Exactly why certain pet jerky treats have been linked to 1,000 dog deaths—and a handful of human illnesses—remains a mystery. But the concern over the treats, in particular those made in China, is enough for Petco to take action, the company says in a statement. Now, the company is becoming the first national pet chain to halt sales of all dog and cat treats made in China, NBC News reports. "We know the FDA hasn’t yet identified a direct cause for the reported illnesses, but we decided the uncertainty of the situation outweighs the lack of actual proof," says CEO Jim Myers.
The deaths have been a matter of concern for years, and the FDA recently released startling new figures: Jerky treats have been associated with 1,000 dog deaths and almost 5,000 illnesses in dogs and cats, along with three human illnesses. Two of the humans were toddlers putting unusual items in their mouths, while one was an adult who apparently ate dog treats; why he or she did so isn't clear, Modern Farmer notes. Another human, however, seems to have survived munching on a dog treat with no ill effects: The owner of a Chinese factory implicated by NBC ate one himself to prove it was safe. The best bet, per Modern Farmer, is just not giving your pet any dog jerky.