Top 5 Worst Treats You Should Never Give Your Dog or Cat | Toxic Dog Treats
Human Food to Avoid with Your Dog
As a professional dog trainer, I often recommend to clients to feed their dog healthy dog treats for a good behavior. Teaching a dog what we want them to do and rewarding them for that action is a great way to train a dog. I teach my dog training students how to determine if a dog treat is healthy and how to calculate those dog treats as part of their dog’s daily calorie intake. You see, I believe in real food for dogs, dogs need meat, and meat is a high-value, healthy dog treat that can actually be counted towards a dog’s daily calorie goals. This makes dog training easy and fun for both humans and dogs.
However, I often see dog blogs or other pet professionals recommending nasty “dog treats” for training or to stuff in a dog’s hollow treat toy or chew bone. Here are my top no-no dog treats, or at least my reasons on why you may need to reconsider or look deep into their ingredient panel before tossing one to Fido.
1. Marshmallows: Marshmallows may seem like the perfect treat to hide a dog pill or to motivate the picky dog, but looking at the ingredients of a marshmallow may make you change your tune. I may actually need to dump my favorite campfire treat myself, too! Typical Marshmallow Ingredients: corn syrup, sugar, dextrose, water, modified cornstarch, gelatin, contains less than 2% of natural and artificial flavor, tetrasodium pyrophosphate (whipping aid), artificial color (includes blue 1). That’s a lot of sugar products for a dog! And what about the artificial ie. Chemical flavor? What’s tetrasodium pyrophosphate? A cleaning agent! And according to Toxnet, it is alkaline, irritating, can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea after ingesting. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? Let’s not forget the artificial colors including Blue 1. In 2003, the FDA put out this statement regarding some use of Blue 1 in the medical field: “Use of Blue 1-tinted enteral feedings for detecting aspiration has been associated with several serious adverse events, including death, although a direct causal relationship has not been definitely established.” Now, there are some healthy marshmallows for us humans, but the ones I’ve seen still contain a lot of sugar and carrageenan, which I wouldn’t recommend feeding to a dog.
2. Lunch Meat: Now, I’m a big fan of using real meat when training dogs; however, we have to be careful when using lunch meats. Once again, it boils down to the list of ingredients, that ever-so-important ingredient panel. Most, but not all, lunch meats contain ingredients that both dogs and humans should stay away from. Typical Deli Style Lunch Meat Ingredients: Chicken breast, water, cultured dextrose, contains less than 2% of modified cornstarch, salt, sugar, vinegar, cultured celery juice, sodium phosphates, carrageenan, cherry powder, lemon juice solids, coated with seasonings (garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, thyme, white pepper, dried parsley, dried basil), salt, cayenne pepper, red bell peppers, caramel color, oleoresin paprika. You may have noticed I mentioned in #1 I didn’t like carrageenan, and here it is as an ingredient in our lunch meat. Carrageenan can trigger inflammation and wreak havoc on your digestive system. And the caramel color, according to Why Dye? is typically made with a 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) which is associated with carcinogenic effects. Don’t forget the added onion salt, which is toxic to pets.
3. Hot Dogs: Just like lunch meat, hot dogs can be riddled with nasty and toxic ingredients to your dog. Typical Hot Dog Ingredients: Mechanically Separated Turkey, Mechanically Separated Chicken, Pork, Water, Cultured Dextrose, Contains Less than 2% of Dextrose, Salt, Corn Syrup, Distilled White Vinegar , Cultured Celery Juice, Sodium Phosphate, Cherry Powder, Flavor. Although this may not kill you, it sure is full of garbage and sugar.
4. Peanut Butter: This is a very common recommendation for dog training or stuffing a hollow toy or bone. Once again, it boils down to the ingredient panel. Typical Peanut Butter Ingredients: Made From Roasted Peanuts And Sugar, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Molasses, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed And Soybean), Mono And Diglycerides, Salt. There’s that sugar again. A word of caution—many peanut butters now contain artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. You can buy 100% organic peanut butter, without any other ingredients; however, I prefer almond butter.
5. Fake “bacon” or “meat” Dog Treats: You know the ones. The dog treats that are in bright, colorful packages that look like a piece of bacon or meat. Are you ready for the ingredients in a typical “bacon flavored dog treat”? GROUND WHEAT, CORN GLUTEN MEAL, WHEAT FLOUR, WATER, GLYCERIN, GROUND YELLOW CORN, SUGAR, SOYBEAN MEAL, BACON (PRESERVED WITH SODIUM NITRITE), SALT, BACON FAT (PRESERVED WITH BHA AND CITRIC ACID), PHOSPHORIC ACID, SORBIC ACID (A PRESERVATIVE), CALCIUM PROPIONATE (A PRESERVATIVE), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL SMOKE FLAVORS, RED 40, YELLOW 5, BLUE 1, YELLOW 6, ADDED COLOR. T-4005 I just want to scream when I see this ingredient list. There isn’t ONE ingredient I would EVER feed to my pets. Preservatives, wheat, corn, gluten, sugar, soybean, food colors and artificial flavors. This treat isn’t getting within ten feet of Dexter.
The point of this post on unhealthy dog treats isn’t to bash a company or brand, but to remind you to read the ingredient panel, not just the front of the package on everything! This includes our own foods and products. I even saw carrageenan in freshly packaged natural chicken thighs. If we start to purchase cleaner foods for ourselves and our pets, the pet food and pet treat companies might just step up and provide even more healthy options. Now, go grill up some real chicken for your dogs!
Do you read the ingredient panel prior to purchases? Tell me in the comments.
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