Everyone loves giving their pets lots of love and lots of treats! Today I'm going to tell you about some ingredients in your pets food/treats that you should avoid in order to keep them healthy and going longer, some new treats to make at home, and the kind of treats or food you can buy from the store that are beneficial and filled with good nutrients for your pets.
For starters, we all know that three are some treats and foods better than others. Before buying a big bag of cheap treats, PLEASE take a look at that label for the sake of your beloved pet. Avoid the following: chemical preservatives, menadione, meat-byproduct meals, corn products, and ANY kind of sweetners. Now some may be wondering why any of these ingredients could be bad for your pet and I am going to break down each of those five ingredients for you.
Chemical Preservatives like BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are synthetic preservatives commonly used in processed foods, skin care, and pet foods. SKIN CARE. The same thing that could possibly go into your face wash is also in your pets food or treats. YUCK.
Menadione is also known as vitamin K3 which is a synthetic version of vitamin K. On pet food labels it can be seen as menadione sodium bisulfate, menadione sodium bisulfite, or menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfate. Basically if you have difficulty pronouncing it, chances are it is not very good for your pet. Vitamin K is typically found in leafy greens to help form blood clots, but dogs and cats need very little vitamin K to stay healthy. Menadione was actually banned from human food in 1963. Why would you give something to your beloved animals that was banned from our foods? If it is not good for us, it is not good for them either.
Meat-byproduct meals are all of the left overs such as beaks, blood, organs, bones, and fatty tissues that are grinded up and put into your pets treats and food. Just the thought of that gives me the chills!
Corn products are very commonly found in kibble. Dry kibbles are typically loaded up with corn products which is just used as a cheap filler to bulk up treats. On food labels it may be listed as "corn gluten" which is basically ground up feed corn scraps. Corn isn't bad for your pets, but where it is listed as a main ingredient or as a protein source is a sign that the food or treats are lacking in the nutrition your animals need.
ANY kind of sweetners. It should be a no-brainer that sugar is just as bad for you as it is for your animals. Sweets and sugars as we all know can be very addictive which means your pets can also become addicted to them as well. Sweetners are most commonly found in cheaper, poor quality foods and treats. Any sugars, syrups, molasses, fructose and glucose listed on the labels of the treats you're considering getting for your pet... leave it on the shelf and run away!
Now let's consider some kind of alternative treats that you can make at home with good ingredients that also won't break the bank. Carrot applesauce oat treats are simple and fairly quick to make. You will need 1/2 a cup of quick oats, 1/2 cup of unsweetend applesauce, 1/2 a cup (about 1 large) carrot finely grated, and 1/2 cup of all purpose flour. Preheat your oven to 350 and cover your baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all four ingredients into a bowl and use a tablespoon to scoop out the mix or shape the, if you wish! Bake for 18-20 minutes and let them cool. These treats will keep well in the fridge for 5-7 days. If you happen to have horses, they will love these treats too!
Sweet potato dog chews are about as simple as it can get. All you need is three sweet potatoes. Preheat your oven to 200 and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the ends off of the potato for easier slicing and slice them about 1/3 of an inch lengthwise. Bake for 6 hours, only turning once while cooking. When the 6 hours is up, turn the oven off and let the oven cool with the treats still inside. When the oven is cool you may pull the treats out and bag them up. They will stay good for 2 weeks.
My personal favorite are the yogurt peanut butter bites. You will need 32 oz. of plain yogurt, 3 TBS of peanut butter (make sure it does not contain xylitol, it is toxic to dogs), 1 large sliced banana, and 1 TBS of honey (optional). Put all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until it is creamy. Fill a silicone mold or ice-cube tray and put the mold into the freezer for 2 hours. Pop the treats out of the mold and put into an air tight and leave in the freezer until it is time to treat your pet!
Now as far as it goes for buying your pets some worthy treats off the shelves or online, I have some very tasty options! Project Paws™ provides 100 percent pure freeze dried chicken breast treats and beef liver treats in 8 oz. bags that feed 14 shelter dogs!! On top of that, these treats come in other varities as well but in a smaller 3.3 oz. package. Those flavors inclued beef liver, chicken breast, alaskan salmon, turkey giblets, chicken hearts, and minnows. The 3.3 oz. bags by the way feed seven shelter dogs! So no matter the size you buy you are not only helping shelter dogs but you are helping your pet stay healthy. Project Paws™ treats are also grain free, gluten free, sourced/packaged in the U.S.A., has no added antibiotics or hormones, and are made in a USDA certified facility. I can't brag on them enough!
Another great option are Fruitables® treats. Their treats are made in the USA from American-sourced ingredients. They have a variety of crunchy or soft treats. They have greek yogurt crunchers in a few different flavors or the chewy treats are available in many different flavors. Check them out at fruitablespetfood.com for treat and pet food options and the location nearest you!
Last but not least, we have The Honest Kitchen®. They are another USA based brand that has many good-for-your-dog cookies and training treat options. They have everything from bite-sized cookies for your littlest pups to dried fish skin treats for the big dogs. The flavors are endless! Everything from as previously stated, dried fish skin treats, freeze dried mussels, and even pumpkin spice latte treats! You can find the store location nearest you on their website at thehonestkitchen.com and of course check out their treat options!