Dog Treats

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2 Tricks to Decoding Dog Treat Packaging

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Consumer Education Image

We are not amused.

Arghhh!! I’m a savvy dog-product reviewer, a dog-pro with decades of consumer experience and I just got totally led astray by a product. That rarely happens to me and I sure as heck don’t want it happening to you. So here are two tricks to reading between the lines on dog treat packages/write-ups.

#1 – Insist on the List!

When a product reads: Duck Jerky Meat Treats 100-Percent All Natural Duck Meat do you think, as I did, that it’s 100% duck meat jerky?

Yeah. Me, too.

Here’s the actual ingredient list is: Duck, Turkey, Chicken, Potato Flour, Pea Powder, Tapioca Starch, Glycerin…

There is nothing wrong with those ingredients but a food-sensitive dog can get itchy from chicken but not duck.  One of my late German Shepherds would have been made quite sick by eating this treat that I would have bought assuming it was 100% Duck. I know exactly how sick and if you’ve ever lived with a severely allergic dog then you just understand how angry that makes me.

My Advice: Don’t buy until you see the ingredient list. 

Example of a company doing it right:

Bison Dog Treat Image
Great Dog Bison Liver Bites 5.3 oz. Bag (Sourced & Made in USA)

  • Sourced from free-range American grazing bison, never implanted with synthetic or growth promotants, 100% digestible and sold in 5.3 oz. bags
  • Bison Liver Bites are high in digestible protein and also a great source of vitamins A, B, and C
  • The chews are slow roasted in a Great Dog human-grade facility
  • Bison Liver Bites are just the right size for training treats!
  • No soaks, washes, nitrates, sorbates, BHA or BHT are added

In their “important information” area front and center: Ingredients Bison Liver

#2 – ONLY “USA Sourced”

Dog treat companies know that we consumers want USA-sourced dog treats so they put USA and US wherever they can in write ups and on packages.

One product that caught my eye states: Tested in the USA at FDA Approved Labs which I suspected directly translated into not from USA-sourced meat. I went a googling. Yup, the meat used is from China. From the company website: “Why source chicken in China? Simply put, it is more cost efficient….”

My Advice: Trust companies to boast on everything they can boast on. If they don’t, it’s because they can’t. Look for words like “USA-sourced”

Example of a company doing it right:

Beef Training Treats Image
Merrick 5-Ounce Beef Canine Training Treats, 1 Bag

  • All Natural
  • No artificial coloring or flavoring
  • Made in the USA with ingredients sourced in the USA

In their product description: 5-Ounce Beef Canine Training Treats 1 bag: Beef lung is the sole ingredient for these bite size cubes. All Natural. No artificial coloring or flavoring. Made in the USA with ingredients sourced in the USA.

I have used these treats for many years. Dogs universally love them, they don’t usually cause any tummy upset and they last for a long time. Merrick also sells  Lamb Canine Training Treats which I find dogs like just as much as the beef.

Now you know two ways to read a dog treat bag skillfully and neither you nor I will be fooled in those ways again!

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