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They’re back! Waggin’ Train jerky treats are poised to poison pets again

As incredible as it sounds, the infamous Waggin’ Train brand accused of sickening and killing thousands of dogs is back.

Purina just launched a new campaign with three new jerky pet treats, one of which is sourced from  China.

The announcement comes one month after import documents revealed that Nestle Purina had continued to import millions of pounds of pet treats from China despite the discovery of illegal drugs in the treats which led to their complete removal from the market last year.

One year later, after thousands of pets became ill and hundreds died after consuming contaminated treats imported from China, Purina is attempting to convince consumers that this time their treats are safe.

Hedging their bets, this time ’round Purina is cautioning consumers that the treats are “not recommended for puppies or adult dogs under 5 pounds”, yet last year somehow that wasn’t a concern.

And, just in case consumers aren’t convinced, Purina is giving them an alternative:

In 2014, Waggin’ Train is giving consumers a real choice, with chicken jerky dog treats made in China and treats made in the U.S.

So, lets see…consumers can now choose between possibly making their dog sick with contaminated treats from China or treats that are supposedly “made in the U.S.”

Golly, what a stumper.

Purina tries to convince consumers that these new and improved treats are OK because:

New Waggin’ Train Chicken Jerky Tenders are made with real white meat chicken in China, where we now source our chicken exclusively from a single, trusted chicken supplier, which is part of a U.S.-based company.

Oh, whew. What a relief. For a minute there, I thought they said from a company in China owned by the Chinese.

Now, instead of getting their contaminated chicken from just any ol’ chicken supplier in China they’ve narrowed it down to only one.

Can Purina’s vast quantity requirements be met by only one measly poultry processor and not a single poultry farmer in all of China?

And further, do we really care if the supplier in China is owned by a company in the U.S.?

I don’t.

Why should I put my trust in a company that knew pets were being made ill and some were dying all along from treats they imported from China and refused to do anything about it until they were caught by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for illegal drug residue in their treats.

I’m sorry, but what on earth makes them think that consumers should believe a single word on their website?

As it turns out, you probably shouldn’t. Just in case Purina should be held liable for anything said on their website and to make absolutely certain Purina has their ass covered they have this neat little disclaimer on their terms and conditions page:

While we use all reasonable attempts to ensure the accuracy and completeness of information on this website, we are not responsible if the information that we make available on this website is not accurate or complete. Any reliance upon the material on this website shall be at your own risk. You agree that it is your responsibility to monitor any changes to the material and the information contained on this website.

Does the expression “to be forewarned is to be forearmed” spring to mind? It should. You can’t say they didn’t warn you. After all, everything Purina tells you on their website may just be a complete fabrication and to believe anything they say Purina wants you to know you will be doing so at your own risk.

For example, do you believe this to be an accurate statement:

Waggin’ Train has worked hard to strengthen our already strict quality controls throughout the production process, from egg to finished treat.

Oh OK, so let me see…they have strengthened their “already strict quality controls” which couldn’t have been that strict, because they failed to control contaminated poultry from being used to make their treats in China a year ago.

We now source all of our chicken from just one trusted supplier in China. This is important, because sourcing exclusively from a single chicken supplier means greater control over all aspects of the chicken supply, including how the chickens are fed, raised and processed.

Oh please, if they think they have control –  they are kidding themselves. Other than their flimsy reassurances, what evidence can they provide consumers that possibly ever restore confidence in the safety of their products?

How about good old-fashioned lab test results. They rely on them apparently, why shouldn’t the customer?

Did Purina provide access to their ongoing sampling program of their products in China?

No, ‘fraid not.

How about transparency, that’s a buzz word marketers love to use nowadays. Has Purina been fully transparent?

Nope, sorry. Why, just today Purina refused to tell Susan Thixton of Truth About Pet Food the name of their U.S. supplier. You can read her post about it here.

Truth? Truth is always a surefire way to give consumers a boost of confidence!

No, Purina isn’t very good at that thing. They lied to American consumers that their treats could not possibly ever be responsible making pets sick. All they could do to assure consumers they weren’t, was to blame the FDA for their lack of ability to find a reason for illnesses. Absence of proof does not mean it a problem does not exist, it only means someone hasn’t discovered its reason for occurring.

The most shameful thing Purina did was to deny any responsibility and refused to help their consumers with sick and dying dogs, they refused to pay for their veterinary bills, and eventually they pulled every offer of a settlement off the table and denied all claims. Purina left consumers with nothing but broken hearts, a mountain of vet bills and dead pets to bury.

