Petco, one of the country’s largest pet retailers, has pulled all Chinese-made dog and cat treats from its shelves, citing concerns that the foreign-made pet foods could be linked to a series of unexplained sicknesses and deaths among dogs in the United States.

The move, announced Monday, comes despite the Food and Drug Administration’s inability to tie the illnesses specifically to Chinese-made pet foods. And there’s reason to believe it might signify the beginning of swift industrywide precautionary movement away from such imports.

Thousands of pets have fallen ill since 2007, and hundreds more have died. In all, the FDA has fielded about 5,000 complaints of pet illnesses directly tied to the consumption of chicken, duck and vegetable jerky treats made in China. But despite testing more than a thousand samples, inspecting factories in China and soliciting third-party input, the agency has yet to establish the cause.

“We are frustrated,” Martine Hartogensis, who oversees the FDA’s investigation, told The Washington Post last year. “It’s been a long, winding, twisting road. … But we haven’t given up.”

Pet retailers have proven less patient.

In May, Petco announced it would start taking steps to remove China-made dog and cat treats.

“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’s chief executive, in a statement.

Petco has not carried any dog or cat food from China for several years. It is also expanding its offering of treats made in the United States.

PetSmart, which like Petco has 1,300 stores nationally, has already pledged to remove all Chinese-made pet treats from its stores by spring.