Where’s the Beef? Why your dog should never eat another Milk-Bone or Beggin Strip, and you should avoid the Slim Jims.

Gracie learning how to shake paws

Gracie learning how to shake paws

Where’s the beef?    Read the label on one of the popular dog treats and you’ll be asking yourself that same question. Milk-Bones and Beggin Strips are the #1 and #2 top selling treats respectively and I’d sooner have my dog stick her head in the curbside garbage on a hot day than eat that stuff.

Where’s the conscience of Del Monte and Purina when they put toxins and animal waste in our pets’ food?  And they’re not the only ones.  Anyone that hides behind “Natural Flavors” on their label instead of telling us exactly what those flavors are (ADI, Waggin’ Train) needs a firm kick in the caboose.  Just because the FDA allows manufacturers to do it, doesn’t mean they should.

BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, Sodium Metabisulfite and TBHQ.

These are chemical preservatives known to cause things like:  cancer, liver and kidney problems, weakness, loss of consciousness, brain damage, and life-threatening asthma.  One or more of these chemicals are in the top two selling treats and numerous others.  The chemicals also are used to manufacture things like rubber and petroleum products, and embalming fluid.

Treats containing at least one of these chemicals These chemicals are used to manufacture:
  • Milk-Bones (Del Monte)
  • Embalming Fluid
  • Beggin Strips (Purina)
  • Jet Fuels
  • Pup Peroni (Del Monte)
  • Rubber Products
  • Busy Bones (Purina)
  • Pesticides
  • Moist n Meaty (Purina)
  • Electrical Transformer Oil
  • T-Bonz (Purina)
  • Bil-Jacs
  • Simple Essentials Treats (Hill’s Science Diet/Colgate Palmolive)
  • Petroleum Products
  •    
  • Disinfectants

Ethoxyquin is so toxic that the FDA has prohibited it from human consumption except for minute quantities in certain spices (e.g. cayenne pepper).  The FDA, despite the behest of veterinarians, has done nothing but suggest to pet product manufacturers they reduce its usage.   Who knows if any of them have reduced it, but Purina still adds it into their Moist ‘n Meaty and Hill’s Science Diet (Colgate Palmolive) adds it to their Simple Essentials Treats as disclosed clearly on their labels. (See Sidebar about how tough it can be to spot ethoxyquin and other toxins.)

Ethoxyquin on pet food labels

Toxins in pet food

So what’s the deal with all these other chemical preservatives?  Sodium Metabisulfite (the preservative in Milk-Bones) is harmful if ingested or inhaled (as in sniffed).  It reacts with WATER and acids (like those in your dog’s stomach) to release toxic sulfur dioxide gas. It can cause life-threatening asthmatic reactions after ingestion as well as gastrointestinal, circulatory and central nervous system problems.   The people who handle this stuff are required to wear hazmat suits and respirators.  And believe it or not, there’s more written about the harmful effects and cancer-causing properties of BHA and BHT than sodium metabisulfite.  BHT is actually banned in England. And BHA is thought by the National Institutes of Health to cause stomach cancer.

TBHQ (a butane derivative) can cause death from ingestion of as little as 5 grams. Ingestion of a single gram (1/28 of an ounce) causes nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation and collapse.  The FDA puts strict requirements on uses of all these toxic chemical preservatives in human food, but pet foods have few if any requirements and often contain much more.

So what’s the good news?  There are many better, natural solutions for preserving food.  Dehydration is the first one.  Take the moisture out of something and bacteria cannot grow.  Ask any caveman.  It’s been around that long.  And, no self-respecting cowboy would go hungry when he has a piece of dried meat in his pocket.  Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and rosemary and sage extracts  also make good, natural solutions.  The problem for Purina and Del-Monte and others is that dehydration, vitamins and herb extracts are more expensive than sodium metabisulfite, BHA, BHT, TBHQ or ethoxyquin.

