AUSTIN (KXAN) — Large pet supply stores are taking action after thousands of pets have gotten sick.
Since 2007, the Federal Drug Administration has received around 4,800 reports of pet illnesses and 1,000 dog deaths. Most of the reports involve jerky treats, many of which are made in China.
Petco announced Tuesday that pet treats from China will no longer be on store shelves by the end of the year.
“We’ve been following the FDA warnings and related customer concerns closely, and we’ve been actively reducing our China-made assortment and expanding our American-made offerings for several years now,” Petco CEO Jim Myers said. “We know the FDA hasn’t yet identified a direct cause for the reported illnesses, but we decided the uncertainty of the situation outweighs the lack of actual proof. It has taken some time and careful thought to get to this point, but we’re proud to make the change and we believe our customers will be pleased with it as well.”
Austin veterinarian Dr. Elaine Caplan says the move is a good one.
“The animals quit eating,” said Dr. Caplan. “They’re vomiting. They have diarrhea and in fact, 30 percent of these cases have involved the kidney and urinary tract (infections). The rest, the skin and neurologic system. The big $10 million question is what is causing all this.”
Dr. Caplan warns pet parents to read labels carefully.
“Make sure it doesn’t say ‘Made in China’, but even some of our ‘Made in the U.S.’ products could use ingredients made in China,” said Dr. Caplan. “So it’s a concern.”
PetSmart will also phase out dog and cat treats made in china by March of next year.
“This is something we’ve been working toward for some time, and feel it’s the right thing to do for pets and our customers,” said Erin Gray, PetSmart spokesperson.