Many commercial dog treats contain ingredients and additives that may be unhealthy for our dogs. A dog may also be allergic to some of these ingredients. For example, my Shiba Inu is allergic to wheat, and my Siberian Husky is allergic to wheat, oats, and fish.
There have also been a variety of dog food and dog treat recalls, so make sure to only get food from companies that have good quality control. Get dog treat information and dog treat reviews from a range of sources before making a choice.
Below are a list of commercial dog treats that I have given to my dogs. I will list their pros and cons, and discuss how strong a motivator they are in training. I also give my dogs non-commercial dog treats.
Dog treats can be very useful in dog grooming and dog training, but always exercise moderation and feed our dog a balanced diet.
Commercial Dog Treats
1. Innova EVO Treats.
EVO dog treats are great, because just like all other EVO products, they are high in protein and grain free. My dogs also love the taste of this treat. Good for stuffing in Kongs ,and putting into the Nylabone Crazy Ball.
2. Wellness Bar Treats.
I use Wellness bars to add variety, and keep my dogs motivated. These dog treats are wheat free, and the molasses give them a wonderful smell.
My dogs prefer the vegetarian yogurt, apples, and bananas flavor. I no longer give my dogs these bars, because they have lower protein content compared to the EVO treats.
3. Zukes Mini Naturals.
Zukes Mini treats are moist, and have a very different texture when compared to the dry Innova and Wellness treats. They are also wheat free.
My dogs like the peanut butter flavor best, and the chicken flavor least. I only use a very small amount of Zukes Minis, because the ingredient list is not as great as the EVO treats. I have also tried the Zukes Z-filet, but I would not recommend it. The Z-filet contains a high amount of salt, which upsets the stomach of my Siberian Husky.
4. Chicken Breast Strips and Jerky Treats.
These chicken treats are nice because they are mostly meat and do not contain too many additives.
My dogs absolutely love chicken breast strips, however, there have been several chicken jerky treat recalls in the past. In particular, we should be careful of chicken jerky products that are made in China.
This page from the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association has good updates on various pet food and pet treat recalls.
I used to buy Dogswell jerky treats, but after reading this FDA complaint report, where Dogswell was one of the brands mentioned, I have stopped using them. Dogswell is an American company, but their jerky treats are made in China. Other companies may produce the treats domestically, but buy packaging or ingredients from China.
It is actually quite difficult to find treats that are fully China free. I am currently using Trader Joe’s chicken breast strips. I have also tried Aunt Jeni’s treats. Another possibility is the Blue Wilderness jerky products.
Here is what is stated on the Aunt Jeni’s website -
No ingredients from China; No “Co-Packing” All treats are made by us, on-site.
Here is what is stated on the Blue Wilderness site -
All of BLUE’s Chicken Jerky Treats are made in the US and the meat is sourced exclusively from US meat suppliers.
We do not use meat from China, or anywhere in Asia, in any of our products.
Here is what I found on Trader Joe’s -
In October 2007, Trader Joe’s began to phase out foods imported from China amid concerns that standards on “organic” products from the country are not as stringent as they should be. Between February 2008 and April 2008, Trader Joe’s claimed to phase out single-ingredient products from China due to concerns over tainted goods. However, Trader Joe’s does not provide ‘Country of Origin’ disclosures on most of its private label brands, citing reasons of food source and supplier secrecy.
5. Baa-Baa-Q’s Lamb Lung.
Baa-Baa-Q’s are made out of lamb lung, is 100% natural, and is not high in fat. I mostly put these into the Hol-ee Roller Ball dog toy. This provides my dogs with an interesting mental activity, and they are very motivated to get the lamb lung out.
6. Gimborn Freeze Dried Liver.
This dog treat is similar to the Baa-Baa-Qs because it is high in protein, and does not contain any additives. However, my dogs only have medium interest in these.
7. Premier Liver Biscotti.
I have tried the wheat and egg free versions. Sadly, my dogs quickly lost interest in these treats. The liver biscotti also upset my Siberian Husky’s stomach, because it contains oat flour. Otherwise, the ingredient list looks good, and it has relatively high protein content.
8. Natural Balance Dog Food Rolls.
These rolls have a nice, strong smell that drives my dogs crazy. Both Shiba and Siberian love these treats, and will do good work for them. Unfortunately, these rolls also contain wheat.
If your dog does not have any wheat allergies, then these rolls can be very effective for obedience training. Just cut them up into small, bite-sized pieces.
9. Charlee Bears.
During dog training class, my Shiba Inu would not stop begging from the people with Charlee Bears in their pockets. Unfortunately, Charlee Bears contain mostly wheat flour, and my poor Shiba Inu is allergic to wheat.
Otherwise, these dog treats can be helpful for dog training. My dogs love them, they are low in calories, and they do not contain bad additives. As with all other treats, however, it is important to feed in moderation.
10. Smokehouse Chicken Poppers.
A problem I had with Smokehouse Poppers, was that they were too large in size. To make sure I did not overfeed my dogs during training, I had to cut them into smaller pieces individually. This was very time intensive and a big pain in the ass, so I stopped using this dog treat.
It turned out for the best because in 2007, there was a recall on Smokehouse products.
For this reason, I would not recommend using Smokehouse dog treats.
Dental Dog Treats
In the past, I gave my dogs deer antlers for their chewing pleasure.
However, my Shiba Inu cracked one of his pre-molars while chewing on a deer antler.
The dental specialist I went to advised us NOT to give our dog any hooves, compressed rawhide, compressed antlers, processed white bones, or even non-edible Nylabones (basically anything that we think is too hard, and has no give).
Instead, she suggested that we use Greenies for dental health. Make sure to get the proper Greenie size for a dog, and supervise his initial chewing sessions to ensure that he does not swallow large pieces of the dental dog treat. So far, Greenies have worked out well for us.
Note that rawhide is not a good dental dog treat.
Many dogs can tear off fairly large chunks from a rawhide chew-toy. If swallowed, these chunks may become a choking hazard. They may also block the digestive system and cause infection. Rawhide pieces may absorb water and expand in your dog’s stomach, causing further digestive issues.
Please Let Us Know
If there are particular commercial dog treats or dog food that have caused your dog problems, please post about it below.
The more information we share, the better we can protect our dogs from poor quality dog treats and dog food. Woof Woof!!
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