MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - If you have pets in your home, check the label on the treats you give them. Don't risk making them seriously ill.
A nationwide problem with "jerky" style treats is striking right here in Alabama. You could have dangerous treats in your home and not even know it.
Linda Bowman's black lab was a classic case.
"He quit eating his food, quit drinking water, he laid around, he had no energy, was very lethargic, and then he started vomiting," Bowman said.
It was very unusual behavior for the dog named Buddy.
Bowman knew something was wrong when she brought Buddy to see Dr. Phil Mitchell, but she didn't suspect it to be so serious. Buddy was diagnosed with kidney failure.
Mitchell traced the problem back to the Waggin Train jerky treats Buddy had eaten just a few days before.
"Buddy came in about a month ago, upon investigating and asking about changing diets, the owners were forthcoming about feeding these treats, so that kind of got the ball rolling in my mind," Mitchell said.
There is no regulating authority for dog and cat food or treats. However, the FDA has already launched an investigation. Dr. Mitchell is watching that investigation closely.
"Trying to isolate what it may be in the treat, and they found out it was deet - a common chemical used in insect repellant, and an anti-viral drug used to treat avian influenza in poultry," Mitchell said.
It's not just one brand of treats causing the bulk of the problems so that makes it even harder for pet owners to identify as dangerous. Dr. Mitchell recommends staying away from all of them.
"I use vegetables, carrots, green beans, a lot of dogs love it, think they're getting something special," Mitchell said.
As for Buddy, a high ranking member of Linda Bowman's family, he's now recovering at home while his story goes public.
"I'm telling buddy's story to whoever I can so they'll know the dangers and the toxins that are in these treats," Bowman said.
Read more about the investigation into these jerky treats on the FDA website.