If you give your beloved pup pig ear dog treats, you could be putting you and the rest of your human family members at risk for salmonella infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns.
The CDC issued an investigation notice after its researchers linked an outbreak of drug-resistant salmonella in 13 states to pig ear dog treats, though they haven’t identified a single common supplier of treats.
In Michigan, one of the states affected by the outbreak, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development tested pig ear treats from the retailers where sick dog owners reported buying the treats. “Although the outbreak strain was not identified, other strains of Salmonella were,” the CDC reported. “Investigators are checking to see if any human illnesses are linked to those strains. Retail locations where sampling occurred have removed pig ears from shelves.”
So far, there are 45 reported cases of people with salmonella. Twelve of the sick people were hospitalized. When the CDC began investigating, it found that 89% of the cases reported contact with a dog and 71% had come in contact with pig ear treats or dogs who were fed those treats.
Salmonella cases linked to this outbreak have been reported in California, North Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts. Iowa has the most reported cases so far with 12.
Salmonella is an intestinal infection that can cause diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Your dog could be infected, too. The CDC says dogs don’t always show that they’re not feeling well with a salmonella infection, but they usually have diarrhea and may have blood or mucus in their stool.
You can keep yourself and your family safe by always washing your hands with soap and water after you handle any of your pet’s food, whether at home or at the store, the CDC says. Keep your pet’s food separate from your own, and use a clean, dedicated scoop to dish out treats and dinner to your pup, rather than the bowl.
Also, don’t let your dog lick your mouth or face just after eating, and wash your skin if your dog does lick you after eating.