Safe Dog Treats

Juno and her carrot

Juno and her carrot

What’s your dogs’ favorite treat? We’d love to hear from our readers about this so please comment and let us know.

 With such an enormous selection of commercially available dog treats, how does a good dog owner make a delicious, healthy choice for their pup? Here’s the thing and I can’t stress this enough. You’ve got to read the labels. Sorry, if you were looking for a simple recommendation, that’s just not happening here today. Yes, I will name a few of the manufacturers that I trust, but in the end my goal is for you to be able to make the right choices based on what you learn about the bag of treats in front of you at the store.

First thing you do need to know, and this is the simplest rule you’ll ever follow; don’t buy anything for your dog to eat, sleep on or play with that was made in China. Ever. There, that’s pretty easy right? Well guess what? It’s a lot harder than you think, because so much of what you’ll find in the supermarket, the pet store chain and yes, even in the chic pet boutique around the block, is made in China. If you haven’t been in the loop, the problem with pet stuff (and human stuff) that is made or assembled in China is that it’s not regulated and safety standards are at best, minimal.  Many beloved family pets have suffered and died from toxic food and badly made products; according to the FDA in an October 2013 report, over 3600 dogs and 10 cats have become ill from jerky pet treats made in China with almost 600 proven deaths. However those numbers require veterinarians having reported cause of death or illness and in many cases, I’m sure they couldn’t have known.

The problems have been reported since 2007, but the identification of 6 unapproved antibiotics in some treats was ultimately the only reason several well-known brands were taken off the market.  The real problems seem to have been melamine contamination, salmonella and even arsenic in some cases. Most of the contaminated treats were chicken, duck or turkey, along with some sweet potato and some dried fruits. Most were also jerky type treats. The point here is most of these treats were made in China, the ones made in the USA are usually a salmonella issue and get recalled quickly. How can you find out more about these? Just check out the FDA website here. http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm371450.htm

She doesn't want her picture taken, she wants to eat

She doesn’t want her picture taken, she wants to eat

               Also the Humane Society has excellent links on their website http://www.humanesociety.org.

The other, more salient point that I can make here is that your diligence as a pet owner is of key importance; read labels, check out the websites regularly because it’s unlikely that you’ll see recalls on mainstream media and remember, cheap brands, fancy name brands even brads sold at vet clinics can all be affected. Also keep in mind that the big picture has much more effect on you and your pet’s life; factory farming, pesticides, herbicides, irresponsible antibiotic use, all of these factors are changing your life everyday, and not for the better.

Carrot3

Diesel just loves to eat. Period.

Next time we’ll talk about dog food, not just treats.