Nine Things Pet Treat Manufacturers Won’t Tell You

Hi Humans, 

A new week is here, and with it – a new blog post. Today’s post is about everything you need to know about dog treats. This text was professionally put together by Petplan, the leading pet insurance, so trust me – they know what they are talking about.

When your dog does something right, you give him a treat. It’s a savory reward for a job well done – or is it? Turns out, pet treat manufacturers can conceal some pretty unsavory secrets about your companion’s kibbles. Don’t expect to see these truths listed on any labels:

1. Treats can be hard for your pet to digest.  While pet treats are processed, extreme temperatures used to extrude and bake them can eliminate important enzymes needed for proper digestion. This places the entire burden for digestion on your pet’s pancreas, which must supply the enzymes necessary for breaking down nutrients for absorption. But the pancreas doesn’t naturally produce enough to process food completely and efficiently, and so pets need to get additional enzymes from their food. When this doesn’t happen, digestive problems ensue – which is why too many pet treats spell trouble.

2. Treats are almost never mostly meat.  A dog’s natural diet contains few carbohydrates and mostly meat, but the majority of treats-sold today are packed with fillers like corn, wheat or soy and skimp on the real protein. Most treats add up to nothing more than a bunch of empty calories when you examine their actual protein content.

3. Treats can make your pet fat. The empty calories mentioned above are no laughing matter; feeding low-quality, high-calorie treats containing added sugars can easily lead to a pet packing on the pounds – even if he gets adequate exercise.  A seemingly innocent extra 50 calories a day from a cookie adds up to a pound or two each year. This makes for an overweight dog by the time he reaches mid-life, and leaves him vulnerable to the many health risks associated with obesity.

4. Labels Lie. Terms like all-natural, premium, gourmet and organic shout out from the shelves, making us think we’re buying products that will give our pets the best possible nutrition. But words like “premium” and “gourmet” don’t actually mean anything, and foods labeled “natural” and “organic” aren’t necessarily any healthier, either. The truth is, these terms have no standard definition or regulatory meaning in the pet food industry. Which means they’re more of a marketing ploy than a nutritional profile.

5. Just because it was made in USA doesn’t mean it was sourced from the USA. The actual phrase “made in the USA,” means very little when marketing pet food.  Nearly all dog and cat foods are “made” in the USA since importing and exporting is difficult.  But “sourced in the USA” means that the ingredients were actually grown and produced on American soil. In other words, treats claiming to be “made in the USA” can still contain ingredients from China.

6. If you’re buying it at the grocery store, it’s probably bad for your pet. The simple truth is that the pet food brands sold in grocery, convenience and dollar stores are basically junk foods for your pets – and the same goes for treats.  Highly processed, extruded kibble is nutritionally-lacking, and is what takes up the most room on store shelves. Seek out premium treats with higher quality ingredients (you’ll have to go to a specialty pet store to find them). While it may be more convenient to toss a few treats in your grocery cart, doing so can shortchange your pet’s health.

7. Treats are loaded with sugar. Sugar is incredibly attractive to dogs, and pet treat manufacturers know it. If a dog gobbles a treat quickly, an owner is more likely to give another (and another).  This adds up to more sales and more profits for manufacturers – at the expense of your pet’s health.

8. Treats could be causing your pet’s allergies. The corn, wheat and soy crammed in many commercially made treats can cause itchy skin and scratching. If your pet is constantly in discomfort, it may be time to consider cutting out the cookies.

9. Whole foods are healthiest. Your pet would get more nutritional benefit from snacking on treats like apple or banana slices, salmon, eggs, yogurt, carrots, broccoli, chick peas and other fresh, whole foods. Ditch the packaged, processed stuff and opt instead for a treat that is truly all-natural.


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