Tag Archives: dog treats

Cooking for my dog

For many of us, cooking for those we love is a way of expressing our affection.  I have always enjoyed cooking for my dogs – using fresh ingredients and creating tasty treats.  In fact, before I even decided to train in canine massage and rehab, I was already making treats for dogs as a business (Canine Catering).

Five years ago, I started my Cooking for Dogs class to teach other owners how easy it is to make yummy additions for dog food using simple and fresh ingredients.

Over the last 3 months, here are some of the things I’ve made:

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Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Most dog treats exceed recommended daily energy allowance

Most commercially available dog treats contain a range of undefined ingredients, including sugars, and often exceed the recommended daily energy allowance for treats (‘complementary feed’), warn researchers in the Vet Record.

They say treat labels should be more explicit and provide more detailed information on ingredients and energy content to prevent dogs becoming overweight or obese and at increased risk of conditions like diabetes.Chicken jerky treats for dogs

Dog treats represent the fastest growing segment of the pet food industry. European regulation states that dog treats should be labelled as ‘complementary feed’ and sets out rules for labelling to provide adequate information for consumers.

World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) guidelines also state that daily treat intake should not exceed 10% of a dog’s energy needs (known as maintenance energy requirement or MER).

But little is known about the nutritional value of treats and their impact on the dog’s diet, health and wellness, despite the popularity of such products.

So researchers led by Giada Morelli at the University of Padua in Italy, set out to compare the nutrient composition of different categories of treats and to verify whether daily intake recommendations on the label were in accordance with WSAVA guidelines.

They identified 32 popular dog treats available in pet shops and supermarkets (five biscuits, ten tender treats, three meat-based strips, five rawhides [dry bovine skin], twelve chewable sticks and six dental care sticks).

Products were analysed for levels of minerals, starch, simple sugars (glucose, fructose and sucrose) and the amino acid hydroxyproline (a component of collagen).

They found that three out of four (76%) of treats contained between four to nine ingredients, and that ingredients were not precisely described on the label. For example, biscuits and dental sticks had ‘cereals’ listed as the first ingredient, while tenders, meat strips, rawhides and chewable sticks had ‘meat and animal derivatives’ listed first.

Almost half of products mentioned ‘sugars’ on the label’s ingredient list and all contained varying amounts of minerals.

The most calorically dense treats were biscuits, whereas the least calorically dense were dental sticks. When caloric density was expressed as kcal/treat, rawhides were the most energy-dense products, followed by chewable sticks and dental sticks.

When manufacturers’ feeding instructions (number of treats/day) were followed, on average, biscuits accounted for 16% of MER for dogs of any size; rawhides exceeded 25% MER for small-sized dogs and 18% MER for medium-sized dogs. Chewable sticks surpassed 10% MER for all size dogs, reaching 16.9% MER in small-sized dogs. Only feeding instructions for dental sticks remained below 10% MER for every dog size.

This is the first investigation to categorise dog treats and determine their nutrient profile,” write the authors.

They point to some study limitations, such as the small number of treats that were analysed in each category. Also, these results may not be representative of all products worldwide given the wide number of dog treats available on the market.

Nevertheless, they say their results suggest that treat labelling should include more information on the ingredients used, and that producers should reconsider the feeding instructions they provide on labels, especially for small dogs.

Caution should also be adopted when considering treats for dogs with specific ingredient sensitivities or in dogs with conditions such as heart failure and kidney disease due to their potential high mineral content, they add. Finally, they say future studies should sample a greater number of products to provide more precise data.

Source:  Science Daily media release

Journal reference: Giada Morelli, Eleonora Fusi, Sandro Tenti, Lorenzo Serva, Giorgio Marchesini, Marianne Diez, Rebecca Ricci. Study of ingredients and nutrient composition of commercially available treats for dogs. Veterinary Record, 2017; vetrec-2017-104489 DOI: 10.1136/vr.104489

Will’s raffle

Will

I follow a number of greyhound sites on Facebook because Izzy is a greyhound and greyhound owners are well known for wanting to share photos of their hounds.