Dehydration, for instance, produces a treat with a lower water content (but denser nutritional profile) that hence weighs less.   Dehydration also takes time and electricity – which cost money.   Since treats are sold by net weight, massive commercial manufacturers want to keep the moisture content high so they can sell you the weight in water.  But then they have to toss in chemical preservatives to keep the treats from spoiling.

“Natural Flavors” and Animal Digests

Here’s the scoop on natural flavors and animal digests:  the FDA allows digestive tract contents to be processed into animal feed.

The FDA says:

“With respect to flavors, pet foods often contain digests, which are materials treated with heat, enzymes, and/or acids to form concentrated natural flavors.  Only a small amount of a chicken digest is needed to produce a ‘Chicken Flavored Cat Food,’ even though no actual chicken is added to the food…” [emphasis added].

“Natural Flavors” and “Animal Digests” are on the labels of these popular products among others:

  • Beggin Strips (Purina)
  • Waggin-Train Jerky Tenders (made by ADI Pet in China)
  • Busy Bones (Purina)
  • T-Bonz (Purina)
  • The Goodlife Recipe (Mars, Inc.)

Meat and By-Products

Ever glance at a pet food label and see an ingredient called “meat?”  Would you buy anything in the grocery store’s meat section that’s just identified as “meat” on the label?  What exactly qualifies as “meat” and “by-products”?

Here’s a hint:  The FDA has found pentobarbital (the euthanasia drug) in our pet’s food.

According to the FDA, “meat” for animal feed comes from:

“independent [rendering] plants that obtain animal by-product materials, including grease, blood, feathers, offal and entire animal carcasses from the following sources:  butcher shops, supermarkets, restaurants, fast-food chains, poultry processors, slaughterhouses, farms, ranches, feedlots, and animal shelters.” [emphasis added]

AAFCO, the organization that works with the FDA to standardize definitions of ingredients and other things for the pet food industry, broadly defines “byproducts”.  Poultry byproducts, for instance can include:  “the carcass of slaughtered poultry such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines exclusive of feathers except… as might occur unavoidably…”

But it’s not the feathers – or even the addition of McDonald’s used grease – that’s most worrisome.  It’s well documented that the FDA also allows 4D animals – that’s  dead (as in roadkill dead), dying or diseased (as in anthrax) or disabled (as in mad-cow paralysis) as well as spoiled or contaminated meat to be used in pet food.

Recall the mad-cow epidemic in the late 1980s?  It was determined that the cause of it was cattle (normally herbivores) being fed the remains of other diseased cattle (in the form of rendered down meat and byproducts).   Nearly 4.4 million cattle were slaughtered in the eradication program that followed.  But in October 2009, Mad Cow disease infected and killed another person showing that the disease is still lingering in the human food chain.  So you would think your pet has got to be at much greater risk.

“Meat” and “By-Products” are in these popular treats:

  • Milk-Bones (Del Monte)
  • Pup-Peroni (Del Monte)
  • Busy Bones (Purina)
  • Moist n Meaty (Purina)
  • T-Bonz (Purina)
  • Beneful Snackin’ Slices (Purina)

Wheat, Corn, Soy, MSG, Refined Sugars & Artificial Sweeteners

Ever ask your vet why your seven year old dog is developing all these skin irritations and bumps? Or why she seems to have frequent bouts of intestinal upset?  Here’s one good reason:  she can’t digest the stuff she’s eating.  Many dogs can’t digest wheat, corn and soy and some are allergic to these ingredients.  Yet they’re included in food because they are cheap.  Next time you pick up a 12 oz box of dog cookies for $3.99 retail consider how the manufacturer can make 12 oz of those treats for under $0.50.

MSG is included because it’s addictive, but like ethoxyquin you probably won’t find it on the label. If you see any type of “hydrolyzed” protein though, it likely contains MSG.  MSG is believed to be a big culprit in the obesity epidemic in our pets (and ourselves). More than 50% of US dogs and cats are reportedly obese. MSG can more than triple insulin levels making even the most physically active animals fat.

