I have been getting very worried recently because of various posts on Facebook regarding treats. Believe it or not all of these posts have all been from Raw feeders and they had no idea that what they were doing was so wrong and potentially dangerous to their dogs health!
So we know the huge benefits that raw feeding has for our dogs and it makes complete sense that we keep feeding healthy species appropriate food when it comes to treats too. But distinguishing the right ones from the wrong ones can be harder than you think.
First of all lets look at what we shouldn’t feed:
- Dehydrated/Cooked/Freeze Dried/Air Dried/Puffed…… Feet or Necks!
NO COOKED BONES, EVER!!! This is rule number 1
When you go to the store looking for appropriate treats you automatically go for the packet that says 100% Natural and when you look at the packet is says 100% Chicken. So it must be healthy for your Dog?
Dehydrating and all the other named above are all forms of cooking where the moisture has been removed from the food and the bones altering their natural structure making them brittle and indigestible. Potentially causing internal blockages, splintering and tearing insides and even death. So avoid anything like Necks, Feet, Legs, Heads… most commonly Chicken, Turkey, Duck…
- Grains (standard dog biscuits)
OK so this is not exactly life threatening like the above but still important to avoid. We raw feed to get away from these processed and unhealthy and certainly not species appropriate ingredients. Wheat, Maize, Corn etc. so why give them in treat form??
Not only are these grains usually responsible for dietary intolerance but can effect your dogs in many other ways too. Including itchy skin, bacteria build up on teeth and gums and even increasing the chance of ear infections by 90%. The reason they can be held responsible for ear and yeast infections is due to them being full of Starch.
These types of treats are also packed full of other various Sugars, artificial colors, additives and unspecified antioxidants – a group of chemicals that includes many of the most controversial ingredients around due to their consistent links with all sorts of health and behavioral problems in dogs.
Bonios are one of the UK’s leading dog treats. There ingredients listed on there packet are Wheat (30%) and… well thats the thing, they don’t list what the other 70% are! How very worrying!!!
- Raw Hide
But its called RAW hide? It most certainly is RAW!
Raw hide is basically the hide of an animal (usually a cow). There have been so many deaths due to dogs eating raw hide. Especially over this Christmas (2014) I seen several posts from people warning about their dogs in hospital after eating them. I even know of a dog who’s owner I was in contact with over Facebook that lost her dog and the vet revealed it was because they fed one of these bones to her dog. I must add that she fed a raw hide bone to her dog once a week for well over a year with no ill repercussions but obviously got a bad one which ended up costing her dogs life.
The process of creating the raw hide bone you see above is SHOCKING to say the least.
The making of rawhide involves chemically separating the outer layer of skin (usually of a cow) from the hide.
They are then transported onto where ever they are going to be turned into dog treat while been soaked in more chemical to preserve it.
During processing, it is first soaked in an ash-lye solution to remove the hair & fat. Then it can be “cleaned” with bleach and/or hydrogen peroxide. In some countries arsenic, or even formaldehyde is used in this process (banned in the U.S. and UK but most of the dog treats in our pet shops and supermarkets are not actually made in UK or U.S.)
- Corn on the Cob
But you would think this natural vegetable will be fine to feed? Corn on the cob has been responsible for thousands of dogs deaths!!
Corn is high in starch and sugar which increase the risk of yeast infections. But the most dangerous thing about Corn is that it is 100% indigestible!!
Eating the corn just comes out as it goes in. But the cob goes in, gets stuck and you will need to rush to the vets for immediate surgery to remove.
It doesn’t even have to be whole! A dogs only reason for chewing anything is to make it small enough to go down their throats. They have no digestive enzymes produced in the mouth like we do. So a chunk of cob which is small enough to fit down their throats in still far too big to get through their digestive system after it cant be broken down by the stomach. If you don’t get the surgery in time… RIP Rover.
- Avoid anything made in China
The Chinese have no food standard control laws for food which is for animal consumption. They have been known to be sorted in all sorts of polluted waters and dangerous environments. Many dog deaths have been attributed to Chinese Sourced treats especially in U.S. over the last 12 months!
Sometimes on a treat packet it does not state where its made. You can tell where its from from the bar code!
All bar codes that start at 690 – 695 are all MADE IN CHINA. 471 is Made in Taiwan
UK bar codes start with 50 and USA and Canada start with 00-13.
I’m sure you all probably know that chocolate, Alcohol, Caffeine and Onions are poisonous to dogs. But some people don’t realize that so are Grapes, Raisins, Prunes, Avocados, Macadamia Nuts, Chives and Leeks!
So what treats should I give to my dog?
- Raw Meaty Bones
Raw meaty bones are an excellent treat to give to your dog! I must stress again RAW bones. Not Cooked!
They provide great natural nutrition, Fats, Protein, Vitamins and Minerals.
Chewing on a raw meaty bone helps clean your dog’s teeth and dramatically reduces the likelihood of gum disease developing.
Its a serious workout! If you have every watched a dog go to work on a bone its not only their mouth that gets a work out, their whole body does from holding and stabilizing.
You should however make sure you are giving the appropriate RMB to your dog.
Weight baring bones from cows are not recommended. So the big leg bones you get at the butchers like the knuckles and marrow bones should not be fed because they are very dense and pose a potential risk to damage teeth.
While I mentioned cows above, Calfs (baby cows) weight baring bones are an great choice of bone. They are relatively soft. soft enough that you can (after great force) get a kitchen knife into it. But they are soft enough to be fed to dogs.
You should feed bones which your dogs can actually eat. If you were to ask me what I would choose to give to my dogs it would be the necks. Turkey, Lamb, Pork, Veal, Calf are all excellent.
Heads, Spines, Ribs, Sternum are all great alternatives.
Always feed supervised.
Other things like Trachea’s are great treats for dogs. They are not bone but tough cartilage which have many of the same benefits listed above.
- Dehydrated or Freeze Dried Meat and Organs
What ever you do do not go away from this thinking dehydrated foods are bad for your dog because of point number 1. That only refers to dehydrated treats which include bone.
Treats like Chicken Stripe, Beef Strips, Tripe Sticks, Liver Slices and even Ears are all great for your dog. They may not have as much nutrition as if they were raw but they are certainly great to give as a treat.
You can even make your own dehydrated treats!
You can buy a dehydrating machine from as low as £20. Just make sure you slice the meat as thinly as possible to help reduce the drying time.
Here is my step by step guide from making cheap highly nutritious dehydrated dog treats 🙂
Carrots and broccoli stems are my dogs favorites!
Apples (without pips and stalk) Melon, Mango, Cauliflower, orange segments are just some of the occasional treats you can give to your dogs.
- Make your own healthy biscuits
So as I said above grains should be a NO NO. So how would you make biscuits?
You can use alternate to wheat flour including Coconut Flour, ground nuts and seeds (not macadamia) Pumpkin, Chickpea and even curry powders.
500g Liver (any will do)
400g Coconut or Chickpea flour
4 Tablespoons of water
Pinch of crushed Garlic
Teaspoon of turmeric
Teaspoon of Cinnamon
Teaspoon of Peanut Butter (optional)
Mix all ingredients together place on a grease lined or sheeted baking tray and cook on 180.c for approx 30mins.
You can even buy bone shaped cutters and press out shapes if you wish or just portion up with a knife.
I hope you have found this information beneficial.
Remember you are choosing for your dog so make sure you choose what is best for them. Keep them healthy and keep them safe.