Pet stores are literally filled with aisles and aisles of dog treats. The variety of options available can make choosing a treat for your dog seem overwhelming.
It’s easy to take your dogâ€™s treats for granted and assume that their treats donâ€™t do much harm, especially when they only get a small amount each day. However, are commercial dog treats really safe, or are they just a trick that treat makers let us play on our canine companions?
For the most part, if you dog is healthy, he/she can process and eliminate junk ingredients in â€œtreatsâ€ over time. However, even in small amounts, junk ingredients can cause problems for our dogs. Even small amounts of toxic substances take more time and excess effort for our dogâ€™ bodies to eliminate them.
Most of the commercial dog treats available include ingredients that give the treats the consistency, aroma, and color that make them appeal to us humans, or that give them a longer shelf life. Check the list of ingredients in the treats you routinely serve to your dogs. Here is a small list of what you most likely find:
Grains – Dogs do not produce the necessary amounts of enzymes in their saliva (amylase, for example) to start the break-down of carbohydrates and starches; amylase in saliva is something omnivorous and herbivorous animals possess, but not carnivorous animals. This lack of the necessary enzymes, places the burden entirely on the pancreas, forcing it to try to produce large amounts of amylase and cellulase to deal with the starch, cellulose, and carbohydrates in grains and plant matter. (The carnivore’s pancreas was not designed to secrete cellulase to split the cellulose into glucose molecules)
To read more about why Dogs should not be fed grains, go to: http://www.thewholedog.org/id52.html
Artificial Colors â€“ Dogs have limited color vision, and any artificial colors added to dogsâ€™ treats are there only 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 dogsâ€™ immune functioning.
Artificial Flavors â€“ 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 ever done on artificial flavors in human or pet food. Given what we donâ€™t know about them, it would be best to avoid these questionable ingredients.
Meat By-Products â€“ These are a staple ingredient in most commercial dog treats. These ingredients are of poor quality, and are difficult for pets to digest. They come from offal in meat processing plants â€“ leftovers that wrere deemed unfit for human consumption. You wouldnâ€™t eat them, and neither should your dog!
Sugar and Salt â€“ There is an alarming amount of sugar and salt in our dogsâ€™ treats, usually listed under ingredient names like: corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, sodium chloride, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). As with human food, these are not only Un-healthy but can cause dogs to become addicted and lose their taste for healthier options. Worse, they can cause blood sugar & blood pressure imbalance, as wekk as weight gain.
Chemical Preservatives â€“ 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 donâ€™t know how to pronounce the ingredient, it probably isnâ€™t food!
The Whole Dog proudly carries some great, grain and potato free treats with NONE of the above ingredients! You can check them out HERE