The FDA says: “hydrolyzed proteins, used by the food industry to enhance flavor, are simply proteins that have been chemically broken apart into amino acids. The chemical breakdown of proteins may result in the formation of free glutamate that joins with free sodium to form MSG. In this case, the presence of MSG does not need to be disclosed on labeling.”

Refined sugars are added to pet food because dogs can taste sweetness.  Yet sugar can cause obesity, dental problems and possibly diabetes.  Artificial sweeteners are no good for dogs either and some are known toxins.  The FDA still allows cancer-causing saccharine to be sold to humans and genetically modified ingredients to be undisclosed on labels.  So chances are they’re not looking out for your pet.

Admittedly, artificial sweeteners and sugars can be hard to identify on a label when there’s a laundry list of six syllable words.  But this can be our “‘Aha!’ moment.”  If we don’t recognize it, should it really be ingested?

Here are a couple to remember:  glycerin (aka glycerol) is a sugar substitute and filler, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate is an artificial sweetener with similar chemistry to Xylitol – and that one is known to be toxic to pets.

Wheat is in countless dog treats from the toxic ones to the junk-food treats.  Here are a few of the popular treats that contain wheat and/or at least one of the other unhealthy ingredients in this category.

  • Milk-Bones (Del Monte)
  • Pup-Peroni (Del Monte)
  • Beggin Strips (Purina)
  • Waggin Train Jerky Tenders (ADI in China)
  • Busy Bones (Purina)
  • Moist n Meaty (Purina)
  • T-Bonz (Purina)
  • Beneful Snackin’ Slices (Purina)
  • The Goodlife Recipe (Mars, Inc.)
  • Old Mother Hubbard

The Cancerous 5 Food Colorings, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Nitrite, Copper Sulfate and the Kitchen Sink

The list of additives from food coloring to artificial flavors and other preservatives is long.  But why does there need to be food coloring in the treats we give our dogs.? Has a dog ever turn his nose up at a treat because it got a low score for plating and presentation?

Let’s do our dogs a favor; when we see red dye # this and yellow dye # that, let’s put the box back.  It likely contains a ton of other toxins.  The Cancerous Five Food Colorings, Titanium dioxide, copper sulfate, calcium proprionate, sodium bisulfite, propylene glycol, and zinc sulfate are just some of those hunks of junk.  They can cause anything from gastrointestinal and skin disorders, to tumors, central nervous system problems, and kidney and genetic disorders.  And that’s just in the stuff humans and rats have reported.  Who knows what our dogs feel.

Yellow #6, Blue #1 and #2, Red #3 and Green #3 are linked with cancer in animal testing.  These are in Milk-Bones, Beggin Strips, Beneful Snackin Slices, and T-Bonz.

Titanium dioxide is a widely used white food coloring that’s also used for paints and plastics.  Some prefer titanium in golf clubs not food.  In food, it’s suspected of causing genetic disorders and lung tumors; in the clubs it simply causes humility.

Copper sulfate is an herbicide, fungicide and pesticide that’s also a known toxin no longer included in children’s chemistry sets because of health risks.

Calcium proprionate is a mold inhibitor.  How did we get to be more worried about the mold than the chemicals?

Zinc sulfate will take the moss off your roof and kill the grass in your yard.

Sodium nitrite is linked with cancer and its in Beggin Strips and Pup-Peroni.  Sodium nitrate is easily converted to cancer-causing compounds (called NOCs) and both sodium nitrite and nitrate have been linked with gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, and colorectal cancer.

Sodium bisulfite (synthetic vitamin K also called menadione) is associated with liver toxicity, anemia, eczema, skin irritations, allergic conditions, and more and has been banned from food and supplements in Europe, and by the FDA in over the counter supplements.

And lastly, propylene glycol makes a darn good antifreeze and airplane de-icer, but any vet will tell you in the right amount it will kill your pet. It’s use is being reduced in human foods because large doses in animals have been reported to cause central nervous system depression and kidney changes.

