Be Choosy About Your Dog’s Chews!

Published on December 3, 2015 by in Blog

Be Choosy About Your Dog's Chews

Be Choosy About Your Dog’s Chews

They say variety is the spice of life, but when it comes to the plethora of dog chews on the market, variety can be overwhelming! From nylon “bones” to dehydrated animal parts, there’s an overabundance of possibilities when it comes to satisfying your pooch’s instinctive need to chew. These days it’s more important than ever to be choosy about your chew decisions, since products are being recalled on a regular basis due to possible health risks, including salmonella and chemical contamination. It’s your job as a pet parent to keep your pooch safe, so what’s best when it comes to choosing chews?

Consider the Source

It seems many of the recalled pet products are imported from China, making products labeled as “Made in America” the recent preference. Unfortunately, “Made in America” doesn’t always ensure quality and safety for your pet. It’s a sad truth, but some companies’ priority is profit, with pet safety and distributing a quality product lower on the list. Before choosing an unfamiliar chew for your pooch, check the company’s online presence, company history and reviews to get a better understanding of their reputation and priorities.

Knowledge is Power

 Arm yourself with a knowledge of safe and unsafe ingredients and processing procedures. You’ll find some chews that contain glycerol, a byproduct of soap manufacture. Yuck! Then there’s Red 40, a coloring agent that comes from petroleum distillates or coal tars. Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? And how about animal tissues (the leftovers from slaughterhouses) that have been chemically or enzymatically “treated.” What does that even mean?

Well, here’s the lowdown on those “treated” products: hydrogen peroxide and bleach are used to preserve and clean – or “treat” – animal hides, bully sticks (did you know these are actually bull penises that have been rinsed and dried??), beef tendons, pig ears, etc. Then they are typically “treated” some more with preservatives like sodium benzoate, a chemical formula that has been under fire for being linked to cancer and the destruction of healthy cells.

How About Animal Parts?

 You may be thinking “I only give my pooch chews made from animal parts, like antlers and hooves. They must be safe because they’re natural.” That seems like a safe assumption, but it’s just not the case. While the now popular deer antlers and the long standing cow hoof is inherently natural, it’s the processing of the part that you need to worry about. Not only that, but by being processed in slaughterhouses, there’s always a chance for bacterial contamination. And, keep in mind these hard substances can shatter teeth, splinter off and become a choking hazard, or tear the intestinal or stomach lining when being digested.

So What’s a Pet Parent to Do?

 The bottom line when it comes to choosing your dog’s chews, opt for chews labeled “preservative free” or otherwise indicate on the packaging that no chemical preservatives were used to manufacture the product. Companies don’t have to list what chemical preservatives are used to “treat” a chew, so unless it’s labeled “preservative free,” assume it does contain chemical preservatives.

And if you’re unsure, steer clear! Your pooch’s health and safety are a priority, so don’t give him something you’re uncertain about. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Written by Darlene Wagner Butler for The Poop and Nothing But the Poop

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