Chicken Treat Safety

Looking for your favorite chicken treat? We’ve cleaned up the shelves!

Dexter’s has discontinued all “Made in China” & irradiated chicken treats for the safety of your pets.

There has been no recall, nor definitive information on imported or irradiated treats causing harm, but the anecdotal
information keeps piling up and we decided to listen. We struggled with this decision because we know that this change will result in higher prices for these treats.

We all need to think about the larger issues when assessing the true cost of 100% meat treats, and consider that a quality cheap treat may be too good to be true.

The first reports of adverse reactions involving chicken treats made in China began to trickle in via veterinarians who were seeing serious illnesses (primarily kidney disease) they couldn’t explain. Early warnings came as early as 2007, with official FDA and American Veterinary Medical Association press releases that acknowledged that they had not found a true cause to the problem.

Even now, in 2012, after years of testing these products, the FDA cannot find any contaminants that would explain the illnesses.

The reported symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drinking & urination. The most common outcome is Fanconi Syndrome, which is normally an inherited disorder.

What about irradiated treats?

no irradiated pet foodWe discovered that even when looking for “Made in the USA” chicken treats we had to be careful. It’s not widely discussed, but some dog treats made from dried meats are irradiated. Radiation is used to sterilize treats and to extend their shelf life.

The dangers of irradiation may see vague, but tests have shown that animals eating irradiated food have a higher incidence of kidney disease, tumors, and reproductive failure. In 2008 there were cat deaths in Australia when Champion food, makers of Orijen, were forced to irradiate their cat food by the Australian government (Champion has never irradiated their foods for other markets, and needless to say they stopped immediately when this happened).

What’s the solution?

Do your best to know where your pet’s treats come from. When shopping  read the packaging; the best treat makers are proud to tell their customers about their sourcing and production methods.

Be realistic. Yes, treats made in the States are going to be more expensive, but you can rethink your habits. If you’re on a budget you may need to feed smaller amounts of your pet’s favorite treats, but you can do this creatively by hiding them around the house or in foraging toys to score more “excitement points” with your pet.  Small dogs in particular may be able to polish off a whole chicken strip, but that could be the equivelant of a meal for them and not such a healthy habit to keep.

Stay alert to information about food safety – for people and for pets.

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