Trust Purina?

Never.

If this story wasn’t sickening enough to every single pet parent who lost a beloved furry family member to one of these imported treats, is the following cryptic announcement on Nestle Purina’s Waggin’ Train:

Please check back early February when we plan to share even more real dog excitement

I’m not sure if excited is the term I would use to describe my anticipation of their pending announcement, I would say terror would more accurately describes my feeling; impending doom or dread would be another good description.

So, what’s the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doing about it?

Not a whole heck of allot, if the results of their efforts are anything to measure their performance by.

What we do know is that the FDA made a huge mistake (boo-boo, fib — call it what you like) in telling the public the truth regarding the level of illegal antibiotics actually found by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets in the treats, under-reporting the actual amounts discovered.

Heck, maybe the FDA needs one of those handy Terms and Conditions pages on their site exempting them from accuracy as well.

We also know that the FDA and the Center for Veterinary Medicine met with Purina as recently as December, 11, 2013 with Larry Thompson, the senior research scientist at Nestle Purina PetCare. What they spoke about, no one knows.

Meanwhile, veterinarians still search for answers and 100 members of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently filed a formal petition with the AVMA House of Delegates to issue a policy regarding the poisonous pet treats.

And consumers and their beloved pets will probably only be remembered by our government as collateral damage in the race to build trade relations with China.

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (37) Write a comment

  1. We only fed our dog 4 total and he was so sick with diarrhea that turned into straight blood and vomiting. Rushed him to the vet and they administered care. He didn’t eat or drink for 3 days. He was so violently ill. I couldn’t figure out why he was so sick. Since this was the only thing that had changed in his diet, I googled it to see if anyone else had the same issue. Found a major recall and cover up once it was put back on the shelf. These treats come from China and have no regulations!! Others have unfortunately not had a great outcome and have lost their sweet dogs! PLEASE DO NOT FEED TO YOUR DOG OR BUY EVER!!!

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  2. Thank you. I just googled the product as my dog’s system has been upset recently and it is a new addition to his diet. Bless you for being here to help protect our pets. I lost a cat some years back from the cat food made in China. He and my best friend’s cat were dead before the word got out. Some of the first victims. Thank you again for protecting our loved ones.

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  3. I think we should feed them to Purina executives and see how many of them die, payback is hell

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  4. Our beloved dog Acee just passed away Friday night 5/5/2017. I wish I had listened to my gut instinct that he didnt seem well since we gave him these snacks. He was not the same… Still eating ang drinking water, but breathing heavily, diarreah, dry hacking like wanting to vomit. Our hearts are broken. I wish I had seen or known this.

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  5. I learned of the original recall from my neighbor I had been giving these treats to my 3 chihuahuas and I was one of the lucky ones my dogs tolerated them with very little problems but after learning of what had transpired with these treat I threw out a large bag that I had just purchased 2 days before. What I find disgusting I now see these treats for sale again in major grocery stores and I wish I could put a sign up encouraging people not purchase. As of today I check the labels and the treat also must they are a product of the USA if they don’t and/or very vague I will not purchase. My dogs are like my kids don’t fear my dog (s) fear the owner. I’ve grown up with a dog so I’ve had to lay to rest a few companions each had their own personalities and will always be with me in spirit.

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  6. I wish I saw this post sooner, we have purchased this product from Sam’s club. It says its made of just chicken and well, we always check the ingredients but we have now learned about checking where it is made too. We will defiantly be more careful from now on.

    Two of our dogs have diarrhea and vomiting fits. We realized today what was out of the ordinary and it was the jerky treats so I decided to google it and here we are. I can’t believe this. My four dogs have eaten it and two are sick but they are still eating their own food and drinking water so I just hope now they will get better.

    Thank you for writing this!!

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  7. I just purchased a bag from SAMS CLUB in Ft. Walton Beach, Fl. MY dog is now a ther emergency vets after ingesting the treats. The vet asked me if i had given anything different to my 8 year old healthy Basset Hound,. I said no . Then i thought oh yeah i just bought him a bag of chicken strips. SHwe told me to go home and read the bag carefully to make sure it wasn’t made in China and there it was in bold print made in china. I felt horrible, i love my dog to pieces and to think i gave him something that made him vomit for two straight days, needed IV fluids and is still in the ER vet hospital two days later with severe abdominal issues. I want buyers to be where that this treat chicken jerky waggin trails is bad news. STAY AWAY FRO THEM THEY WILL MAKE YOUR DOG SERIOUSLY ILL.

