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Veterinarians: Watch Out For Jerky Pet Food Linked To Pet Illness

Thousands of pets around the country are getting sick, and it's all because of the food they're eating. Federal Animal Health officials say about 600 pets have died and nearly 4,000 have become sick in an ongoing outbreak of illnesses tied to jerky treats made in China. Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi along with the Steven-Swans Humane Society are laying out a new plan to stop this dangerous, growing trend.
Thousands of pets around the country are getting sick, and it's all because of the food they're eating. Federal Animal Health officials say about 600 pets have died and nearly 4,000 have become sick in an ongoing outbreak of illnesses tied to jerky treats made in China. Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi along with the Steven-Swans Humane Society are laying out a new plan to stop this dangerous, growing trend.

It's something pet owners do all the time; they go to the store, and buy their furry friends some treats. But now experts are saying buyer beware, and some residents say these problems are already hurting their pets here at home.

"I bought her Waggin Train chicken jerky and the whole night she was throwing up, she had diarrhea," says Alisa Kolberg, dog owner.

Alisa and her dog Emma know what tainted jerky can do to pets. Now Alisa wants other pet owners to be aware.

"It turned out okay but there's others out there where the dogs are older, or they have bad immune systems and they wouldn't be able to withstand that," says Alisa.

"Many pets are being sickened by non-USA made treats that could have ingredients or contamination that are poison to them," says Maria Arnsman, veterinarian, DVM.

Veterinarians say it's very important to look at the label. They say it doesn't matter where the food is distributed. You want to make sure that it says "Made in the USA" to know you're getting a safe product.

While, it sounds simple, it can be tricky. This dog food says distributed by Del Monte Pet Products California, but no where on the label does it say "Made in the USA." Therefore, Arnsman says it's not a safe product.

"If they're made in Mexico, or Taiwan, or China, they often do not say that on the label. They just say they're distributed by a United States company.

What can pet owners do in the meantime? Read labels or buy local. Jakes Bakes produces dog treats in Clinton. The owner says every product is made and distributed right here at home.

"It's easier to buy fresh, look at the ingredients and know exactly what you're getting, and everyone agrees with that who owns a dog. So thats what we're providing, the very best that we can," says Mary Lisa Nolan, co-owner of Jakes Bakes Dog Treats.

"Wanna make sure they're healthy and taken care of, and if we can avoid that buy giving them American-made treats and know what we're giving them, then so be it," says Alisa.

Assemblyman Brindisi says he's urging the FDA to require pet food producers to list the country of origin for every ingredient they use on their products. But until then, our only message to pet owners out there, make sure you read those food labels.

Pet Foods That Have Been Recalled:
Nestle Purina PetCare Co.’s Waggin Train and Canyon Creek Ranch treats
Del Monte Corp’s Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats
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