| By Dr. Becker
It seems there’s another dog snack from China to worry about: sweet potato treats.
According to the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) 1, vets are now reporting health problems linked to sweet potato treats similar to those related to chicken jerky treats also made in China.
Test results on sick dogs show kidney problems similar to the symptoms of Fanconi syndrome. Most dogs recover, but there have been some deaths related to the chicken jerky treat problem.
Symptoms may show up within hours or days after a treat is eaten and include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and increased thirst and urination.
If you’ve fed your dog either chicken jerky treats or sweet potato treats made in China and your pet has fallen ill, I recommend you contact your veterinarian – especially if the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours or are severe.
Pet Treats to Steer Clear Of The brands currently implicated in the sweet potato treat problem are:
- Beefeaters Sweet Potato Snacks for Dogs (16 varieties of yam-related treats)
- Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Yam Good Dog Treats (Nestlé Purina)
- Drs. Foster and Smith (exact item not specified)
- Dogswell Veggie Life Vitality (4 varieties)
Per Poisoned Pets 2, in 2010 the FDA found that a sweet potato dog treat made by a certain company in China was contaminated with phorate, a highly toxic pesticide.
There is speculation there could be problems with pork treats and cat treats imported from China as well.
For more information on why you need to be vigilant about reading pet food labels, making phone calls to manufacturers, and really doing your homework on what you’re feeding your dog or cat, read my article Pet Food and China - More Cause for Concern?
If You Feed Your Pet Commercially Prepared Treats … PLEASE don't buy any treat made in China. Not chicken jerky treats, chicken tenders, chicken strips, chicken treats or sweet potato treats. Play it safe. Buy only food and treats made in the U.S. Buying pet food made in this country won't remove all risk of winding up with a tainted product, but it will certainly improve your chances of keeping your pet safe.
Consider making your own sweet potato treats at home. Try to buy produce locally and make sure to wash the sweet potatoes or yams thoroughly. Then slice them nice and thin, arrange on a baking sheet, and cook in a 300º oven for about 45 minutes. Let the slices cool and store them in plastic bags.
For homemade chicken jerky treats, buy some boneless chicken breasts, clean them, and slice into long, thin strips – the thinner the better. Place the strips on a greased or non-stick cookie sheet and bake them for at least three hours at 180 degrees. The low temp dries the chicken out slowly and the strips wind up nice and chewy. Let the strips cool, and then store them in plastic bags or another airtight container. You can also freeze them.