This may not come as a surprise, but the number-one-selling treat in the world is made with very poor quality ingredients. I am shocked when I receive consultation forms stating the dog or cat is being fed a high-quality raw diet with high quality supplements, but the treats given are low quality and possibly even toxic.
The ingredient list for the most popular treat includes: Ground Whole Wheat, Wheat Flour, Meat and Bone Meal, Milk, Beef Fat (preserved with BHA/BHT), Salt, Natural Flavor, Sodium Metabisulfite (used as a preservative), BHA (used as a preservative)
Ingredients highlighted in red have been related to chronic health issues in pets and may cause cancer when fed daily. Click the highlighted ingredients to read more about them.
Jerky treats from overseas have been implicated as causing kidney disease, kidney failure, and kidney stones in dogs and cats. This includes chicken, duck, and sweet potato jerky. The FDA opened an investigation into this, but never found the cause, closing the investigation after twelve years with no answers. Dogs and cats are still dying! Most of the treats involved in these incidents were made in China. The FDA said pet-food manufacturers are not required by law to reveal the country of origin for each ingredient in their products.
Symptoms that pets may develop within hours of eating jerky treats include:
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased activity
- Diarrhea(sometimes with blood or mucus)
- Increased water intake or urination
In more extreme cases, pets have experienced kidney failure, bleeding in the GI tract and kidney disorders. In some cases, the animals experienced other symptoms, including collapse, convulsions or skin issues.
My recommendation: only buy treats from trusted sources that disclose country of origin of all ingredients. Only buy treats without chemical additives. Avoid buying treats in grocery stores or other low-cost stores. Always read labels.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as dried pieces of meat, are great low-cost options.
Here is a list of favorite treats at our house:
- Momentum freeze-dried hearts (Cats go CRAZY for these!)
- Freeze dried fish skins
- Ram horns for longer lasting chews that won't break teeth
Keep your pet healthy by including healthy, safe treats along with a high-quality, species-appropriate diet.