12 rules for safer treats for your dog
Today my plan is to focus on dog treats and how to choose the right treats and keep your dog safe in a market flooded with products that threaten the health of your beloved dog.
Health and longevity are not cut-and-dried things, but rather a conscious process of eliminating factors that cause disease, and every little bit of knowledge can make a big difference when it comes to the safety and longevity of your dog.
Global food purchasing has made the subject of food safety and toxicity very difficult to deal with. For example, sardines canned in North America may come from a Japanese distributor that offers sardines produced in waters contaminated with radioactive strontium and cesium from Fukushima.
To help you navigate the complicated maze of dog treatsI have put together these 12 rules for safe dog treats:
1. Avoid fish-based treatswith the exception of locally sourced/made salmon treats.
Fish Treats come with three separate releases. If they are made from farmed fish, they may contain chemicals and antibiotics used in fish farms. Unfortunately, it is not mandatory to state on the label whether the fish comes from a farm or not.
The second problem is the accumulation of toxins and heavy metals in fish. I have repeatedly seen elevated mercury levels in dogs on a fish-based diet. Read more here.
The problem people are least aware of is concern about radioactive isotopes released in the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Isotopes such as Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 have a half-life of 30 years.
Strontium is very similar to calcium in that it deposits in the bones of the infected fish and then settles in the bones of our dogs when they eat the fish. This results in the elevated levels of Strontium-90 that I have seen in dogs that eat fish meal-based food (with bone) or small fish such as smelt or sardines, usually eaten with bones.
2. Reduce feeding of liver treats because they generally contain a higher concentration of toxins and too many liver treats can lead to vitamin A toxicity.
3. Be careful Milk-based treats as Many dogs are lactose intolerant. In sensitive dogs, milk can damage the digestive tract and cause a general depletion of the immune system.
4. Avoid grain and rice based treats because they are difficult to digest for dogs who, due to the nature of their digestive tract, may be gluten intolerant. The grain in dog food and treats is one of the causes pancreatitis And It is known to contain a lot of arsenic because it is commonly grown in polluted waters of developing countries.
5. Cured meats such as ham, sausages and jerky contain nitrates and other preservatives, which can endanger your dog’s health.
6. Avoid jerky treats that are not made from local, quality-controlled sources.
Commercial meat treats for pets are often sold for a relatively low price, which may indicate that the origin is not local.
You may remember the melamine feeding scandal from a few years ago, when thousands of pets died from kidney disease. Jerky treats are also often infused with glycerin to increase their weight and are packed with preservatives.
Before you buy commercially made meat jerky, I recommend that you do a simple calculation:
Dehydrated jerky is about 10x less in weight. Multiply the amount in the bag by 10 and this is approximately the amount of meat needed to make a bag of jerky. If the price per pound of meat seems too good to be true, it usually is and you should stay away from the product.
Homemade jerky is the next best thing make them at home will eliminate the chance of chemical contamination.
7. Avoid treats made in China and developing countries, because quality control of pet food is often poor or non-existent.
Memory after memory over the past decade is a good reason to go local. I’m sure you value your dog more than the few dollars you save by buying cheaper treats. Here’s a link to one article on this subject.
If you can’t make homemade treats, the next best option is to purchase commercially made treats treats from a reliable source.
8. Avoid carrots as they are one of the least digestible vegetables for dogs.
For more information about which foods are and are not healthy for your dog, visit the Recipe maker for healthy dog food and click on each individual ingredient to see if it’s OK.
9. Make homemade treats as many pieces of meat as possible. They can be dried, baked or boiled and frozen.
Personally, I like to dehydrate a combination of raw meat and cooked squash or yams on a 50/50 ratio.
The temperature for drying ground meat should be 70 degrees Celsius or 158 degrees Celsius. Spread the mixture on parchment paper or silicone sheets, place it on the dehydrator screen, and dehydrate until crispy – usually anywhere from 7 to 12 hours, depending on the efficiency of the dehydrator. Watch this video to learn more about the process.
10. Prevent “bully” sticks, rawhide and other bulk products that sit in store bins because they have probably been preserved with chemicals. There’s a reason why these products sit in containers for weeks and months without rotting! Keep in mind that manufacturers are not required to list preservatives on labels, and often don’t.
11. Feed treats sparingly, because your dog’s digestive tract needs rest; fasting periods are necessary in the canine species. Your dog will love you no matter what! 😉🐶❤️
12. Shop local and buy organic, unprocessed treats if you don’t have time to make them at home.
Personally, I don’t allow other people to give my dog treats because it makes him beg, but sometimes you want to allow others to treat your dog. The best way to avoid a mess is to bring your own bag of treats and give it to the treat giver to treat your dog. I often say that my dog is sensitive to certain foods and therefore can’t have random treats.
Is there a way to test your dog’s treats and food for safety?
If you’re wondering about your dog’s minerals and heavy metals, HairQ test gives you a good idea of your dog’s level. This is especially important if you suspect something is wrong with your dog’s food, treats or supplements.
If the test results are positive for heavy metals, you will need to determine whether it is due to your dog’s treats or not. The only way to determine this is to submit a treat sample for food analysis to your local laboratory, which you can search for online.
Since the introduction of the HairQ test for minerals and heavy metals, I detected and eliminated foods and treats with elevated levels of toxins. Sometimes these toxins can lead to serious health problems, such as: seizures in dogs with elevated mercury levels.
Below you can see an example of results for a dog on a fish-based diet, with no added vitamin or mineral supplements.
How to get rid of toxins that enter your dog’s body through food and treats
If you have been feeding fish-based products or other treats that may be contaminated with chemicals and preservatives, check this link for a detox protocol.
Summary of recommended literature and articles:
Be careful not to give your dog too much of this popular treat
Find out why this popular treat is harmless in small doses, but dangerous when given frequently or in large quantities. Read more about vitamin A hypervitaminosis, the so-called liver poisoning in dogs.
Spoiled Pet Treats from China: How to Keep Your Dog Safe
In September 2007, the AVMA issued an alert stating that they had received calls from veterinarians reporting Fanconi syndrome-like disease in dogs; the vets reported that the problem appeared to be related to the consumption of chicken jerky treats made in China.
Dogs fed fish and fish oil show elevated mercury levels
Should you feed dogs fish or fish oil? Find out what our HairQ test results found and read my 7 practical steps for a proven liver cleanse.
Why I no longer recommend sardines for your dog
What is strontium and can it be poisonous to your dog? Learn about the 7 steps you can take to protect your dog from radioactive strontium.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM