We are more conscientious about our food labels than ever before. Store shelves are loaded with food claiming to be low calorie but have serving sizes meant for ants or are loaded with crap ingredients. I can't tell you how many times I have picked a product up and put it back after looking over the nutrition label.
But are we the same way about our pet products?
There are a lot of pet brands on shelves that use low quality ingredients and chemicals that are known to cause health issues in dogs. And these aren't random knock off brands. If you were to look at you pet food/treat label, are you confident that the ingredients are quality?
Let's take a look at the ingredient list of a very popular treat brand:
1.) Right from the get go they list 'meat and bone meal'. This may seem harmless, but you'll notice that you won't see a real meat product, like fish, chicken or beef listed. Meat and bone meals are not inherently bad for you dog and some meals are better quality than others. However, as a basic rule of thumb: no meal product will ever be better or as good as the raw product used to make it.
In this particular example the failure to identify the animal source of the meat and bone meal is a huge red flag telling you that this is an inferior quality meal product. This is the lowest of the low animal by-product. To the point the they I doubt they even know which animal(s) it consists of and probably why there are added vitamins and minerals.
2.) Next on the list: 'beef fat (preserved with BHA/BHT'. Beef fat isn't the problem; in fact it probably adds a lot of flavor. The issue is with the BHA and BHT. You'll notice that BHA is also the last ingredient listed.
BHA/BTH are a HUGE NO-NO's. I mean like shout it from the rooftop until you lose you voice no. Both BHA and BTH are known carcinogens. Although, BHA and BTH have been linked to health issues in dogs and humans alike, the FDA still allows their use in pet products in 'small doses'.
Allowing even trace amounts in pet products is an issue because of the cumulative exposure your pet may have. Food and treat products are consumed regularly, increasing the amount of exposure and total BHA/BHT ingested by your pet. For instance, if the recommended treat serving in the above product is 1 treat per day, but you give your pet 2 treats or feed them other food with BHA/BHT, have you now potentially exposed them to an unsafe level?
I think about Rambo, who at 7lbs, is smaller than a lot of other small breeds. If I give him a dog biscuit preserved with BHA/BHT that is sized for a dog weighing 10lbs, have I exposed him to an unsafe level? Treating and feeding your pet shouldn't be that damn complicated.
AND why would I risk the health of my fur baby, when I don't have too? There are safer options out there! In fact, most companies have transitioned to safer preservative options:
Vitamin E (also listed as mixed tocopherols)
Vitamin C (also listed as ascorbic acid)
3.) Sodium Metabisulfite. It can trigger allergic reactions and nervous system damage and you should be mindful of it.
For me, it calls in to question of why? Why include this preservative, when safer alternatives exist? I imagine that this preservative, like BHA and BHT are cheaper and make food last longer than the safer alternatives.
4.) Other ingredient to be mindful/aware of:
Artificial coloring: offers no nutritional value and I bet you doggo doesn't care what shade of brown their food is.
Sweeteners: artificial sweeteners like xylitol are deadly to doggos and is the use of it is on the rise in peanut butters because it's cheap. Check your peanut butter ingredients before treating your pooch.
Copper Sulfate: this is often added to dog foods to supplement copper. While trace copper amounts is an essential mineral that supports brain, heart, bone and kidney health in dogs; copper sulfate can accumulate in the liver and lead to toxicity.
Fish meal: may contain trace amounts of BHA.
In summary, it is important to be aware of the ingredients in your pooches food and treats. Each dog owner will have their own preferences and opinions on proper nutrition and ingredients and this blog is in no way meant to shame or pass judgement on your choices. It is simply one dog owners opinion and view on certain ingredients.
The ingredients included in treats made by The Crooked Barkhouse, reflect our values. We use high quality meat ingredients, refuse to use artificial colors or flavors and choose to use preservatives that we feel are safe for your dog.