By Katy Cable-TWR
A 4 min. Read
TRICK or TREAT???
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 next to the masks and hand sanitizer at the entrance door. Of course, any pet shop is certain to have goodies at all the check-out stations. Basically, every day 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 of a dog 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 it's very important to apply the same principles of healthy ingredients when selecting them. ☠️There are also some very popular treats you should avoid at all costs.☠️
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 the hard way 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!"
Treats should be tiny, bite-sized 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, artificial colors, and even toxic ingredients. These can make a pet, especially one with a compromised immune system, deathly ill.
For starters, many popular pet treats are not dainty morsels, but biscuits as big as SmartCars. Not only are they too large for most dogs, but they also contain harmful ingredients like those highlighted below. Here's a list of a few "No-No" ingredients found in many popular varieties of treats currently sold in most grocery and pet stores. I personally would stay away from any dog treat containing these ingredients but most certainly those in BOLD:
Some of the worst, deadliest treats can also be the most deceiving. Such is the case with RAWHIDE. 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 Target or Petco 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. Do a quick search on rawhide and you will be astounded at how it’s made and all the hazards associated with it.
The same holds true for many of those packaged chicken/meat/fish JERKY treats. These are some of the most popular treats around. But what many people don't know is that the misleading bag that reads: "All Natural / Made-in-the-USA" may contain toxic additives from China. Some of these products have killed or made thousands of dogs deathly ill. Although they claim the problems were identified and sourcing was changed, with little regulation on pet treats, it's impossible to know the truth. I personally stay away from all treats except the ones I make or treats from trusted sources.
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! When I'm at home with Olive I use blueberries, apple slices, carrots, and broccoli as tiny treats. But again, Olive is a Pug who will devour anything she can wrap her jaws around. 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, you cut them up in small bites and freeze them to use as healthy treats or toppers.
Now when I'm out and about and kind strangers want to offer my dog a treat, I explain she has tummy issues and hand them my own goodies to offer. I always carry a small sample bag of high-end kibble in my pocket. Having some nutritious treats with you can be a great way to meet new friends. Of course, always ask their owner first.
Lastly, for those of you in the mood, here are some dog 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, rawhide, and processed jerky treats and give a few of these healthy treats a try! 🎃
🎃Crunchy Pumpkin Biscuits🎃.
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 can also be used)
1 tsp ground parsley (optional)
2 eggs (grind up the egg shells finely in a coffee grinder for extra nutrients)
*unsalted organic creamy peanut butter/coconut oil/dried cranberries for decor if desired
Combine eggs and pumpkin until smooth. Add salt, and parsley, 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 30 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 or 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 and/or dried cranberries, if you wish. Another option is top with crumbled kibble and make a mudd pie. Freeze for 3 hours and add to meals or as a cool treat.
For more easy, healthy treats for YOU and your dog, watch for my upcoming cookbook: Katy Cable’s PAWSitively Perfect Parties. The book is filled with swaps, tips, recipes and ideas. It is all you need for fun dog-inclusive entertaining.
+ *The information in this article is strictly for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical or veterinary advice. Please consult your physician/veterinarian for any health problems and before making any medical, dietary, or lifestyle changes.
*(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.)