Monte. The difference is that NP and DM are defendants in Class Action suits so they have not put the poison back on the shelves. The MOST IMPORTANT FACT is that DOGSWELL PRODUCT CONTINUES TO HAVE COMPLAINTS FILED WITH THE FDA. Their “quality assurance” is useless – it’s the same exact – and I mean exact- assurance that NP and DM offered up to us.
        By continuing to carry the DW product from China, ONPS is making a statement – and not a statement that gives me confidence as a consumer. DOGSWELL IS NOT AN EXCEPTION!!!!!! Their domestic product is a quality product; the Chinese crap is about one thing only – profit margins.

      • 16

        Maxine said,

        I notified your site almost two years ago about the Dogswell chicken treats. My Westie almost died from eating them exclusively, no other brand was given to her. She developed Fanconi Syndrom (kidney failure) a syndrom not commonly found in Terriers, most often only in Basenjis. The sugar in her urine (not blood) was 1000. After spending $4,000.00 at a Specialty Vet Hospital for over many months of treatment she has stabiilized, but will never be 100%. Her urine in monitored weekly as the Dogswell Chicken damaged the tubercals in her kidneys. You are burying your head in the sand if you think there is no connection between Dogswell China Chicken and sever illness in pets. I filed a complaint with the FDA in 2011 about this product.

      • 17

        I do not feed my pets anything made in China and your assurance of their safety does not change my mind. I do not mind paying more for quality and safety, I do not consume foods from China neither will my pets, ever.

    • 18

      D. Reese said,

      We had Happy Hips and my dog ate them a few times but then started getting immediately sick after ingesting them. I threw them away, but now she has the early stages of kidney failure. Holding her own but I am consumed with guilt.

  6. 19

    Ava said,

    Thank you so much for the information but it is too late for therapy dog, my best friend of 12 yrs, a beautiful red cockapoo. He died on Jan 2, 2013. I have 6 other dogs but he was the only one who got the treats. I took him to the vet and it was misdiagnosed until it was too late and his kidneys failed.

  7. 21

    Ken said,

    I don’t trust any pet or human food product coming out of China. The US needs to ban importing any food products for pets or humans from China. The high performace ceramics company I work for buys raw materials from China. We have to test everything because they can not be trusted to ship a quality product. Often our test results indicate the material is of lesser quality than their certificate of analysis does.

    I make my own jerky by boiling several soup chickens. Strip the meat from the bones and mix it with a little of the fat from the top of the water. You want to mash the meat into a paste then spread it about a 1/4 inch thick on cookie sheets or aluminum foil. Cut meat paste into strips. A pizza cutter works great for this. Dry the meat paste in your oven at 175 – 200 deg. until it feels dry to the touch and somewhat pliable. Leave the door open a little to allow the moisture to escape. Chill the jerky in the refrigerator then divide the strips up into several days worth of treats and package in zip lock bags, Keep a package in the refrigerator and freeze the rest for later. You can use ground chicken but it’s cheaper to use whole chickens. Also It’s safer to cook the chicken rather than dehydrating raw chicken.
    It might cost a little more and takes some prep time but the peace of mind is worth it.

  8. 22

    Roza Iovtcheva said,

    My dog started to have diarrhea about 10 days after I got him. I switched several vets, because nobody could find the reason. I still do not know what was wrong, but I remember giving him chicken jerky made in China (wich he loved). I cannot be sure tere the reason, but remember stop giving him the treats after I read pets are having different health problems. I started to give him raw food and dry(Flint river ranch). Now he is OK, still eating raw and dry -Orijen.

  9. 23

    […] heard a lot recently about dangerous chicken jerky treats associated with antibiotic fed livestock, but did you know that the cattle used for rawhides are […]

  10. 24

    Lori Chiolino said,

    We lost our special Frankie kitty to the canned cat food name special kitty 6 yrs. ago because of the melamine in it from China. Since then, I try to buy food made in the U.S. that does not use any thing from outside this country, and now I have discovered the horrible truths of what is in, and how big companies make even their dry food. It’s a startling eye-opener. Here is a link to a site that will tell you all you need to know. http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?more=1&p=359

  11. 25

    Jeanne said,

    My dog, my friend’s dog and her neighbor’s dog were all suffering from diarrhea, my dog so badly that she had blood and mucous mixed with it. We were all using Waggin Train chicken jerky-made in China. Antibiotics were found in the chicken jerky. Turns out China suffers from bird flu, chickens are birds, they gave chickens antibiotics, antibiotics cause diarrhea, antibiotics in the jerky – no more Waggin Train, no more diarrhea in our dogs.

  12. 26

    Kuruk said,

    A year ago I got sicky from jerky treats. Now my Mama won’t buy them! Thanks for helping spread the word! Wooooooowoooooooo, Ku


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