The FDA can't say for sure whether treats made in China are making dogs and cats sick -- and in some cases killing them -- but two major U.S. pet retailers have decided the imported snacks aren't worth the risk. Amid renewed safety concerns, PetCo Tuesday became the first national pet store to remove the imported treats from its shelves, followed closely behind by PetSmart.
"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," PetSmart spokeswoman Erin Gray told the Associated Press. PetCo says it will stop selling the treats by year's end; PetSmart, by March 2015. The changes will apply to all of the companies' U.S. stores: approximately 1,300 each.
Over 1,000 dog deaths have been linked to treats imported from China, the FDA said last week; since 2007, it's received over 4,800 complaints of illness in pets (and three humans) that consumed chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats. While the agency's been tracing the illnesses for a number of years now, it's yet to identify a cause of the illnesses. In its updated report, it reminded pet owners that treats aren't necessary to a balanced diet.