UT veterinarian says pet owners should stay away from jerky

UT veterinarian says pet owners should stay away from jerky treats

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Sandra Atchley, of Kodak, fears two of her dogs were killed this year by the treats. Sandra Atchley, of Kodak, fears two of her dogs were killed this year by the treats.
"It's really difficult to tell if your jerky treat at home has products make in China," said UT veterinarian nutritionist Dr. Angela Witzel "It's really difficult to tell if your jerky treat at home has products make in China," said UT veterinarian nutritionist Dr. Angela Witzel
PetSafe, a Knoxville based company, says because of the problems coming out of China, they have decided to make their own dog jerky treat. PetSafe, a Knoxville based company, says because of the problems coming out of China, they have decided to make their own dog jerky treat.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Many pet owners are concerned after the FDA says hundreds of dogs and cats are being killed by contaminated dog jerky treats.     

They say the deadly treats are being made from products in China, but they have not found a specific brand to tell pet owners to stop using.

The FDA first learned about contaminated dog jerky treats back in 2007.     

They took several products off the shelf, and even though that helped, pets are still dying.

Sandra Atchley, of Kodak, fears two of her dogs were killed this year by the treats.

"One January 21, and one April Fool's Day," said Atchley. "They had the doggie treats pretty consistently for several years."    

Atchley says she did not remember the product's name, but was sure it was made in China.

"It's really difficult to tell if your jerky treat at home has products make in China," said UT veterinarian nutritionist Dr. Angela Witzel. "American companies, and manufacturers, don't have to list where each individual ingredient comes from, so there is no way to tell."

Dr. Witzel says for now pet owners should avoid dog jerky treats all together.

"Most dogs will have signs within an hour, or a few days, of having a contaminated treat," said Dr.Witzel.

She says if your pet loses its appetite, starts vomiting, or having diarrhea it would be important to get them to their local veterinarian.

It is important to keep the treats it had been eating, so they can be tested.

PetSafe, a Knoxville based company, says because of the problems coming out of China, they have decided to make their own dog jerky treat.

It is called Indigo Smokehouse Strips. It comes in two flavors: chicken and bacon.

"It's a meat based treat," said PetSafe senior product manager Kristin Way, "That's not made in China. It's made in the U.S. We don't put a lot of added stuff in that you seen in jerky strips out there."      

Way says this product should be on store shelves in the next few months.      

Atchley says despite alternatives, she has given up treats for her pets.

"That has come to a complete end," said Atchley.   

Along with the dog jerky treats PetSafe will be offering, other alternative treats that are safe for your dog include milkbones, and fruit snacks made especially for your pets.

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