These popular treats contain these toxins:

  • Milk-Bones (Del Monte)
  • Beggin Strips (Purina)
  • Pup-Peroni (Del Monte)
  • T-Bonz (Purina)
  • Beneful Snackin’ Slices (Purina)
  • Moist n’ Meaty (Purina)
  • Busy Bone (Purina)

Wolves in captivity live 20 years.  Their descendants – our dogs – live only a handful. Cancer is the #1 killer of our dogs; 50% of them die from it by some estimates. The toxins in their food are arguably a big contributing factor.

Our pets have a flaccid tongue; they can’t tell us that the Milk-Bones give them headaches or the Beggin Strips make their skin itch.  They just know they’re hungry or they’ve done something good and this is their reward.  Wag tail. Show belly. Give kisses.

So let’s make that reward something that they enjoy and that’s good for them.  Today is the first day of the rest of your dog’s life.  Remember, treat healthy and treat often.  But if you can only do one of those things, then treat healthy.  Your dog will make up the difference by living longer.

P.S.  Do yourself a favor too.  Spare yourself the gory details of what “mechanically separated meat” means on the label…  Just stop eating the Slim Jims.  ;-)

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Ethoxyquin is so toxic that the FDA has prohibited it from human consumption except for minute quantities in certain spices (e.g. cayenne pepper).  The FDA, at the behest of veterinarians, has also taken the bold step to recommend to pet product manufacturers (I’m being sarcastic here, guys) to reduce its usage.   Who knows if any of them have reduced it, but Purina still throws it into their Moist ‘n Meaty.  I wonder if they put their factory workers in hazmat suits when it’s time to add the ethoxyquin.  (See Sidebar.)
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About Amy Renz

Amy is the CEO and Pack Leader of Goodness Gracious, LLC (www.GoodnessGraciousTreats.com) and we save lives. We make healthy 100% human-grade, USDA certified, USA sourced dog and cat treats, and give 51% of our profits to local animal shelters, rescues and spay/neuter programs in communities where our treats are sold. Our products include single-ingredient jerky and gluten free biscuits that pets love, and parents love to give. Amy is a Marathoner, a slalom skier, but first a parent to her pack of three beautiful canines. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/goodnessgracioustreats www.GoodnessGraciousTreats.com www.run4rescue.org Twitter @Goodnssgracious
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218 Responses to Where’s the Beef? Why your dog should never eat another Milk-Bone or Beggin Strip, and you should avoid the Slim Jims.

  1. Eva Culp says:

    My daughter sent the article to me and I can’t believe it, everyone should know what their pet is eating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Eva Culp says:

    Everyone should know what they are feeding their dogs……….

  3. Eva Culp says:

    Everyone should know what their dog is eating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. thomas says:

    holy crap my dad has my dog hooked on milk bones and he has actually almost stopped eating and me and my mom were starting to get worried so we went online to find if he could live off milk bones by his choice and i saw this!!! thank you so much for this im going to get rid of the 6.5 kg box infront of me

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  7. Lucy says:

    My dog LOVES milk bones – yet turns her nose up at my home made “dog stew” which costs more than the food I eat! So, “what” is the healthiest/best “treat” to give her?

  8. Vix says:

    As a dog trainer (obedience, agility & flyball) I would NEVER feed my dog “Purina”, yet it’s one of the most expensive dog foods !! (Australia).
    The best is fresh (cheap) raw meat (mince) that can be consumed by humans… (example chicken (including necks or legs) or lamb beef kangaroo & deli offcuts) & even an apple every now & then. As a treat while training try dried “liver” pieces devon or cabanossi.
    Raise your puppy on wheet-bix or porridge & start introducing your leftovers including rice & vegetables, just remember to remove the dog portion before adding any onions or spices. When you make gravy make a little more & keep it stored in the fridge.
    If you do have to feed cans or kibble then I’d recommend “Pal”.
    Don’t forget to clean your dogs teeth once a week as well as a good raw bone.
    A couple of tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil in their dinner a few times a week keeps their coat beautiful & shinny.
    Your puppy/dogs are like kids … they will learn to eat what they are raised on.

