Dog owners warned about chicken jerky treats from China

Posted: Updated:
Linda Hetrick's dog Angel By Meredith Yeomans Linda Hetrick's dog Angel By Meredith Yeomans

MESA, Ariz. -- Linda Hetrick said the worst part about losing her dog, Angel, is coming home to an empty apartment.

“I couldn't walk through my front door without crying so hard because I missed her so much,” she said sobbing.

What makes it worse -- Hetrick said she feels there's a chance Angel's death could've been avoided.

“She was fine until she ate these,” she said, referring to Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky treats.

Linda said she'd never bought the treats before, but earlier this month, she gave Angel the first treat out of the bag before going to bed. The next day Hetrick says Angel seemed out of breath.

“She was panting even heavier and heavier and I thought, ‘Oh my God, something's wrong.’ She'd never been sick,” she explained.

Hetrick decided to take Angel to the vet, but never made it.

About 36 hours after eating Milo's Kitchen Chicken Jerky treats, she said Angel laid down on the end of her bed and died.

“I don't think I'd ever cried so hard,” Hetrick said.

While Hetrick doesn't know if the treats caused her dog’s death, the Food and Drug Administration has cautioned consumers about chicken jerky products for dogs in the past, beginning in 2007.

The most recent alert came late last year. According to the 2011 warning, “In the last 12 months, FDA has seen an increase in the number of complaints it received of dog illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China … Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died.”

No specific products were named in the warning, but when Hetrick looked at the bag of treats she fed Angel, she discovered they were made in China.

In a statement to 3 On Your Side, Milo's Kitchen writes:

“At Milo’s Kitchen, we understand dogs are part of our families and we share pet parents’ number one priority to keep their dogs safe and healthy. Pet parents can feel confident in treating their dogs with Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky. We put Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky through a detailed 17-step safety process, where it is required to pass quality testing during every single phase. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the FDA have identified no link between illness and chicken jerky treats.”

Hetrick wishes more was being done.

“Why can't they pull these until they find out for a fact, not just say, ‘it’s not our product, it’s not our product,'” she said.

The FDA said it is continuing to investigate the problem by testing chicken jerky treats to determine what, if anything, in them is causing dogs to get sick.

Meantime, the FDA is asking consumers to report illnesses associated with dog treats.