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  8. Didn’t realize the problem with these. Tried them, dog developed diarrhea and for the first time in months had an in house accident. Threw them out…Purina should be shamed.

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  9. ON JUNE 14, 2016 WE HAD TO HAVE OUR DOG PUT TO SLEEP. WE GOT A SAMPLE BAG OF WAGGIN TAIL CHICKEN JERKY MADE IN CHINA FOR PURINA. WE GOT THIS SAMPLE FROM A FESTIVAL SOMEONE WAS GIVING THEM OUT REPRESENTING PURINA. WE THOUGHT IF THEY ARE APPROVED BY THE F.D.A AND THEY ARE SELLING THEM AND HANDING OUT SAMPLES THEY MUST BE SAFE. NEEDLESS TO SAY OUR 10 YEAR OLD JESSIE DIED WITH VERY HIGH LEVELS IN HER KIDNEYS WHICH WAS CAUSED BY THESE TREATS. PLEASE DO NOT EVER BUY THESE TREATS FOR YOUR DOG BE YOUR DECEASED DOGS VOICE AND GET THIS CHINA COMPANY CLOSED DOWN AND PURINA TO STOP SELLING POISION FOR OUR DOGS. PLEASE IF YOUR DOG IS LIKE YOUR CHILD AS JESSIE WAS TO US THEN BE THEIR VOICE AND GET THIS GARBAGE OFF THE MARKET. AND RESEARCH SITES LIKE THIS ONE TO SEE WHAT YOU ARE REALLY GIVING YOUR DOG. THESE TREATS WERE TAKEN OFF THE MARKET IN 2015 AND NOW BACK AGAIN DOES PURINA REALLY BELIEVE THAT A YEAR MAKES A DIFFERENCE WELL JESSIE SAYS HELL NO FROM HEAVEN.

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  10. Gave my 9 month old beagle one just yesterday and he got deathly sick and crying. Was really bad on him. Please do not give these to your dogs. They are deadly. The bag says they are made in China, so please don’t buy these.

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    • If you feel your pet was harmed – you must visit a vet. If the vet diagnoses the dog with Fanconi syndrome (acquired), there is specific treatment called the Gonto protocol – your vet will know about it. You should read my other posts on this problem. I have written many, many articles on this issue (jerky treats and Fanconi’s).

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  11. I just discovered our neighbor has been feeding our dog the Waggin Train Chicken Jerkey treats – in the past he has been treated for colitis-related symptoms – I’ll be talking with her today – she told me yesterday “It’s Purina, I’d never feed anything from China”

    I went home and googled it – back of the bag – “Made in China”

    READ the fine print folks!

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  12. Thanks for sharing this. I have always distrusted Purina and when I saw it was made in China on the back accompanied by a “Maximum Daily” limit, I became very suspicious. I’m taking this sh*t back to the store immediately.

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  13. I just purchased these Waggin treats and gave each of my Scotties a treat from that same bag. Now both are lying on the floor breathing hard and one is crying. They have had no other treats or food so far this morning…. So no chance something else caused this reaction.

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    • I hope you took your dog to the vet. I lucked out with my two dogs. Both started having kidney problems and after a few trips to the vet I saw the recall for Wagon Train chicken jerky. I stopped giving them the treats and the kidney problems finally stopped coming back. One dog lived to just a few months short of 16 years and the the other dog which was a pup at the time is now 10.

      I would stay away from any food product produced in china, pet or human. Chinese companies can not be trusted to adhere to our safety standards. They use fillers and chemicals that are banned in the U.S. because over time they accumulate in the body and can be deadly plus these lie about using the additives. Some pet foods that are labeled as produced in the US still import some of the ingredients from China. Contact your government rep. and demand that they enact legislation that the product label should not only state where it was produced, but also states if any ingredient is imported from China.This information should be displayed prominently under the brand name and not buried in the fine print or on the back of the package.
      I hope your dog is better.

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      • The main problem with the treats is the numerous antibiotics fed to the chickens there (some legal and some not) – specifically, the sulfonamides. They can cause a rare, but very serious problem: sulfonamide hypersensitivy syndrome. The syndrome has many of the same symptoms as Fanconi Syndrome, typically seen in genetically predisposed breeds of dogs. Vets have coined the term acquired Fanconi syndrome or Fanconi-like syndrome.

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  14. I just purchased a 50# bag of dog chow and to my surprise I found a sample package of waggin train treats. The ironic thing is that I made my purchase at Wal-Mart.