    These puppies (any breed) will be your best friend & return your love ten fold …
    Please take your puppy to school & teach it basic obedience.. it makes it easier for you & keeps your little friend safe.
    Desex all puppies, it’s better for their health.

    • Desare Smith says:

      Beautiful!

    • Jess says:

      All of us have a different view on what kind of diet is best for our dogs (I, for one, am of the firm belief that dogs are carnivores and feed mine as such) but even this kind of diet is MUCH better than kibble.

      Also, I would like to please reconsider the “desex all puppies” comment. I have found that my dogs are healthier when intact (although they do require more care due to their hormones so an intact dog is not for the faint of heart!) and no dog should be altered as a puppy. A large breed dog should be at least two years old. Most dogs should be at least 18 months.

      Anyhow, my box of mini milk bones (that were used as training treats) are on their way to the garbage can and I think we’ll just be sticking to our usual baked liver treats from now on. I wish that manufacturers were not allowed to get away with this kind of thing…

      • Jennifer says:

        I would really love to know where you get your information! “No dog should be altered as a puppy”… never in my life have I EVER been told that! I was curious to see if I could find anything online and actually found several that said quite the opposite. One said “Young dogs have less body fat to contend with, are less likely to hemorrhage, have stronger more resilient reproductive organs that are less likely to tear, require much smaller incisions which take less time to close and they recover from anesthesia much more quickly.” And here’s another article that might be of interest http://www.ahimsatx.org/easn/easnmm.htm In one of the articles I just skimmed, I will say that some study concluded that early-age spay could cause urinary incontinence but while a dog may experience a (manageable) health problem later in life, this possibility pales in comparison to the very real and every day killing of millions of healthy dogs. Unless of course you can contain your dog until the age you see fit and will not keep putting it off or you plan on breeding, dogs should be neutered &/or spayed after 8 weeks. :\ “I have found that my dogs are healthier when intact” How can this be? I have grown up with dogs all of my life and have spent 10+ years volunteering at an animal shelter, fostering, doing transports etc etc. “A large breed dog should be at least two years old.”… this sounds backwards since it’s the weight of the dog that’s actually more important than the age.

      • bhbleakley says:

        Actually, the vast majority of dogs will be healthier and longer lived because of spay/neuter, which prevents uterine, ovary and testicular cancers and other serious, life threatening conditions, including uterine infections. It decreases the chances of mammary tumors and decreases malignancy when it does occur. Male dogs can and will have prostrate issues that are eliminated by neutering. I could go on. And then, there is the pet overpopulation problem. Please, for the love of all that is holy, be a responsible pet parent and spay/neuter your animals.

      • tifffany says:

        Re: early spay neuter- sex hormones are there for more reason than breeding. They have functions such as closing growth plates, contributing to healthy adrenal function etc. Early s/n can lead to higher risk of ACL tears and other structural issues due to longer growth time that changes the structure and angulation on a dog. Hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma, cancers which are FAR more deadly than reproductive cancers, are increased as well. If you truly are a responsible dog owner, there is no need to remove healthy organs, because your dog won’t be runing loose breeding.

      • Marri says:

        Also another consideration against early desexing of pups is the fact that they NEED the push of hormones to mentally and emotionally mature them. Behaviorists in the UK are finding that dogs that were neutered prior to release of hormones showed puppy-like behavior, i.e. naughty, frenetic, lack of concentration, in life The behaviorists were called out to retrain adult dogs exhibiting puppy tendencies.
        I agree with tifffany based on the studies I have read. A recent report of the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation reported significantly more behavioral problems in spayed and neutered bitches and dogs. The most commonly observed behavioral problem in spayed females was fearful behavior and the most common problem in males was aggression. (Meuten DJ. Tumors in Domestic Animals. 4th Edn. Iowa State Press, Blackwell Publishing Company, Ames, Iowa, p. 575)
        However, there comes an age I would spay a bitch and that is around 8 years of age (for my breed). At that time factors come in such as increased risk of pyrometra, harder seasons on the bitch, increased risk of diabetes, and increased risk of mammary tumours.
        There is a lot more I could say on this subject, but it is not the platform, and I apologize
        for taking it off subject, but felt it needed addressing. YMMV.

