What treats are healthy, nutritious, and great to feed?
Pet treats are a bit of a minefield. They often contain added sugars, salt, glycerines, antibiotics, growth promotants, fillers, grains, or worse.
Over past years many pet treats, jerkies, and raw hides imported from Asian countries such as China and Thailand have tested to be toxic. Meats from these countries may not be to the same standard as Australian meats and can be contaminated with growth hormones and euthanasia drugs. This may not always be the case, and there are reputable manufacturers in Asia, but it’s a risk worth avoiding. Buy Australian if you can.
What you should be looking for in a treat is something meaty and nutritious, not sugar-coated waste products.
Here is a run down on some of the better treats available to buy. You won’t find any of these in the supermarkets, but they’re easy enough to buy from My Pet Warehouse, Pet Circle, and some of the better pet stores. Most are around $10 a bag so won’t break the bank.
These are fabulous air-dried treats made from Australian meats. They’re gluten free, grain free, full of natural probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. Being air-dried also means they keep for ages. You can’t ask for better than that! They make excellent foods as well.
If you’re aware of how good ZiwiPeak foods are you won’t be surprised to hear the treats are great too! They’re 95% meat, all natural ingredients. BARF!
Stay Loyal have one of the best reputations for an Australian company, and recently they’ve begun to offer an excellent range of freeze dried treats.
What about dental treats?
Most commercial dental treats are nothing more than starch, cereal, and humectants, with additives to aid cleaning teeth. They’re usually cheaply made and far from healthy.
A good natural way for a dog or cat to retain dental health is by chewing on a nice meaty bone. Care needs to be taken with bones so selected a size appropriate to your dog and always feed bones raw and uncooked.
If you have concerns about feeding raw meaty bones then another good option is deer or kangaroo tendons, shanks, or hoofers. Always check the country of origin of packaged treats (although kangaroo will always be Australian).
K9 Natural and ZiwiPeak offer a range of these treats sourced in New Zealand.
Failing all the above, you could always brush your pet’s teeth or have them regularly cleaned by a professional.
How do I tell if supermarket treats are any good?
Some are good, some are bad. The first thing to do would be to check the country of manufacture. Opt for Australian made if possible. Avoid treats from China (which can be labelled as “PRC” to mislead you, which stands for People’s Republic of China).
Have a read of the ingredients. Are they meat-based or filler-based (such as wheat)? Do they contain sugars, salt, humuctants, artificial preservatives, or food colourings? If they do then it’s best to avoid them. If a treat has “Preservatives” or “Colourings” on the ingredients you can assume they’re artificial.
Or… Make your own!
Keep in mind dogs and cats LOVE MEAT. They don’t care for sweet things, and they definitely don’t care for colourings!
If you want to make your own treats then boil chicken or turkey then cut it into squares. For convenience you can freeze the treats and feed them frozen, or even buy a food dryer. Other fresh foods make excellent treats too (my dog loves carrots).
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