Still No Answers as FDA Issues Update on Jerky Pet Treat Investigation

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
It’s been almost 10 years since the investigation started, and still there are no definitive answers as to why dogs are dying after eating imported jerky treats.

No news is good news? Not necessarily. It’s been awhile since we heard any news, but today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its ongoing investigation into pet illnesses and deaths in animals that ate jerky pet treats..

The good news: Reported cases have been on the decline in recent years. Since FDA’s last update in September 2014 and through the end of 2015, there have been 200 reports received. During the previous period (from the update in May 2014 to September 2014) 270 cases were reported to FDA.

Related: 5 Vet-Approved Tips For Buying Safe Dog Treats

The bad news: It’s still happening. And there are no concrete answers. Just more products added to the list.

Since the investigation began in 2007 through December 31, 2015, FDA has received approximately 5,200 complaints of illness associated with consumption of chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, most of which involve products imported from China. The reports involve more than 6,200 dogs, 26 cats, three people, and include more than 1,140 canine deaths.

The FDA is still investigating, with the help of the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), a network of animal health laboratories affiliated with FDA.

Related: Petco Officially Pulls All Made-in-China Treats From Shelves

Products that were added to the list of suspects now include imported duck jerky product and added duck jerky products, due to the detection of antimicrobial and antiviral residues. As a result of this testing, FDA revised its existing Import Alert in October 2015 to include certain poultry jerky-type pet treats.

The majority of complaints involve chicken jerky (treats, tenders, and strips), but others include duck, sweet potato, and treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes, yams, or rawhide.

If you believe your pet has become ill from consuming a jerky pet treat, please report it electronically through FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal or by phone to your local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator. While FDA does not necessarily respond to every individual complaint submitted, each report becomes part of the body of knowledge that helps to inform the investigation.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

More by Amy Tokic