AUSTIN, Texas -- “It's kind of like losing a kid."
That’s how KVUE Engineer John Schlueter describes his feelings after his 15-year-old dog Sadie died this month, after eating a treat he says eventually killed her.
Schlueter gave his dogs a Pur Luv bacon-flavored chew. But he says within a day of eating it, Sadie started getting sick.
"Spent all day throwing up on a Monday after we gave it to them on a Sunday.”
Sadie was rushed to the emergency clinic where an ultrasound revealed Sadie had a mass in her upper intestine blocking anything from getting passed it.
However by the time they scheduled surgery, he says it was too late.
"She was in toxic shock and wasn't going to survive the surgery, so we unhappily decided that she'd be better put down instead of dying in surgery,” said Schlueter.
When the veterinarian at Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin opened Sadie’s intestines during the necropsy, the vet tells KVUE they were surprised at what they found.
"They thought it was a piece of rubber but no, it's the center of this chew bone. It's the same color, same thing; it's exactly what it is,” said Schlueter, referring to the Pur Luv dog treat.
In 2013 a man in Chicago filed a class-action lawsuit against the makers of Pur Luv treats claiming the chews can leave indigestible “rock-hard chunks” inside a dog, injuring or killing it.
The chews are sold at most pet food retailers.
"It requires a lot of chewing to break it up, and if you have a dog that doesn't chew, then it becomes a foreign body like a pecan,” said Austin veterinarian Dr. Richard Mouser.
Mouser says he sees this problem a lot with all kind of dog treats, and suggests rolled rawhides not made in China.
"I only buy products that are made from American or Brazilian beef.”
On Wednesday, retailers Petco and PetSmart announced that by the end of the year it will no longer sell any treat made in China.
“The sourcing and supply chain issues are still very much real for a lot of these companies,” said Austin Biomedical Engineer and entrepreneur Michael Landa.
Landa created the line of dog food called Nulo, also sold at PetSmart, made of organic ingredients.
"We have the highest meat content of any dog or cat food on the market in the United States,” said Landa. "We take a lot of pride and a lot of care looking at the sourcing all the way down to the source."
He wants to make sure owners like Schlueter won’t have to worry about what will happen next time they feed or reward their pets.