Which Dog Treats Are Safe? Which Dog Treats Aren’t?

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

February 21, 2022

When it comes to dog treats, there seems to be an endless number of options on the shelves. Treats come in every flavor, size, and shape you can think of—and for most dogs, none of that even matters, the gluttons.

Safety and quality matter most to us as their humans, so we’ll break it down so you don’t have to.

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 (that’s keen-wah, there you go), 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. That’s why it’s important to be attentive to your dog with everything they eat.

dachshund looking up eating a treat

Does The FDA Monitor Dog Treats?

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 testing prior to hitting shelves. 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. 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 to certain ingredients, whether it’s rice, eggs, or even chicken. If your dog has a reaction, that particular pack of treats may just not work for you.

dog looking at a heart shaped treat

Which Dog Treats Have Had A Recall?

Just like human food, dog food also goes through recalls from time to time. 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 dogs. This will also alert you to when you can go back to using those brands again if you’d like.

What’s Really The Problem With Some Dog Treats?

The FDA recalls treats for many reasons, and not all of them are for things that can be fatal for your dog. Some dog foods get recalled because of salmonella or e. coli when ingredients weren’t properly handled during the manufacturing process. Other times, brands will recall an item because it potentially contains stray pieces of inedible material that snuck in during the manufacturing process.

Many brands also make dog food with lower-quality meat products than something you would eat. Unfortunately, this puts the ingredients at higher risk of becoming a problem.

Stay on top of the dog food and treat brands you buy and be familiar with the ingredients they use, where they come from, and any issues they’ve run into. Brands that source ingredients from other unnamed 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!

puppy eating a dog treat

OK, So What Treats Should I Give My Dog?

We’re glad you asked, because there truly are so many delicious options for your dogs. BARK in particular has a whole host of treats guaranteed to make your dog’s belly happy. They produce all of their all-natural treats with whole ingredients—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, choose from soft baked options. Pups who prefer something more solid should stick to baked, crunchy treats.

Nose still not interested? Homemade treats are always an option, and many recipes include as few as 2 or 3 ingredients you already have in your kitchen. Blueberries, bananas, peanut butter, and oats are just a few!

gourmet dog treats on a table

Can You Make This Even Easier For Me?

Yes! Yes, we can make it easier. Subscribe to BarkBox and get a monthly themed box of innovative toys, all-natural treats, and a savory chew. Get double the stuff in your first box FREE here!

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

February 21, 2022

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A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.