Veterinarian weighs in on dog treat warning

The Food and Drug Administration has a warning for pet owners. There is a treat you may be giving your dog that could make them sick or even kill them. Although the FDA has not released any specific brands, one East Texas veterinarian says that she has seen sick dogs come into her office for several years.

“They pulled a lot of the products off the shelf, but there still are some out there that may be causing a problem,” said Laura Cauthen, owner, and veterinarian at Animal Medical Center of Tyler.

The FDA says the treats, which are from China, are the reason thousands of pets have become ill and hundreds have died.

“Veterinarians have had some concern with these treats for a period of time now and the FDA is taking note,” said Cauthen.

She has seen several dogs that suffered a gastrointestinal illness from jerky treats and encourages pet owners to avoid them completely.

“I have had patients that came in with gastrointestinal symptoms who have started on a new jerky treat. We were able to successfully treat the pet in the hospital, eliminating that treat, and the symptoms have resolved,” said Cauthen.

Symptoms of this gastrointestinal illness are decreased activity and appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, increased water consumption or increased urination. If you see any of these symptoms in your dog, you’re encouraged to contact a veterinarian right away

There are healthy alternatives to these treats.

“Pieces of their own dog food kibble can be rewarded to a pet in a positive way and sometimes they will take that as an acceptable alternative. Even things like a green bean or a carrot could be a positive reinforcement for a dog,” said Cauthen.

It comes down to this: don’t buy what’s cheaper, buy what’s healthier.

“Sometimes you get what you pay for as far as food goes,” said Cauthen.

Veterinarians say that treats are not necessary for your dog’s diet: your dog can have a balanced, nutritional diet from dog food alone.

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