By KATY CABLE-TWR/ A 3 min. Read
TRICK or TREAT??? It's that time of year again. And now, even pet retailers are getting into the act by offering costumes and Halloween dog treats in every shape and size. And it's not just because it's almost Halloween.
Take your dog for a walk around my neighborhood on ANY given day and they'll be offered a plethora of Pup-peroni, Milk Bones, and Beggin'Strips before you even reach the corner. Many local shops also have water bowls and treat dishes filled with doggie delectables right at the entrance door. Of course any pet shop is certain to have goodies at all the check-out stations. Basically everyday is a "trick-or-treat" opportunity for canines.
We all love rewarding our dogs and giving them goodies. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the joy dogs get devouring treats. Let's face it, isn't my charming personality that's winning over the hearts of most dogs I meet, it's THE TREATS! ☠️ But don’t be tricked! Many treats can be downright dangerous for your pet!
My first Pug, Raisin knew exactly where to walk in our neighborhood to get the goods and would drag me on his preferred route. As Raisin aged I began to notice a direct correlation between the treats and the tummy issues. I learned many expensive lessons so hopefully I can save you some similar pitfalls. Here are a few startling facts as well as some nutritious alternates to keep your pet happy, healthy and "well-treated!"
When it comes to pet treats use extreme caution!☠️ It's not just your pooches waistline that can suffer. I was given the Halloween scare of a lifetime when I began researching this blog and learning about all the toxic chemicals being used in many popular pet treats. This has resulted in numerous illnesses and fatalities. What’s most alarming is that these products continue to be sold today in many large retail pet stores.*
SIZE MATTERS: Treats should be tiny (yes, tiny) morsels of food you use to reward your pet for training and reinforcement of positive behavior. But remember, even tiny amounts of treats can add up over time. Dog's can quickly start packing on pounds or stop eating their more nutritious meals. And much worse is the fact some of the most popular treats contain preservatives, flavor enhancers, colorings and even toxic ingredients.* These can make a pet, especially a sensitive one or a pet with a compromised immune system, deathly ill.
For starters, many popular pet treats are not bite-sized morsels, but biscuits as big as SmartCars. Not only are they too large for most dogs, they contain harmful ingredients like those highlighted.. Here's a list of a few "No-No" ingredients found in many popular varieties of treats currently sold in most grocery and large retail pet stores. I personally would stay away from any treat containing these ingredients but most certainly those highlighted:
BUYER BEWARE! Some of the worst, deadliest treats can also be the most deceiving. Such as the case with RAW-HIDE. You can't go into a big-box pet store or even a pet section in a large retailer without seeing numerous raw-hide products. Bones in every shape, size and color are front and center. Like me, most pet parents ASSUME if it's sold at a popular retail chain it must be safe! That couldn't be further from the truth. Rawhide is extremely dangerous and in my opinion should be pulled from the shelves of every pet store. Just watch the short video below by expert pet Blogger, Rodney Habib to see the truth about how this junk is made.
Such as the case with those packaged jerky poultry/meat/fish dog treats. What many people don't know, is that seemingly safe bag that reads: “All Natural Made-in-the-USA” was completely misleading. In fact, in an effort to cut-costs, these treats contained toxic additives from China that killed thousands of dogs. Rumor has it the problem was identified and sourcing was changed but with piss-poor regulation and no accountability, I personally stay away from any and every treat that I don’t make myself or that doesn’t come from a trusted source.
If you've just realized you're feeding your dog toxic treats or they are not up to par, don't panic or feel guilty. There are lots of healthy options your dog will love! Dr. Karen Becker, the world's most popular integrated vet, makes AMAZING natural, holistic treats and supplements: DR. BECKER BITES www.drbeckerbites.com/ When I attended the SuperZoo pet-product convention, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Becker as well as her lovely mother and niece Blair who run Dr. Becker Bites. I stuffed my convention tote with as many samples as I could get away with without being too conspicuous and my pug Olive literally DANCED every time those goodies came out.
TREATIBLES makes amazing hemp-based, organic, natural biscuits that are not only healthy and delicious but contain hemp oil which is a miracle cure for dogs suffering from anxiety, excessive barking, seizures, joint pain and a number of other issues. The woman-owned company has been a leader in holistic medicinal hemp for over 26 years.
If your looking for some healthy options you can grab at the pet store, I am thrilled to announce NULO has introduced a wonderful line of healthy treats. They offer bite-sized training bites, soft jerky strips, and individually wrapped protein sticks. All treats are made with the same thoughtful consideration that goes into their food: Low carb, high human-grade animal/fish/poultry protein/no corn, wheat, soy, or molasses and amazing patented probiotics. These are pet feet for sensitive pets. Grab some next time you're in Petsmart or your independent pet retailer.
Now when I'm out and about and kind people want to offer my pets a treat, I give them my own to feed them. If you don't have treats, in a pinch, Cheerios are a far better alternative to toxic treats. Small, gluten free, low sugar morsels. Right now they even offer pumpkin flavored ones. That way dogs won’t risk getting sick and everyone is happy. Plus it's often a great an opportunity to meet new friends and tell them about wonderful healthy treats options they can look into.
When I'm at home with Olive I use blueberries, apple slices, carrots and broccoli as tiny treats but Olive is a PUG! A dog with a pickier pallet may not go for those options. I recommend if you're cooking and have any meat trimmings or organs, cut them up in small bites and freeze them for healthy treats or toppers.
Lastly, for those of you in the mood, here are some treat options you can make yourself. These treats are easy, healthy and will work for even a very sensitive dog. They are also far less expensive than what’s available in stores! So toss out those toxic Milk Bones and give a few of these options a try! 🎃
🎃Crunchy Pumpkin Biscuit🎃.
Makes 75 small biscuits/50 medium
preheat oven to 350 degrees
1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups organic brown rice flour/coconut flour
1 tsp ground parsley (optional)
2 tablespoons dried milk
*unsalted organic creamy peanut butter/coconut oil/dried cranberries for decor if desired
Combine eggs and pumpkin until smooth. Add salt, parsley, milk and slowly add in flour. Roll mixture out using additional flour if needed for sticking. When dough is 1/4 - 1/2" thickness, use small or medium cookie cutters to make biscuits. Place on cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn biscuits over and bake for another 20 minutes. Drizzle or dip warm biscuits in organic, unsalted creamy peanut butter or coconut oil that has been melted in a microwave for 30 sec. Add dried cranberries for decor. Place on wax paper until cooled and dipping sauce has hardened.
1 can Organic Pumpkin
1 cup organic, plain Greek yogurt/plain Kefir
1/2 cup organic, creamy, unsalted unsweetened peanut butter
unsweetened organic coconut flakes/dried cranberries if desired.
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into ice cube tray. You can add coconut flakes, dried cranberries, if you wish. Freeze for 12 hours and add to meals or as a cool treat.
For more information, watch this short, entertaining video by Planet Paws blogger Rodney Habib:
*(In researching this blog, the pet food manufacturers make the argument that these chemicals are used in very trace amounts and not enough to be worried about. Well after millions of recalls and pet deaths I'm not taking any chances or trusting their word.)
🐾Katy Cable is a former actress appearing in “Back To The Future” and starring in the TV series: “Safe At Home” & “ Fired Up!” In addition to her dog health & lifestyle blog/vlog: The Weekly Runt, (https://www.weeklyrunt.com/) she’s a contributing writer to numerous publications including Thrive Global, & The Huffington Post. Cable lives at the beach with her husband, Rick and her rescue Pug, Olive.🐾