As a dog lover, I am always concerned about what my dog is getting into, especially when we’re over at another person’s house and Atlas starts getting into something that she shouldn’t be getting into. I was reading an article a few months back that featured some raw hide treats that came from overseas and how there were some dangerous ingredients in these treats. It was advised to stay away from them shortly after learning about the medical emergencies that started popping up all over the world once these treats were getting into dogs’ mouths.
So how do we, as dog lovers, know the difference between bad treats versus good treats for dogs? Well, for me personally, I always look at the ingredients, how the treats were made and where they came from.
What Are Bad Treats?
Bad treats, simply put, are anything that’s chemically made or processed for dogs and contain ingredients that they can’t process. Meaning, if you knew that that granola bar that you purchased had a bleach bath, was processed through yet more bleach and was stuck together with formaldehyde, would you eat it? Especially if the granola bar was white?
It’s like white flour, white sugar, basically, anything white. It’s all been bleached. But most people don’t know this, even in today’s era. It’s the same for dogs. Some of their treats, especially the ones that come from outside the United States, can contain items that will hurt your dogs health when ingested. Dog’s digestive system can be similar to humans in that they can’t process foods that are similar to plastic. While they can eat bad meat, raw meat and a whole slew of weird things we can’t, they still can’t digest plastics and other foreign objects that their body can’t handle.
What Are Good Treats?
Good treats are those that are made with natural ingredients and not processed so much that those “natural” ingredients are gone by the time it’s ready to be shipped. Bones and other parts of animals are natural for dogs to chew on – like beef bones, bully sticks, kneecaps, antlers, etc.
Natural products for dogs contain, yes, “natural” ingredients. Other treats that are also good for dogs are ones that contain ingredients that they can have like peanut butter or cheese. There are new treats that come out every day that contain peanut butter and cheese that have been through a hardening process so that it’s not like giving your dog peanut butter out of the jar and is gone very quickly; much as I love watching my dog lick insistently for a short time after getting a big scoop of natural peanut butter!
What About Raw Hide?
Many of you that have dogs know that in any treat section in any pet store, raw hides are everywhere. There are a ton of types to choose from, but did you know that they’re not good for your dog? You might be asking, why? They sell them at pet stores and all over the internet, how are they bad? Raw hides actually can block your dog’s intestines and cause them to be impacted. Impacted means they can’t poop.
A dog getting impacted can have some serious consequences and come with some serious medical costs. It would be like a person that is no longer able to poop because something is lodged in our intestines and backing us up. No good. Just like with every living being on planet, we all have to expunge the things our body doesn’t need, and dogs are the same.
When a dog chews on a raw hide, it starts to become a weird gooey-like product that they tear at and eat chunks of. While your dog might seem like they love whatever they’re chewing on, and they do, it still won’t digest and that large chunk of gooey-mass can get stuck inside them and cause some serious pain and injury. Even if a raw hide claims it’s been through a natural process, it can still cause blockages that can lead to a very expensive surgery down the road. You want to avoid that at all costs.
What Are Safe Alternatives?
Now that you’ve read about raw hides, what can you give your dogs that are safe? Well, lots of things! Dogs want to chew, that’s it, they simply want to chew and they don’t really care if it’s your shoes, furniture or that new toy you bought them that is rubber. All dogs naturally want to chew on something, so I look for things like bully sticks, or Kong toys (those have stood the test of time) or something that peaks their interest other than my bathroom vinyl floor. Yes – Atlas chewed that up one day when apparently I didn’t have enough toys for her to chew.
You might be asking, “What is a bully stick?” Well, it’s basically muscle tissue for most of them. Just like we like beef jerky, bully sticks are usually made with muscle tissue and go through a hardening, drying out process that enables dogs to safely chew them up and digest them. They come in a variety of styles and flavors, but I usually stick with the braided stick and my dog, Atlas, loves them.
Now You Know The Bad Vs The Good.
Hopefully after reading this article, you now know more about what is bad versus good. Just because a treat is sold at a pet store, doesn’t always make it good for your pet. Stores are like any other store, they are there to make profits and they will sell anything that has been made for pets, regardless of whether it’s good or bad. It’s like the grocery store for us, all the bad stuff is put up front on purpose – bad stuff makes the most money!
The same goes for most pet stores. In the end, when in doubt, do some research on how a product is made for dogs. I see new treats all the time at the store and I simply pull out my phone and look to see the process on the treat if it doesn’t show it on the package. I also try to steer clear of items that come from Asian countries for my dog, especially because out of everything I’ve searched for on how it’s made, it’s always come back with a terrible video! So for me personally, anything from any Asian country is a no go for my dogs, but that’s my opinion only.
If you’re looking for more information on good food versus bad food, I also did a review on some of the hidden ingredients you may not be aware is in your dogs food. These chemicals can cause a slew of health problems from anxiety to chromosomal damage. If you’re wanting to learn more this, click this link!
What treats do you love to give your dogs?