In a huge move regarding pup parents and their dogs, giant pet retailers Petco and PetSmart will no longer sell chicken jerky treats made in China.
According to the FDA, the treats have linked to over 1,000 dog deaths since 2007, with 5,600 dogs reported sick. Though the FDA has not been able to identify a direct link to the treats and dog illness, even examining 26 of the bodies of the dogs that died. Although they were not able to find a conclusive cause, they were also, in half of the autopsies, not able to rule out completely that the jerky treats were not the cause.
Petco began removing the treats from its shelves as early as May 2014, and now none of their stores carry the products. PetSmart has followed suit, and will have all treats out of its locations by March of 2016.
Petco and PetSmart both made statements to news outlet NBC Bay Area regarding their decision. Petco said:
“While Petco has not carried any dog or cat food items from China for several years, the evolution of the decision to include China-made treats meant letting go of some of our top-selling products… We feel confident that our decision will not only be a welcome change for customers, but ultimately have a positive business impact. Customer response to new U.S.-made product lines has been great, and we strongly believe the benefits of providing more American-made products will outweigh any downside.”
PetSmart had similar observations, stating:
“We follow all recommendations of the FDA and look to them for guidance. The FDA has never made a direct link between the China-made treats and the illnesses that have been reported. We’ve listened to the concerns of our pet parents, however, and we feel removing the treats from our shelves is the right thing to do for pets and our customers.”