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PetSmart and Petco will stop selling all dog and cat treats made in China.

PetSmart said it will pull from shelves all of its China-made treats by March 2015, and Petco by the end of this year.

The two national pet retailers' decisions came after years of nationwide complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that a jerky treat from China was possibly making pets sick.

At Petco, the decision affects all of its 1,300 stores and sales on Petco.com. PetSmart also has about 1,300 stores nationwide.

"We know some pet parents are wary of dog and cat treats made in China, especially chicken jerky products, and we've heard their concerns," said Jim Myers, Petco CEO, in a statement.

PetSmart said it has been working toward this goal "for some time, and feel it's the right thing to do for pets and our customers," said Erin Gray, spokeswoman for PetSmart, in an e-mail to USA TODAY Network.

Five years ago, 90% of the pet industry's jerky treats were made in China, said Lisa Stark, spokeswoman for Petco, in a phone interview with USA TODAY Network.

Currently, about 50% of the jerky treats sold by Petco is from China, and by the end of the year no China-made jerky treats will be sold by the retailer, Stark said.

The FDA is investigating whether there is a direct link between the pet illnesses and the China-made treats but has not yet made that determination.

Since 2007, the FDA has received about 4,800 reports of pet illnesses possibly related to the consumption of jerky treats, many made in China. Among the reports were 1,000 dog deaths, according to the FDA.

Most of the complaints involved chicken jerky, but others included duck, sweet potato and chicken or duck jerky wrapped around dried fruits, according to the FDA.

FDA advises pet owners to watch their pets closely for any change in appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption or increased urination. In severe cases, pets could experience kidney failure or gastrointestinal bleeding.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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