With the recent multiple recalls of pet treats, several clients have expressed concerns regarding which treats to give their pets. Most of the recent recalls have involved chicken or duck-based jerky treats with ingredients imported from China. Manufacturers of pet treats are not required to list on packaging where all of the ingredients in their products are procured, so a treat that states that it is made in the USA may actually have ingredients imported from other countries. It has remained unclear what is causing animals to become ill from ingesting these treats. Symptoms have ranged from gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, inappetance, diarrhea) to kidney problems. Most dogs have recovered from these symptoms but a few have had fatal consequences. Pets that have developed these symptoms have ingested a wide variety of brands containing chicken or duck jerky, and affected pets are not limited to a specific geographic area. My recommendation to my clients is to avoid jerky treats of any brand or variety. To my knowledge, treats other than chicken or duck jerky treats have not been causing illness in pets. The best and safest treat for a pet always remains a natural and healthy treat, such as baby carrots for dogs, or fresh small bites of chicken or turkey breast for cats. Treats should never be a significant portion of a pet’s diet, and, in my opinion, should primarily be used as training aids or special rewards for good behavior. Your pet will always view extra attention and praise from you as better than any edible treat! For more information on pet treat safety from the FDA, visit: FDA Guidance on Pet Jerky Treats.