ALL ABOUT DOGS and CATS Resource Center for Canine & Feline Lovers
Trick... or Treat?
Are your dog's treats really safe?
Parents of human children are usually pretty savvy about the nature of the candy and
treats their kids bring home after trick-or-treating. We check the bags, and throw out
anything that looks dangerous. Many parents are strict about what is okay for their kids
But what about our dogs?
Ingredients to Avoid in Those Tricky Treats
For the most part, the human body can process and eliminate the junk ingredients in
“treats” like our kids gather at Halloween. But even in small amounts, junky ingredients
can cause problems for our dogs. Dogs are smaller than we are, with smaller organs of
elimination (e.g., liver, kidneys). And smaller amounts of toxic substances can take more
time and effort for our pets’ bodies to eliminate.
Many of the commercial dog treats available include ingredients that give the treats the
consistency, aroma, and color that make them appeal to people, or that give them a
longer shelf life. Check the list of ingredients in treats you routinely serve to your dogs,
and avoid any treats with the following ingredients:
Artificial Colors – Dogs have limited color vision, and any artificial colors added to dogs’
treats are there to make the product look more appealing to us humans. Artificial colors
in dog food and treats are often derived from coal tar. While research has been limited
to date, some studies have found food dyes to be potentially carcinogenic and to
interfere with dogs’ immune functioning.
Artificial Flavors – Many of these treat additives are there to mimic qualities of natural
foods. Often these flavors are added to create an aroma that mimics a natural smell in
order to enhance the appeal of a treat made out of goodness-knows-what. Minimal if any
testing is done on artificial flavors in human or pet food. Given what we don’t know about
them, we think it’s best to avoid these questionable ingredients.
Meat By-Products – These are a staple ingredient in many commercial dog treats. These
ingredients are of poor quality, and are difficult for pets to digest. They come from offal
in meat processing plants – leftovers that are unfit for human consumption. You wouldn’
t eat them, and neither should your dog! Read the article: What You Need to Know
about Your Pet’s Food.
Sugar and Salt – There is an alarming amount of sugar and salt in our dogs’ treats,
usually listed under ingredient names like: corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, sodium
chloride, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). As with human food, they can cause dogs to
become addicted and lose their taste for healthier options. Worse, they can cause
blood sugar & blood pressure imbalance, or cause weight gain.
Chemical Preservatives – Propylene glycol, BHT, BHA, nitrites, nitrates, ethoxyquin,
propyl gallate, and other chemical preservatives used in pet treats are associated with
health problems in dogs, including liver damage, skin problems, and allergies. A good
rule of thumb is that if you don’t know how to pronounce the ingredient, it probably isn’t
Read the article: What's Really In Pet Food
The best way to avoid the risk of tricky treats for your companion is to become a label
reader and choose natural treats like those we offer at Natural Nutrition
It's easy to take your dog’s treats for granted and assume that their treats don’t do
much harm, especially when they only get a small amount each day.
Are commercial dog treats really safe, or are they just a trick that pet treat makers let
us play on our precious companions? Check out our list of ingredients to avoid in dog
treats, and our tips on choosing healthy treats for your dog.
Besides feeding a healthy food, upgrading your dog’s treats is one of the best things
you can do to protect your dog’s health.