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Are We Killing Our Pets With Treats?

LS: The FDA made a recent statement that treats aren’t a necessary part of a fully balanced canine diet. Honestly, I was appalled by the ignorance of this statement. In addition to the nutritional value,  my dogs are paid and rewarded well with treats. Nobody wants to work for free, including dogs.

AB: Our pets are an extension of the family, so news like we’ve been hearing is very worrisome for any pet guardian. But to make a statement like this, which could damage many ethical American pet treat manufacturers, is bizarre and unfair. No one is claiming ANY problems with American made treats. It would be absurd to allow these fears to stop you from offering your pet ANY treats or between meal snacks. Think of your own energy level throughout the day; would you want to eat nothing all day until your single nightly meal? It’s the same with your animal companions, who can lose vitality and playfulness if these ‘pick me ups’ are simply cut out of the diet. Emotional bonding is also reinforced when providing healthy snacks to your pet, and training often involves food rewards. Give your pet treats and snacks in moderation as you always have. But stick with USA Made, grain free, low carb, natural snacks that are dominated by meat protein but offer a holistic balance with other whole food nutrients such as flax and veggies.

LS: I frequently give my dogs fruit and vegetable treats. They love shredded carrots and cut up apple pieces. When purchasing healthy treats, what should we look for?

AB: A healthy pet treat that is 100% USA made and sourced, and features all-natural and wholesome ingredients like USDA inspected chicken and beef along with natural cheddar cheese, organic flaxseed, and air dried vegetables. My family-owned company, ClearConsciencePet.com, provides that in our dog treats. I am proud to say that we have won six national awards for nutritional excellence. People tell us that our Sliders® are like doggy crack. Dogs will do anything for them. (By the way, we have a special offer for Care2 members. Click to view our special offer for Care2 members and you’ll get 20% off of any order. Enjoy!)

LS: Thanks Anthony. I can’t wait to have Sanchez and Gina try them too! I’m thrilled that all of your treats are gluten free, as my dogs are gluten intolerant, and I don’t always have time to make all of their treats myself.

Do you give your dogs treats/ snacks? Do you look at the package to check the ingredients and where they are made? Thanks for sharing your stories in a comment below.

Sign this petition asking to ban all poisonous chicken jerky treats imported from China.

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.

232 comments

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4:06AM PDT on Jul 1, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

3:26PM PDT on May 27, 2014

In a sense, we're partly at fault for becoming consumers over the last 20 years or so who are only interested in having the "most" at the lowest possible cost. Before that, quality (over quantity) was much more emphasized. What my grandmother said is true, you get what you pay for. We can't be giving American workers $10/ hour minimum wages and then expect to pay $0.50 for a bag of dog treats.

11:44PM PST on Feb 26, 2014

Why and how do these companies get away with this?????? It really pisses me off!!!!!! They should get a fine or have some other kind of punishment for hurting/killing family pets.

6:25AM PST on Feb 25, 2014

Another ingredient... sodium selenium... is a by product of copper mining and is 10 times more deadly than cyanide. The correct selenium should be selenomethionine. I don't buy anything with sodium selenium in it for my cat... or when I have dogs, for them either.

I wish i could get my picky cat to eat home made food. I'd be feeding him organic food. But he is addicted to all that grain, so I'm weaning him off it and on to grain free food. The grain has made him fat. Just like it makes us fat. This isn't the world I grew up in. Thanks for your article... more stuff to avoid. But good to know.

11:57AM PST on Dec 12, 2013

I think that is what may have killed my last dog at the age of 3. I only use stuff now made in the USA

11:57AM PST on Nov 26, 2013

There are many great dogs treats made in places like Canada, the UK and the US. When I leave for work I always give my dog a small treat. One of his favourite treats is Tofurkey and he is sure to be watching if I have it out to make a sandwich.Because it isn't hard to chew it was an excellent treat for him after he had some teeth removed last month.

11:56AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

We check where the treats come from, but the treats we give our dog usually have a second purpose like being good for teeth or digestion and he loves them beyond reason, just because they're special.

7:11AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

Why are all the treats and food being made overseas by people who don't even have enough to eat themselves? Why would they even care what happens to our pets.

LET'S NOT BUY FOOD OR SNACKS MADE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY.

8:00AM PST on Nov 16, 2013

Time to boycott all food from China!

1:16PM PST on Nov 12, 2013

I tell pet stores I visit to NOT stock ANYTHING from China! Bowls, leashes, beds, toys, etc! I REFUSE to buy one thing from that cruel place!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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