Public warned to avoid all pig ear treats over risk to dogs and owners

In addition to the Salmonella outbreak linked to the growing trend of keeping backyard chickens is another Salmonella outbreak previously linked to dried pig ears sold as dog treats. The CDC previously issued an advisory about the matter, though it didn't have any information about the source of the potentially contaminated treats. In a new update, the agency is warning that people should avoid all pig ear treats, including ones that have already been purchased.

As of September 5, the CDC said that public health officials at the state level, as well as ones working with the FDA, have tested pig ear dog treats sourced from a variety of suppliers and have found them to be contaminated with 'many different' Salmonella strains. The agency hasn't named any particular stores or brands implicated by the tests, however.

Officials are warning that due to the high number of positive tests, the public should avoid all pig ear dog treats — that includes ones that have already been purchased. These treats shouldn't be handled by young kids or anyone with compromised immune systems; as well, anyone who touches one of these treats should avoid touching their face and any surfaces.

Thorough handwashing is advised after touching one of these treats, the CDC says, while also warning that these treats shouldn't be fed to dogs. As with humans, dogs can become ill after contact with Salmonella, though not all pets will develop symptoms. In cases where an exposed dog is symptomatic, the animal may experience diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and fatigue.

Dog owners who have already purchased a pig ear dog treat are instructed to seal the treats away in a secure container before throwing them away to prevent animals from finding them in the trash and eating them. Any surface that had contact with the treats should be washed with hot water and soap to deal with potential cross-contamination. The CDC and FDA say they will issue a new update when more information is available.