Every dog owner knows that treats are important in keeping their dogs happy. Not only does it help reinforce good behavior while training, it’s also a way for them to know you care for them and want to make them happy. Yet, not all treats are made equal. Some are absolutely calorie-rich, while others are just plain unhealthy and toxic for your dogs!
One kind of the treats you certainly must avoid Beef Jerky treats. Brands such as Waggin’ Train Jerky Treats, Canyon Creek Ranch Jerky Treats and Milo’s Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats tend not to be very reliable as they are made from China and are currently being investigated by the FDA. That’s because numerous cases of kidney failures and gastrointestinal diseases have been recently reported by dog owners, after feeding their furry companions with these labels. The specific ingredient that is causing these diseases has yet to be singled out, but a lot of complaints from pet owners contains references to these three brands of jerky treats.
Unfortunately, as the specific cause has yet to be determined, these products are still being sold in pet stores. Their manufacturers are well-known brand names too, being Nestle Purina and Del Monte, and it may be prudent as well to avoid any other dog treats they are selling.
Pur Luv Dog Treats may also be questionable as of the moment. Although this hasn’t been looked into by the FDA yet, there have been a lot of complaints filed against this treat recently. Apparently they’re causing intestinal blockage due to its indigestible rock-hard chunks that obstruct dogs’ bowels. A lot of pet owners have also commented on how their dogs cough up these indigestible pieces. Currently, there’s a petition going on for the treats to get pulled out of the shelves. Best avoid these treats if you don’t want your dogs choking to death.
Lastly, you should also avoid dry kibble from Beneful, Eukanuba, IAMS, Alpo, Pedigree, Kibbles N’ Bits and Purina One. These brands contain harmful ingredients that should absolutely raise red flags for any dog owner. For starters, many of these brands use BHA and BHT preservatives. Even if these are intended to prevent food spoilage, these preservatives when ingested can lead to liver and kidney problems as well as cancer in dogs. Evidence for BHT has suggested that there are cases when the liver has a hard time breaking it down, causing behavioral changes. It’s best to check the labels and avoid BHT at all costs. Your furry companion may not exhibit any signs of illness on the uptake, but they may in the long run because of these preservatives.
Ethoxyquin is another kind of preservative being used in one of these labels that veterinarians have found to be associated with the development of kidney and liver damage, cancer, immune deficiency syndrome, blindness, and leukemia. This chemical is also being used as a pesticide and as a hardening agent for making rubber! Can you imagine how harmful that is as a preservative for your canine buddies? Although it is said to be safe in small amounts, keep in mind that it can accumulate over time.
Propylene Glycol is another chemical used in one of these labels that should clearly be banned. This chemical is found in anti-freeze auto care products and is currently being added to dog food supposedly to reduce moisture and prevent the growth of bacteria. Regardless of the purpose why it’s in dog food, it has already been proven to cause a serious type of blood disease in some animals, especially in cats. Although it’s supposedly safer for dogs to ingest, since it prevents the growth of bacteria, good bacteria also can’t grow as a result. This can eventually lead to dogs developing cancerous lesions within their intestines or intestinal blockage.
If you want to make sure you give your dogs healthy treats, instead of buying, why not make them yourself?
You can easily make your own chicken jerky at home by cutting up a few chicken breasts into long, really thin strips and baking them for at least 3 hours at 180 degrees. Beef cubes are relatively easy to make too! All you have to do is buy a pound of beef, cut it up into half-inch cubes, line them up on a baking sheet and bake them at 300 degrees for an hour. If you want them to get more tender, you can continue baking them for another two hours and allow them to dry or cool overnight.
As dogs are also big fans of liver, you can also try making them liver strips at home. Cut up beef livers into 1-inch slices, layer them on a baking sheet and bake them for 45 minutes to an hour at 345 degrees.
If you’re not a baking fan, you can also feed your dog with frozen fruits such as mangos, watermelon, and blackberries! The best news about these treats is that they can easily be stored in airtight containers and put in the freezer until you’re ready to serve them. Remember treats are supposed to be given in small amounts and sporadically.
If you really do have to choose ready-made treats, make sure you check the ingredients. They should be organic and meaty in nature. Dogs don’t have any use for carbohydrates and grains, so you can do away without those. You should also choose products that make use of natural preservatives such as Vitamins C and E, as these are just as effective as the artificial ones. Lastly, keep in mind that dog food should not have sweeteners at all. Dogs need a good amount of fat, but coming from animal meat and not sugar.
In the end, choosing dog food and treats should be undertaken with the same amount of care as we do with ourselves and are family members. This guide is a start on how this can properly be done. Once you are more mindful about what you put in your dog’s mouth, it’s a guarantee that your dogs might have a chance of living as long as you do!