Walk through any pet supply store or the pet section of any grocery store or department store and you’ll be overwhelmed with choices in dog chews. From jerky treats to nylon bones, there’s a plethora of possibilities when it comes to satisfying your dog’s instinctive desire to chew. But is seems like every month there’s a new chew added to the list of those recalled due to possible health risks. So how can you, as a protective pet parent, decide which chew is the best choice for your pet?
First and foremost, consider the source. With health scares tied to pet chews such as pig ears and chicken jerky imported from China, many pet parents have opted to purchase only chews made in America. Unfortunately, “Made in America” doesn’t always equal quality and safety. Any company can be profit-driven, with quality and safety being low on their list of priorities. Before purchasing a chew from an unfamiliar company, check out their online presence to get a feel for their priorities and reputation.
Second, review the product’s ingredients and processing procedures. Many chews today contain worrisome ingredients such as glycerol (a byproduct in soap manufacture); chemically or enzymatically treated animal tissue from slaughterhouses; chemicals used to preserve fats; and coloring agents such as Red 40 (a color that comes from petroleum distillates or coal tars). Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? And always avoid products that are chemically processed. Rawhide may seem like a safe choice, but most rawhide chews on the market have been bleached and processed to make them look cleaner to the human consumer. And beware of chews that have been genetically modified, as they can irritate your pooch’s bowels and may undermine his immune system.
Bottom line, the best choices for chews are likely good ole animal bones and bits (you know, those smelly brown marrow-filled bones and tendons). After all, canines are carnivores, so a natural chew is ideal. And chews made of quality rubber are also a good choice, as they provide your pooch with jaw exercise and virtual indestructibility.
Want to ensure the chews you choose are safe for your pet? Visit www.AnimalHealthFoundation.net and search their blog entries for “dog treats” for a list of those deemed unsafe and recalled.