You may be inclined to only feed vet recommended dog treats, so the purpose of this article is to offer a list of dog treats in Australia which are endorsed by vets or various veterinary organisations. If you’ve read our Best Dog Treats in Australia guide then you’ll note the treats on this list differ greatly.
Cats and dogs are essentially carnivorous, and their diet is dictated such. Dogs can and will eat other foodstuffs which can be fine in moderation, and in some cases beneficial. For the purpose of this article we’ll work on the basis a good treat for a dog (or cat) is akin to their natural diet. As such they don’t need sugar, cereal grains, chemicals, or any other rubbish commonly used in treats.
One final important point before we begin is something often overlooked. With no disrespect to veterinary professionals, and if you ask a vet whether this is true they’ll likely agree – they’re not overly trained in animal nutrition. A vet is no more an animal nutritionist than a doctor a human nutritionist. They’re different disciplines. Pet treats fall under the jurisdiction of nutrition, so if anything you’re better off asking an animal nutritionist.
Treats recommended by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)
Searching Google for vet recommended dog treats unearthed a list of treats endorsed by American organisation VOHC, many of which are sold in Australia. VOHC is an organisation which focuses on the oral health of pets, and the list has a focus on treats to combat dental decay and periodontal disease, a condition which effects many Australian cats and dogs from a young age yet often remains undiagnosed for years. VOHC authorise the use of a “Registered Seal on products intended to help retard plaque and tartar on the teeth of animals”.
Let’s take a look at two of the popular brands of vet endorsed dog dental treats on the list:
Greenies Dental Chews
According to a leading Australian retailer, Greenies dental chews are the “#1 vet recommended dental treat“. You may not realise it, but like many pet brands sold in Australia they’re just another product of Mars. You know, the chocolate treat company? Some of the main ingredients in these treats are chickpeas, gelatin, glycerine, cellulose, potato, and even more potato. One of the ingredients is “fruit juice color”, whatever that may be? It doesn’t sound very canine does it?
You may wonder which of those ingredients has dental benefit. I wondered the same, so delving through the Greenies website I found the statement “[the] chewy texture allows the teeth to sink in for maximum tooth contact causing a mechanical scraping and scrubbing of the tooth surface”. Does that mean the ingredients are irrelevant? They’re simply relying on the texture of the chew?
Give the dog a bone would be a far better option.
Purina Dental Chews
Note: The product listed by VOHC differs from what we have in Australia, which is Purina Dentalife (Daily Oral Care).
You’ll start to see a trend here, as with Mars Greenies above, Purina is a product of yet another chocolate conglomerate. This time it’s Nestle.
The Purina Australia website makes some wonderous claims about this “breakthrough chew” and how it “goes beyond simply covering up bad breath”. You would hope it goes beyond bad breath (dog breath), as bad breath is a sign of periodontal disease as a serious condition. Masking bad breath simply isn’t the answer, as not only will the teeth and gums of your pet be rotting, there may also be serious ramifications to organ health.
So what are the ingredients of this vet endorsed dog dental treat? Starting from the top – rice, glycerin, wheat flour, sodium tripolysulphate (STPP or E number E451), and malted barley flour. The product also seems to contain notorious synthetic preservatives BHA and BHT, which are neither recommended, needed, or healthy for your pet.
It makes you wonder what the credibility is of the “registered seal” they use to stamp these products.
Veterinary Endorsed Dog Treats in Australia
You may wonder why I started the article with an American organisation, but without any bonafide endorsement of pet treats in Australia it merely highlights the marketing clout of conglomerates such as Mars and Nestle. These manufacturers produce most vet recommended dog and cat products in Australia for the very same reason they’re recommended by vets across the world – pure marketing clout. Fingers in all the pies, and lots of wool to cover the eyes of professionals who should know better (and probably would with a few moments of thought).
Searching Google for vet endorsed dog treats in Australia doesn’t offer an official list, so this will be up to your specific vet and what products they choose to sell. What treats does your vet recommend?
Delicate Care Dental Treats
Delicate Care is an Australian brand, and credit where credit’s due they offer a better alternative to Colgate-Palmolive’s Science/Prescription Diets and Mars Royal Canin vet recommended wheat, rice, and corn-based carnivorous diets. They appear to be the only Australian “vet endorsed” dog treats in Australia.
Delicate Care Dental Treats state “veterinary endorsed” on the front of the packaging, so we know at least one vet is involved in the company. Their website claims the shape and size of the treats “helps provide optimum mechanical action to assist in the cleaning of teeth”, and the inclusion of “Sodium HMP” (also known as sodium hexametaphosphate or E number E452i) will reduce tartar build-up. Just keep in mind this is not something you wish to feed in excess, which is easy to do when you consider treats as healthy or especially if you have a small dog. That said, many of the treats sold in supermarkets and pet stores also suffer from this, some of which are made predominantly of sugar.
So what’s the main ingredient in Delicate Care Dental Treats endorsed by vets? The answer is sorghum.
At least they’re better than the bigwig brand treats listed above. So if you do feed Delicate Care Dental Treats, just keep in mind they’re only designed to be fed in moderation.
Why are they all dental treats?
Just a small amendment here, as writing the article made me realise they are all dental treats. The reason for this is dental treats are the only treats with a marketable purpose. All other treats have no beneficial use, unless they’re species appropriate foodstuffs which your dog (or cat) will naturally enjoy. So not sugar, grains, humectants, chemicals, food colourings, or other junk, but meat, offal, meaty bones, and various other healthy foods like carrots.
Summary of vet recommended dog treats in Australia
If you’ve got this far then you may be wondering why you would feed any vet recommended dog treats. It seems a bit of a fallacy, right? A growing number of Australian vets have started to endorse alternatives to commercial products despite this effectively losing them revenue from product sales (a veterinary practice is a business after all). One of those alternatives is raw meaty bones, one of the most natural and effective ways of offering your dog (or cat) a treat which is great for both nutrition and dental health.
If none of the treats listed above tickle your fancy, then read our Best Dog Treats in Australia guide.
Have you asked your own vet what they recommend? Let us know!