Man says jerky treats almost killed his dog

Posted at 10:01 AM, Jan 03, 2020

BRANDON, Fla. -- A Florida man says his dog, Max, nearly died after he ate jerky treats bought days earlier.

Tom D’Aiuto of Brandon says his dog, a terrier mix, is normally very energetic and excited.

“He’s not a lapdog like this, this is not my Max,” he said.



He’s happy to report Max is slowly craving food and water again, but says it’s been a frightening experience.

Last week, D’Aiuto says Max was severely ill. He says the only change in his diet were duck jerky strips and sweet potato wrapped with chicken flavored treats.

One of the flavors is manufactured in China and the other in Thailand. Both were bought at the Dollar Tree in Regency Square Thursday, December 26.

He says he gave Max the treats over the next few days.

Saturday night, he says Max acted strange and had to go to the bathroom more frequently.

“There’s three or four in a bag and he got the whole bag,” he said, showing us the treats.

By Saturday, he says Max couldn’t move.

“When I woke up Sunday morning, it literally looked like a crime scene,” D'Aiuto said.

Diarrhea and vomit covered the floors in the condo. He got him into the vet early Monday morning and says after they took blood work, his liver enzymes were elevated along with his white blood cells.

“I was like OK, is that consistent with some kind of contamination or poisoning?” he said, about his conversation with the veterinarian. “She said absolutely.”

Since 2007, the FDA has been investigating the link between pet illnesses and jerky treats made in China. It’s received complaints that involve more than 6,200 dogs and 1,140 dog deaths.

WFTS reached out to Dollar Tree about the treats. A spokesperson says they take product quality issues seriously, “We are not currently aware of any related issues or concerns regarding pet treats. We are in the process of researching.”

D’Aiuto doesn’t want this to happen to another pet. The FDA urges people who think their dogs were poisoned by jerky treats to report it through its online portal. If you cannot file your report online, please contact FDA at 240-402-7002 for assistance.

Here’s what information will be most helpful:

Information about your pet:

  • Species (dog, cat)
  • Age, weight, breed, pregnant, spayed/neutered
  • Previous health status of pet
  • Any pre-existing conditions your pet has
  • Whether you give your pet any other foods, treats, dietary supplements or drugs
  • How much of the suspected product your pet normally consumes
  • How much of the “suspect” product was consumed from the package?
  • How much of the product you still have
  • Clinical signs exhibited by your pet (such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy)
  • How soon after consuming the product the clinical signs appeared
  • Your veterinarian’s contact information, diagnosis and medical records for your pet
  • Results of any diagnostic laboratory testing performed on your pet
  • How many pets consuming the product exhibited clinical symptoms
  • Whether any pets that consumed the product are not affected
  • Whether your pet spends time outdoors unsupervised
  • Why you suspect the pet food caused the illness

Product description:

  • Exact name of the product and product description (as stated on the product label)
  • Type of container (e.g. box, bag, can, pouch, etc.)
  • Product intended to be refrigerated, frozen, or stored at room temperature
  • Lot number - This number is often hard to find and difficult to read. It is stamped onto the product packaging and typically includes a combination of letters and numbers, and is always in close proximity to the best by/before or expiration date (if the product has a best by/before or expiration date). The lot number is very important as it helps us determine the manufacturing plant as well as the production date.
  • Best by, best before or expiration date
  • UPC code (also known as the bar code)
  • Net weight
  • Purchase date and exact location where purchased.
  • Results of any laboratory testing performed on the pet food product
  • How the food was stored, prepared, and handled

This story was originally published by Heather Leigh at WFTS.