When it comes to dog treats, there seems to be an endless number of options on the market. Treats come in every flavor, size, and shape you can think of — and for most dogs, none of that even matters. But what matters to us as their humans is what dog treats are best for them. Specifically, which treats are safe for our puppers. We've got the lowdown on which treats to reach for for your loyal friends.
Which Dog Treats Are Safe?
In general, the first thing to remember when selecting dog treats is to choose ones that have whole ingredients that you can pronounce and recognize. We're talking things like chicken, fish, eggs, and quinoa, and not things like ethoxyquin and sodium selenite. That being said, your dog might have an allergy to fish that you won't know about until you've tried the treats, so it's important to be attentive to your dog with everything they eat.
Are Dog Treats Monitored by the FDA?
While the Food and Drug Administration keeps a close watch on everything humans consume, the rules and regulations for pet food is a little different. It does require that all pet food be safe to eat
, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled, however, it does not require it to be tested prior to being put out on the market. This means that it's up to pet owners to be vigilant. If you come across a dog treat that makes your dog sick, you should report it immediately, because the FDA can then take action to issue a recall and publicize the message.
Which Dog Treats Are Dangerous?
Like we said before, try to avoid treats that have a huge list of ingredients, especially if it contains a bunch of ingredients you don't recognize. Whole, clean foods are just as good for your dog as they are for you. But also pay attention to what foods settle best in your dog's tummy. Some dogs have an intolerance with certain ingredients, whether it's rice or eggs, and if your dog has a reaction, that particular pack of treats may just not work for you.
Which Dog Treats Have Been Recalled?
Just like human food, dog food also goes through recalls from time to time. A couple of the most recent dog treat recalls include Merrick Good Buddy and Backcountry Treats containing beef for potentially elevated thyroid hormone
and Milo's Kitchen dog treats
for the same reason. Both of these occurred in 2018, and you can find the FDA's full list of recalled pet food and treats on the website here
. The FDA constantly updates this page with recalled pet food and statements from the brands as they become available, so you can stay on top of what food and treats are safest for your pets. This will also alert you to when you can go back to using those brands again if you so choose.
What's Really The Problem With Some Dog Treats?
Dog treats are recalled for many reasons, and not all of them are for things that can be fatal for your dog. However, there are things to keep in mind with treats, just like what you'd keep in mind with human food. Some dog foods have been recalled because of salmonella or e. coli because the ingredients weren't properly handled during the manufacturing process. Oftentimes, dog foods are made with lower-quality meat products than something you would personally eat, which makes the ingredients a higher risk of being a problem.
Stay on top of the dog food brands you buy and be familiar with the ingredients they use, where they come from, and any issues they've run into. Brands that outsource ingredients from other countries may not have as strict of rules as the FDA, so their products might not be the quality you want for your pup. Take as much care in selecting treats for your dog as you would in selecting goodies for yourself.
OK, So What Treats Should I Give My Dog?
We're glad you asked, and we hope we haven't scared you away from dog treats, because there truly are so many delicious options for your dogs. BARK in particular has a whole host of treats that are guaranteed to make your dog's belly happy. All of their all-natural treats are made with whole ingredients - but no wheat, soy, or corn! - right here in the USA.
For dogs that prefer a softer bite, whether it's because they have no teeth or just don't love a crunch, there are the soft baked
options, like Bonfire Bites
There are also jerky treats
like the NYC Roasted Duck Jerky Bites
. They're low in calories, which makes them a tasty treat for a dog who's watching their figure. Or one who just loves a good bite of duck.
Then there's also freeze-dried treats
if your dog is into that sort of thing. Give Stink, Stank, Stunk
a try — it's freeze-dried beef lung. That's it! There's nothing else added to it. It doesn't get much more clean or whole than this treat, and we can bet that your dog is going to love how tasty these stinky treats are!
At the end of the day, you can also make your own dog treats with ingredients you have at home. That way, you know exactly what's gone into them and can feel good about what your dog is eating.
Yes! Yes, we can make it easier. Why not subscribe to BarkBox
and get a box of goodies for your dog at your front door each month?
The box will include 2 bags of delicious treats in addition to 2 toys and something meaty for your pup to chew on. Prices start as low as $22 per month, and it truly doesn't get any easier than that. Plus you can rest assured that these treats are not just safe for your dog, but delicious for them too!