Veterinarians offer advice with return of controversial jerky treats

The controversy surrounding jerky treats for pets has resumed following an announcement that two major pet treat manufacturers will soon return their products to stores, according to a release from BluePearl Veterinary Partners.

The treats in question had been voluntarily recalled, though members of the public were warned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration through a report that about 4,500 dogs had reportedly gotten sick and nearly 600 dogs had died, allegedly from consuming jerky treats.

Ultimately, an identifying cause of the illnesses and deaths was never found.

A healthy alternative

Because of the cause for concern, doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners are offering a different approach.

Instead of purchasing processed treats for pets, people can consider providing their pet with a healthy alternative.

"The most important part of treat time is the attention you give to your pet," said Dr. Jennifer Welser, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners.

"Consider giving your pet chopped vegetables or fruits, like carrots and apples, or giving them a piece of their own food, but emphasizing the same level of enthusiasm,” Welser said.

Some foods toxic to pets

However, some human foods are toxic to pets. Onions, garlic, chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, the sugar substitute Xylitol, and raw or undercooked food can create major problems for pets, according to Welser.

"Most importantly, we suggest discussing treat options with your family veterinarian to determine what kind of treats would be best to give your furry friend," he said.

About the company

Based in Tampa, Fla., BluePearl Veterinary Partners employs more than 1,700 people, including about 450 veterinarians.

BluePearl hospitals provide referral-only, specialty care services and most offer 24-hour emergency care. BluePearl does not provide primary care.