This year has been particularly hard on Will’s family.  Will was very ill and required surgery.  The vets couldn’t find anything that was causing the massive inflammation in Will’s chest and abdomen.  Lots of drugs and he still wasn’t getting better.  So more surgery and finally, they think they got the problem under control.

Will’s family stuck by him, but as you can imagine the vet bills were massive.  A call went out for raffle prizes to help them pay the bills (something they reluctantly agreed to) and I had to contribute.

Today I am sending this prize to the winner of the raffle.  It contains three bags of my preservative-free dog treats  – Cranberry & Coconut Biscotti, Apple, Cranberry & Ginger Biscotti and Salmon Squares – and a triple-headed toothbrush which is ideal for greyhounds (who are known to have lots of dental problems).

Will's raffle prize

As an independent business, I get lots of requests for support.  Some resonate more than others.  Will’s family weren’t going to give up on him without a fight and in this case, I think they made the right decision.  We are all hopeful that his inflammatory condition doesn’t return (it was thought to be a foreign body of some type, that has never revealed itself on scans, etc).

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

Is this really a bargain?

Bargain dog treatsNew Zealanders love a bargain and a current special on one of the ‘limited day deal’ sites lists “100% Natural” dog treats, 184 of them in total, for $19.99.

Take a look at that photo.  I see artificial colours in the munchy sticks and raw hides that are known to cause choking problems and intestinal blockages.  And, there is no country of origin labeling, either.  So who knows where they have come from and what methods have gone into preparing them.

But, if they can afford to sell so many treats for this price, a savvy dog parent should be asking where they have come from.

Readers who follow my column in NZ Dog World know that I have a problem with linking responsible dog owners with anything ‘cheap.’  A bargain is only a bargain when you get quality and integrity for a good price and you should know where your dog’s food is coming from.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Homemade doggy ice cream

I can claim another culinary victory this week.

I truly believe that good nutrition is the basis of a long life.  As I say in my dog massage classes, “Senior dog care starts before your dog is a senior.”

And I have successfully created some dog ice cream for Izzy that is a nutritious treat.  It uses probiotic yogurt, fresh pureed pumpkin and cooked liver (lamb’s liver in this case).

Best of all, it looks like orange/chocolate chip ice cream!

Izzy's ice cream

I’ve poured this mixture into ice cube trays and Izzy can indulge in it a few times a week.

This is a treat – not a core dog food of course.  But I’m very pleased with the result.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

One out of every three cars in the drive thru…

Courtesy of Reyes, Maggie (Photographer). March 2015

Courtesy of Reyes, Maggie (Photographer). March 2015

A survey by market research firm Relevation Research, based in Illinois, has shown that 1 out of every 6 US households buys fast food for a dog during at least some of their drive-thru or take-out window visits.  At this rate, over 1,000,000,000 visits annually are catering to a dog.

One third of dog owners  drive through with their dog in the car; four-fifths of those actually claim to order something specifically for the dog.  McDonald’s is visited most often for the dog followed by Burger King and Wendy’s.  Starbucks is patronized less despite offering Puppy Whip/Puppuccino.

Nan Martin, principal at Relevation Research, advises that QSRs (known as quick service restaurants in the ‘biz’) should team up with dog food/treat manufacturers to design dog-safe offerings at their establishments.

In Christchurch, McDonald’s outlets usually stock dog treats at their drive-thru windows.  If your dog rides in the back seat, the window attendant doesn’t always notice and so you have to ask for dog treats.  And the only surviving Starbucks outlet (thanks to our earthquakes) doesn’t offer a drive-thru, let alone Puppuccinos.

(I’m a big fan of Starbucks coffee and so – please – open a drive-thru branch here and please stock it with Puppuccinos.  Izzy and I would be frequent customers.)

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Source:  PR Newswire media release

 

Petco Removing All Dog and Cat Treats Made in China From Store Shelves

Petco is a major pet store chain in the USA.  It has announced that it is removing all Chinese-made treats from its shelves, after many concerns about pets getting sick from jerky treats made in China.  It looks liked Petsmart is due to follow…

Do you know where your dog’s treats are made?  Are they safe?

Petco Removing All Dog and Cat Treats Made in China From Store Shelves.