Safe Chewing Treats

Thousands of dogs in Canada become sick, have dental issues or die due to unsafe, or contaminated dog chews.

All dogs, not just puppies, love to chew.  We don’t want our dogs chewing on our furniture. We always have our dog’s health and best interest in mind.  The problem is there are so many chew treats available for dogs. We need to determine which ones are safe and which ones are not.  Most of us read labels for human consumption and now it’s necessary to read labels and research ingredients in every item that family dog puts in their mouth.  Sadly even Veterinarians, not just pet shops, sell items that are unsafe for your dog to eat.

Years ago several breeders and Veterinarians recommended elk & deer antlers for a chew treat for dogs.  I purchased them and thought they were great, as my dogs happily chewed on what I thought was a safe treat. I noticed, however, that some of my dogs were showing evidence of hair line cracks in their teeth and also displayed an increase in chipped teeth.  After an inquiry with my Vet I stopped giving my dogs antlers as he told me that they were the cause of the dental damage.  Through conversations with others I found out that I was not the only one with a dog that had dental issues caused by the chewing on antlers.  Chewing antlers causes damage to your dogs teeth because they try to aggressively chew the bone marrow inside of the antler and the outer part of the antler is too abrasive.  The dogs eventually chip and wear their teeth.

Pet shops and many Veterinarian offices sell rawhide treats, another treat that is dangerous to dogs.  Being very affordable, many people purchase rawhide treats for their dogs.  Rawhide is made from animal hide and is not digestible.  When dogs swallow small pieces of the rawhide, the swelling of the rawhide blocks their intestines.  This blockage will require surgery to remove, and if not operated on quickly, will cause the death of your dog.  Many dogs attempt to swallow large mushy pieces of rawhide and these become a chocking hazard.  These hazards also require immediate attention or can cause the death of your dog.

Preparing rawhide requires chemical processing before it is available for sale. It is washed with degreasers and detergents then sterilized in hydrogen peroxide.   Rawhide treats have chemicals on them to enhance the taste.  A good number of dogs are allergic to these chemicals.  Many state that they don’t feed their dogs rawhide. They proudly acclaim that feed their dogs pigs ears.  Pigs ears are also “Rawhide”.

Pet shops also sell beef bones that have been coated with chemicals to make them more tasty to chew, this too can make your dog sick.  The cooked beef bones can and will splinter endangering the throat, stomach or intestines.  Even raw bones can be dangerous as they too can splinter when they dry out.

Greenies and Nylabone (Nylabones are made with rawhide) dog treats are also prone to splinter and create blockages in dogs intestines.

Many people give their dogs Milk Bones to chew on either to clean their teeth or to reward them for a job well done.  Milk bones are made from poultry-by-products (beaks, feet, skin, feathers, basically anything we won’t eat) and flour (a filler that cases many food allergies in dogs).  It also contains bacon fat (preserved with BHT, proyl-gallate, and citric acid), brewers dried yeast, whey, artificial colour, beef fat (preserved with tocopherols and Sodium Metabisulfite (dough conditioner).  Does this sound like a chew treat your dog should be eating?  You be the judge.

A healthier choice is:

Bully Sticks or Bullwinkles are make from Bull penises that are dried out.  They are digestible, tasty, long lasting, high protein and dogs love them.  They may have a stronger smell then other treats, but they are a much healthy for dogs.  They can help clean your dogs teeth as well.

Dried beef tendons are also a good choice and are comparable to the Bully Sticks or Bullwinkles.  Beef tendons also don’t smell as strong as the Bully Sticks or Bullwinkles.

It is important to read the back of every package of dog treats or ask where the treat was made.  Remember never purchase any dog food from China (too many recalls) as their regulations governing safe food products are minimal.  Try to find treats made locally.  Becoming informed about your dog’s chew treats is important for your dog’s long life.  Supervising your dog with any type of chew treat is a smart practice.