A favorite among dogs, chicken jerky has become a staple dog treat for households. So when customers began to visit their local Wal-Mart stores to purchase another round of treats for their canine family members, some were surprised to find varieties from suppliers like Import-Pingyang Pet Product Co. and Shanghai Bestro Trading missing from the aisles in the dog food sections. What customers did not know and Wal-Mart had failed to announce was that Wal-Mart had conducted an internal recall, pulling the chicken jerky products from both Chinese-based companies off the shelves after customer feedback pointed towards the dog treats being the cause of sickness for their pets.

According to media reports, Wal-Mart began pulling the two popular chicken jerky products off the shelves in late July. At the same time, they placed a computer block on all cash registers negating the possibility of a customer purchasing either product. Both Import-Pingyant Pet Product Co. and Shanghai Bestro Trading are China-based suppliers of the dog treats in question and have been made aware of Wal-Mart’s decision. With over 95% of the dog bones in stores today coming from China as well as laissez-faire style rules Chinese government trade officials have undertaken in policing the exports, Wal-Mart’s decision to pull the treats in favor of testing them for any dangers was a move in the best interest of their customers.

With so much discussion going on about the trade debacle that is Chinese imports and the health dangers that have arisen from animals getting sick from contaminated foods to kids being put in danger because of lead-paint covered toys, Chinese trade concerns are running rampant. Wal-Mart made the decision not to go public with their internal recall in order to not further panic the market or create unnecessary or unfounded concerns amongst pet owners. It is not yet known when the internal testing will be complete. In March, pet food aisles were empty after a huge recall was made when melamine was found in pet food exported from China. Melamine is a substance that is the byproduct of several pesticides.

With Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer doing an internal recall, watch for other pet food stores to follow suit to take a proactive approach to the safety concerns. In July, Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt sent his chief of staff to Beijing to hammer out the details to two agreements that would raise the standard for safety in products shipped from China to the US. Since the March recall of pet food products, toys, toothpaste, fish, and juice recalls have been made on products derived from Chinese manufacturers.

Last week, a Philadelphia woman claimed her 2-year old Chihuahua died after eating Bestro’s chicken jerky treats purchased from Wal-Mart. The dog, named Bella, had an autopsy performed and it was found that Bella died of a bacterial infection similar to salmonella. While tests were not conclusive, the veterinarian said that the treats could be the cause of the death. With Bella the only dog in the house to consume the Bestro treats and all the other animals unaffected, the dog treats seem a logical place to start.

After consuming one chicken jerky treat per day for three days, the chihuahua’s owners took her to the vet with symptoms of vomiting. The dog’s health declined quickly and no treatment seemed to slow the deterioration. Before surgery could be performed, the dog died. During the autopsy, it was found that the dog had hypothermia and sepsis. The dog also had an enlarged liver and a purple-colored colon.

It was the death of Bella that really pushed Wal-Mart to test whether the chicken jerky dog treats were the cause and if so, would other dogs be put in danger. In Bella’s case the only change in her diet was the addition of the chicken jerky treats. So with those concerns, Wal-Mart made the decision to stop the sale of the two Chinese-based products and conduct an internal testing to ensure no further harm could be done by those who buy dog treats at their local Wal-Mart store.