‘Treat’ing them Right: Selecting Safe Pet Treats
What’s in My Pet’s Food?
With the recent lawsuit against Beneful, claiming their pet food “contains substances that are toxic to animals and that have resulted in the serious illness and death of thousands of dogs.”[link], it seems appropriate to start a discussion on pet food products and what we can do to reduce toxins and contaminants in our best friend’s daily diet. We hear a lot about ‘avoiding treats from China’, but how important really is country of origin? What sort of treats are safe and healthy?
Sex, Drugs, and Petfood Lawsuits!
The media coverage of Beneful’s lawsuit is reminiscent of the ‘chicken jerky’ scare, where contaminated poultry breast treats from China allegedly caused the suffering or death of many beloved companions. As a result of the poisoning, pets endured gastrointestinal, liver, kidney, urinary and neurological maladies. “As of May 1, 2014 the regulatory agency has received more than 4,800 reports of illness affecting a total of 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, and 3 people.”[link]
It seems wrong to condemn an entire country’s food export, but facts must be noted. “Of several thousand Chinese food audits, tests and inspections carried out last year by the specialist, AsiaInspection, 48.1 per cent of mainland food processing factories failed to meet acceptable standards.”[link] It’s an ugly and unfortunate reality. Keeping in mind, too, that these factories process food intended to be consumed by people. One can only imagine how the ‘feed’ grade factories function.
Despite the efforts of the FDA and independent institutions, nothing has been conclusively identified that might be causing the illnesses from the jerky treats, and they continue to be manufactured and sold today.
Protecting our Pets
Faced with this discouraging and frightening information, pet lovers are left to contemplate, “What now?” Luckily, as Canadians, we have easy access to several high-quality treat manufacturers. Here are some quick tips on selecting the best snack for your feline or canine friend:
Look for treats with only one or two ingredients. Many companies sell treats made from dehydrated lamb lung, beef trachea or herring strips. Both cats and dogs can enjoy single-ingredient meat treats!
Check the country of origin.
Remember: “Made in Canada” is different than “Product of Canada”. “Made in Canada” dictates that the product must be manufactured in Canada but might have imported ingredients. For the best quality, look for “Product of Canada”, or contact the manufacturer for clarification.
Avoid chemical preservatives, artificial colours and stabilizers.
Ingredients like “BHA or BHT”, “carageenan” and “guar gum” serve no purpose other than to increase shelf life and alter texture. Nature gave real food the perfect texture that dogs and cats love!
Avoid ‘food-like’ non-food ingredients.
These are often filler and pose no health benefit for your pet! Ingredients like “brewer’s rice”, “meat by-product” and “lard” are technically ‘food’ but that doesn’t mean your pet should be chowing down on them!
- This great page by The Dog Food Project lists common ingredients in dog and cat treats to avoid! [link]
DIY Dog and Cat Snacks!
Another option is to make your own pet treats at home! Here is a simple recipe for a treat your dog or cat are sure to love!
Homemade Healthy Carnivore Poppers
5 ounces / a little over half a cup of meat (raw ground turkey, tuna, or raw ground beef works!)
1 cup flour (ideally a grain free flour such as coconut or chickpea)
enough water to reach a sticky consistency
1.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350 degrees
2.) Combine ingredients in a food processor. Mix to a smooth and sticky consistency. Add water if needed.
3.) Shape cookies into bite size pieces and place on parchment-paper lined sheet. A three-finger pinch works best!
4.) Bake for 10 minutes or until they are dry and brown. For a drier cookie, bake longer at a lower temperature. Baking time will depend heavily on flour used. Depending on how dry you make them, these treats last for around a week in the fridge!
For the more adventurous pet, you can add ingredients like heart, liver, spirulina or oregano! For the veggie loving pet, throw in some peas and carrots after blending. For sassy cats, a pinch of catnip can make all the difference!
The Bulk Bins at Zoom Zoom Groom
To save our loyal customers time and money, your friends at Zoom Zoom Groom have hand-picked several great treats that we guarantee to be safe and delicious. These are the treats that we give to our beloved pets.
For everyone’s convenience, we have decided to sell these treats in bulk bins. That way you can mix and match an awesome assortment of snacks for your best friend at an affordable price per pound. We are also carrying individually packed all-meat chews to help with your dog’s dental health!
Please Contact Us if you have any questions or concerns.