It’s fine to slip your dog some human food every once in awhile as long as you avoid the toxic ones. However, is it really good for you to be giving your pup treats every time you feel it deserves a reward?
There have been cases of owners seeing immediate negative effects such as death, seizures, organ damage – all caused by bad dog treats and other gradual ailments like cancer, kidney disease and diabetes.
Are you afraid yet? Thankfully, spending some time to take a closer look at the ingredients within different dog treats can make a world of difference to your pet’s health when consuming different treats.
In this post we aim to debunk some of the top-selling treats on the market and how they can cause adverse effects to your dog’s health. It pays to be discerning as your dog can’t make the decision from themselves to pick their foods.
1.Raw Hide Bones/Chew
Rawhide is a popular ingredient in chew for dogs. But what is it made of really?
Raw hide is obtained via the inner soft layer of an animal (usually livestock) which most commonly comes from cows.
The raw hide is then put through rounds of chemical treatment to clean and treat it before it gets pressed into various shapes. These treatments may also include imbuing the hide with artificial flavours to increase its appeal to dogs.
As with most pet toys, rawhide chews may contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals.In fact, Salmonella or E. coli contamination is still possible and even humans put themselves at risk when in contact with these raw hide treats.
Raw hides have the potential to cause choking and digestive obstruction which sometimes require surgery to be removed due to the thick and stiff pieces. Some dogs are sensitive to certain substances within raw hide and can face digestive problems like diarrhea.
Alternatives: Since raw hides are given to dogs typically to satisfy the instinctive nature to chew, natural recreational bones, such as antler can be a much safer alternative.
2.Chicken Jerky Dog Strips
The FDA has logged an estimated 2,200 reports of various pet illnesses related to jerky pet treats of various brands. In 2007, there was a melamine scandal that caused a recall of numerous types of jerky-related dog products as jerky products were sickening and killing dogs.
The adverse effects of jerky treats are most commonly and not limited to: gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. These also typically follow with some evidence of damage to their liver or kidney damage.
Dogs usually see an increase in urine production and thirst that eventually leads to dramatic weigh loss and poor body condition.
According to a recently released FDA fact sheet, they’ve tested jerky treats for: “Salmonella, metals, pesticides, and antibiotics, and were screened for other chemicals and poisonous compounds.” Despite these efforts, they are still unable to determine the cause of the contaminated jerky treats.
These treats contain wheat flour, preservatives, colouring, artificial flavouring, loads of salt, and sugar. You wouldn’t feed these to yourself, so why would you give them to your pet? They are excessively unhealthy and it’s still unclear what causes dogs to become sick after eating too much of these.
Alternatives: You’re much better off giving your dogs DIY dehydrated meat or even baby carrot sticks which are a lot healthier and just as well-loved by your precious pooches.
3.Dentastix (Or Canine Dental Sticks)
The most popular brand for Dentastix is the one by Pedigree. There has not yet been a wide-study of the effects of some of the questionable ingredients within that can range from rice flour, starch, to questionable gum arabic, and flavouring, yet there are numerous anecdotes of owners feeding it to their dogs online finding that shortly after their dogs either begin to vomit profusely or find that their anal glands are ruptured.
Having that said, there are also numerous owners that seem to have these treats work well for their dog’s dental hygiene.
For reference, here are some of the ingredients in Dentastix:
Rice flour (Minus 1 point): Cheap filler, causes bowel distress and can lead to diabetes in dogs.
Wheat starch (Minus 1 point): Poor carbohydrate source causes allergies.
Glycerin (Minus 1 point): Sweetens food, used as humectant (keeps food moist), interferes with nutrient assimilation.
Calcium carbonate (Plus 1 point): Standard source of calcium, promotes strong bones, teeth, cardiovascular health and skeletal strength, used as a buffer to acidic foods.
Gelatin (Minus 1 point): Filler / binder in can food.
Gum arabic (Minus 1 point): Cheap filler/binder used in can foods.
Cellulose Powder (Minus 1 point): Suspected to include recycled cardboard.
Natural poultry flavor (Minus 1 point): Poor quality of flavor additive.
Sodium tripolyphosphate (Minus 1 point): Used as rancid meat preservative.
Salt (Minus 1 point): Used to cover up rancid meat and fat, can cause kidney and heart disease, hypertension — used to encourage cats to drink, source of sodium chloride.
We believe that since there are polarized opinions on the treat, you can still try feeding them to your dog very, very moderately – half-a-stick in a week at most. It is afterall a ‘treat’ and thus we can expect it to contain some sweeteners and other flavouring ingredients. Just be sure to monitor your dog as they chew on these to ensure nothing goes wrong.
While some iterations of Milk Bones brand of treats contain high amounts of sugar, the original treat does not.
However, its original treats do contain BHA, a preservative known to be carcinogenic and consistently produces tumors in lab animals. While the FDA asserts that BHA is safe in low doses, dogs are being fed this harmful ingredient very often via other products.
Milk Bones also contain wheat—an allergen which dogs have even more difficulty digesting than humans. Some also contain beef and milk.
Numerous dogs appear to be sensitive to these ingredients and may have an immediate and obvious reaction to Milk Bone treats such as vomiting, diarrhea and itching.
While allegic reactions to milk bones are not usually dangerous, in some dogs it can cause a condition called anaphylaxis in which the airway swells and the dog cannot breathe.
It’s a fuss-free treat for your dog when you want to deliver a quick reward, but be careful not to give it too much as the more BHA your dog consumes along with the allergens, you can expect an adverse effect.
5.Beggin’ Bacon-Flavoured Strips
These are preserved with the carcinogenic BHA, which are never good for your dogs. According to the Purina website, “Beggin’ brings out the uncontainable excitement in dogs.”
This treat is wrong on so many levels. For one, bacon is unhealthy even for humans.
Next, Beggin’s ingredient list is already tell-tale of how ‘unnatural’ the flavours are. It’s rich with copious amounts of sugar and artificial food colorings that would make a junkie blush. Sugar tends to cause hyperactivity and addiction in dogs and should always be fed sparsely to your pets. The natural ‘bacon flavour’ is nothing more than a chemical concoction of filler additives meant to offer the ‘taste’ of bacon.
On the packaging, it indicates that the treat also contains “bacon(preserved with sodium nitrate)”. Unbeknownst to some, sodium nitrate is an ingredient that is carcinogenic and very bad for your dog. The treat also contains salt and bacon fat preserved with BHA, a cancer-causing agent.
As a rule of thumb, you should aim to avoid buying bacon or anything remotely bacon-flavoured for your dog if you want it to remain non-diabetic and healthy.
Alternatives: Consider getting your dog some freeze-dried treats instead that are human-grade consumables that aren’t filled with numerous harmful preservatives and chemicals.
As you can see, even the simple act of rewarding your pets with a treat can cause negative effects to its health. Avoid taking the easy way out and remember to always provide treats in moderation.
We always suggest to instead consider taking your pets out on regular walks, having them looked after properly by pet sitters that actually know what they’re doing and feeding them lots of healthy, whole foods as well.
Afterall, spending quality time together is something that your pets love the most!