Treats play a big part in your dog’s life. They love them, making treats a great tool for training. Most dogs will start drooling when you reach for the treat jar! While treats shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of your furry friend’s caloric intake, they would love nothing more if they could only eat those tasty morsels.
There is no shortage of treats on the market today. Stroll through your local pet store, and you’ll see hundreds of options. While you might not think about how those rewards affect your dog, some products can do more harm than good.
Unlike commercial dog food, treats come with strict regulations. As a result, there are just as many bad choices as good ones.
In this blog, we’ll go over several treats you should avoid at all costs.
What Makes a Dog Treat “Bad?”
Many things could make dog treats an unhealthy option. Ultimately, it all comes down to the ingredient list. The best treats are high-protein snacks full of nothing but high-quality ingredients.
Meanwhile, cheaper alternatives may offer zero nutritional value while putting potentially dangerous ingredients into your dog’s body. With little regulation, some manufacturers cut corners, risking your pup’s health.
Some of the worst offenders include preservatives like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), ethoxyquin, and propylene glycol. These preservatives help to keep treats shelf stable, but they’re also linked to cancer in dogs. Some are known carcinogens that could ruin your dog’s health over time.
There are many all-natural preservatives, and premium brands use them all the time. Therefore, there’s no reason to buy food with those preservatives.
Another issue is food dyes, artificial flavors, and other unnecessary additives. A dog treat should be delicious through its ingredients alone. If a manufacturer has to add flavors to entice a dog to eat it, it’s not a good choice. The same goes for colors and fragrances. None of that matters to a dog, so why include it?
Cheap filler ingredients can also be problematic. Many old-school treats like dog biscuits contain corn, wheat, or soy. Those ingredients are difficult for your dog to digest and process.
You also have to be careful about recalls. Even high-quality brands can have recalls due to cross-contamination and dangerous pathogens. Keep an eye out for recall news and toss out any product you might have.
7 of the Worst Dog Treats on the Market
Spotting an unhealthy dog treat requires studying the nutritional label and ingredients list. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of some of the worst dog treats you can buy. Ditch these in favor of premium options with better ingredients.
Of all the dog treats bad for dogs, rawhides are some of the worst. Many brands offer rawhides, and you can often find them sold by the piece or pound at your local pet store. Don’t let the allure of these treats or your dog’s attraction to them fool you.
Rawhides are nothing more than leftovers from the leather industry. Manufacturers often get them directly from slaughterhouse floors. Who knows what pathogens could be lurking in those hides? But that’s not the worst part.
The biggest issue with rawhides is that they don’t break down well in your dog’s system. They create a substantial risk of intestinal blockage. It could be a lethal issue. Do yourself and your dog a favor and avoid rawhides.
If you want something similar but much healthier, consider buying bully sticks instead.
2. Milkbone Biscuits
Milkbones are a classic. They’re available everywhere, and you can often pick them up at grocery stores. If they’ve been around for so long, they can’t be so bad, right?
Unfortunately, these cheap treats have equally cheap ingredients. Wheat is the primary ingredient. It offers no nutritional value, and many dogs develop allergies to wheat or have difficulty digesting it.
Pair that with the influx of dyes, artificial colors, and preservatives; this is not a treat you want to give your dog.
3. Gravy Train Steak Bones
Gravy Train products are just as prevalent as Milkbones. You’ll find several varieties, including jerky-like sticks and treats that resemble mini steaks. Despite its affordability and real meat look, Gravy Train treats are unhealthy.
They contain wheat and soy flour that your dog’s system might not agree with. Furthermore, they’re loaded with artificial colors and flavors. To make matters worse, some treats have corn syrup and BHA preservatives. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Your dog might not have any unhealthy reactions immediately. But a lifetime of eating this stuff will do your dog no favors.
4. Pup Corn
Pup Corn has become quite popular in recent years. It’s not hard to see why. Dogs love it, and the morsels look like actual popcorn. However, the formula is unimpressive.
The primary ingredient is corn, a cheap filler many dogs can’t digest. It’s a common allergen that could cause nasty reactions in your dog.
Furthermore, Pup Corn has artificial flavors. It’s covered in unnatural powders and colorants, making it an all-around bad choice for your dog, no matter how much they love it.
5. Canine Carry Outs
Canine Carry Outs is yet another cheap treat massed produced to be available at everything from your local corner convenience store to your favorite grocery shop. The low price tag reflects the quality of ingredients within these treats.
Whether you get the beef flavor, the bacon pieces, or the treats that look like grilled chicken, it’s all bad news.
While these snacks do sometimes contain real meat, the rest is downhill. You’ll find unhealthy ingredients like BHA preservatives, corn syrup, artificial dyes, chemical-based flavors, and more.
6. Pup-Peroni Treats
Pup-Peroni is well-known thanks to its clever marketing efforts. But no amount of funny commercials will make up for the potentially dangerous formula. It’s not all bad. There is real meat as the main protein.
Unfortunately, the many negatives outweigh the positives. Each piece of Pup-Peroni has a slather of corn syrup, too much salt, and sugar that could cause weight gain. Of course, it’s also treated with BHA and artificial colorants. Those are all bad news for your dog.
7. Purina Alpo Variety Snaps
Alpo makes several low-cost dog treats, and most aren’t worth the money. This particular treat, the variety pack of Snaps, is one of the worst dog treats in the lineup. Like the Milkbones discussed earlier, Alpo uses wheat flour as the primary ingredient.
Wheat is difficult for dogs to digest. Wheat flour can also lead to blood sugar spikes, increasing your dog’s risk of weight gain and diabetes.
In addition to the wheat flour, the treats contain questionable ingredients like chicken by-product meal. There are also artificial colors and preservatives.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are plenty of other bad treats you need to avoid. But of all the dog treats bad for dogs, these are some of the most popular among dog owners looking for cheap rewards.
Your dog deserves better than artificial additives and preservatives that could affect long-term health. You can easily go for something healthier with so many money options on the market.
Read the ingredients list and choose snacks that are wholesome, full of protein, and delicious enough to get your dog wagging its tail!