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  15. My dogs have eaten the Wagon Train chicken jerky treats in the past but now my husky is 4 and has had two seizures! This is not a fun experience for anyone by no means. I recently saw them at Sam’s Club and decided to purchase them again only to find that these were taken off the store shelves last year. Unfortunately I will be taking back the two bags I purchased. I’m not blaming the jerky treats but I’ve never seen the dogs so sick in the pasdo lately. Sad and confusing. Our vet told us that brand had been recalled.

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  16. My dogs have eaten the Wagon Train chicken jerky treats in the past but now my husky is 4 and has had two seizures! This is not a fun experience for anyone by no means. I recently saw them at Sam’s Club and decided to purchase them again only to find that these were taken off the store shelves last year. Unfortunately I will be taking back the two bags I purchased. I’m not blaming the jerky treats but I’ve never seen the dogs so sick in the past asI do lately. Sad and confusing. Our vet told us that brand had been recalled.

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  17. I’ve owned 5 Samoyed’s and every one of them developed kidney problems. I would have to take them to the Vet every few months for treatments. They were all raised on dry Purina dog food and chicken treats. When I heard about the Wagon Train issue I stopped giving my current dog the chicken treats and switched to another brand of dog food. She hasn’t had any problems with her kidneys since I made the switch.

    Just because Purina is making the treats in the US does not mean they’re safe. The ingredients and additives may still come from China. I encourage People to Contact their Congressman demanding a ban on any food or food ingredient produced in China from being sold in the U.S. Not only does the pet food pose a danger to our pets, chicken meant for human consumption can be sent to China for processing then shipped back to U.S. to be sold in our stores. China is also buying up our pork industry. This has to stop. China is to corrupt and can’t be trusted.

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  18. I bought some of the Waggin Train chicken jerky from Walmart last year, both dogs got so sick. I gave them each a treat the night night before, the next day I woke up Annie our chihuahua had diarrhea all over, and throw up, she slept most of the day, then she had the shakes and I remember I had gave Daisy the outdoor dog, [actually our neighbors but she lives in our garage] some to so I went to check on her, same thing with her… The only thing they both had that was the same, the jerky. So I took it back to Walmart and started to explain why I was returning it, she didn’t even listen to me. So I went to their site and sent them an email about it, never got a reply. Luckily by that night they were both feeling a lot better, won’t buy it again.

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  19. Most chicken jerky come from china … Only give one inch piece.. Twice a day… Is it safe? Can I dry my own??

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  20. Although many treats did, in fact, poison dogs …including one very close to me … that was not thr issue with the Waggin’ Train treats. The problem was likely protein poisoning concentrated in the state of New York. These treats are JERKY. That is meat. People were not following the feeding instructions. You can’t give five of these giant treats to a small dog every day. Dogs can overload on protein. You have to limit feeding when you’re dealing with small breeds and puppies. It’s just common sense. I’m not a huge fan of Purina by any stretch. But Waggin’ Train was pulled voluntarily nation wide. It was only required to be pulled in New York where they saw the problem. The bottom line is that there were two problems with jerky treats: over feeding and poisoned product. But the result was the same as both manifest as a poisoned dog.

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    • I disagree. One too many treats will not cause renal failure. Protein is not a nephrotoxin. The pet food industry propagated the feeding limits as a way to mitigate responsibility and place the blame on pet parents. Once they realized there was a problem with them, it was a calculated decision to tell consumers to feed less poison to their dogs especially if the dogs were small.

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  21. Nestle appears to break new ground in an attempt to… it appears… enter a contract between the public who may access their site and the company. “…at your own risk” and “You agree that it is your responsibility” are contract terms. A nice touch, considering they are so certain of their enhanced quality controls that weren’t so enhanced a year ago, anyway.

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  22. I’m sure consumers will be relieved to know that the chicken is now “real,” since they must have assumed as much up til now. Foolish fools. You sum up the situation well, with your conclusion: “Trust Purina? Never.”

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  23. Pingback: What Our Government is NOT Doing About Chicken Jerky Treats | touch of home

  24. I’m sick over all of this! I’ve lost my pet over this — I’ve sent medical records from our vet and the treating hospital to the FDA through their portal, included pictures of Frasier the last few days of his life and what it was like, and the final text messages I had with our vet, and still haven’t heard anything from them. I’ve called and emailed, and still, nothing from them. — Corporations, money, power, politics, behind closed door meetings — there is no justice in any of this.

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