      • Lynnette says:

        THANK YOU, Jess, for correcting that suggestion that people spay and neuter puppies. For many years, I simply believed all the torrent of spay and neuter propaganda. Then I got a dog that taught me why spaying a puppy is animal abuse. She was picked up (along with her mother and brother) by a very reputable shelter in this area. She went into the shelter a healthy, 4 month old border collie puppy, When I bought her from the shelter a few weeks later, she had been spayed. At the time I thought, that doesn’t seem healthy to spay such a young dog. How right I was. She is now 8 years old. She has a list of physical and psychological problems that I have wrestled with all her life. Like a wise dog owner, I have tried to figure out WHY she has each of these problems — once you understand the root of the problem, you are better able to solve it. I found no answers — she is well trained, she lives a well balanced doggy life, she receives consistent wellness care from our vet, and my other dogs do not exhibit the same problems she has.

        Recently I began seeing articles on the problems created by spaying puppies — in every article, every one of my dog’s problems was on the list. Her thyroid is messed up and she is on medication. She has random anxiety attacks that plunge her into a quivering fear mode. She takes a form of doggie Prozac for that. No, I don’t like that idea any better than you do, but we (my vet and I) tried EVERYTHING else first and she is truly suffering when she goes into one of these terror things. Although she is highly trained and she excels as an agility dog, she sometimes has these attacks on the course — or she simply loses focus and goes to pieces. When she is running agility, she knows we are WORKING. She knows when we have incurred a penalty and (only a true dog person will know how true this is) it causes her to go into despair. She gives up on the course and wanders off, sniffing the ground. Though I encourage her verbally and she gets treats after our run, she keenly feels the failure. Border collies are perfectionists and she is not satisfied with anything less than a win. Although she is 8 years old, she still has many of the psychological characteristics of a puppy — flightiness, inability to focus, lack of self control. It’s like she never grows up.

        Those are just the MAIN problems she suffers from. Can I prove it was because she was spayed as a puppy? No, I cannot. However, as I said, every list of problems associated with early spaying includes all of hers. She is, in other ways, an excellent example of a good border collie dog. She has very good sheep herding skills and has scored a LONG list of agility titles. She is outrageously intelligent. In spite of the anxiety attacks, she is gentle and has a reliable enough temperament that we do therapy work in assisted living places. Her mother (who was spayed when she was a few years old) and brother do not exhibit the same psychological problems. After 8 years of watching all this and researching possible causes, I am convinced — an early spay doomed this fine dog to a life of conflict (between her love of work and her inability to focus) and frustration. Plus, her physical problems with thyroid, frequent urinary tract infections, etc. which were also very possbily caused by the early spay are not any fun for her either. I recently acquired a new puppy. She is not spayed and she never will be.

        I too have read all the passionate junk about preventing cancer by removing a young dog’s female organs. Even before I realized how bad spaying is, I found the logic in that to be faulty. I could also prevent cranial cruciate tears by having my dog’s hind legs amputated at an early age.

        I would say, if you MUST spay your dog, wait until she is at least two years old. Also, look into the less invasive and destructive tubal ligation. It is the same operation women have when they “have their tubes tied”. It completely prevents pregnancy, but it leaves the female organs intact so they can do their other vital work.

  9. Carlee Angel says:

    I am sick to my stomach just thinking that I WAS giving my dog something that would harm her. This is a disgrace, I think the FDA, Purina, Del Monte, and all the others should be ashamed of themselves. After I am done with this message I will be cleaning out the goodies that Carlee once loved. I will do a lot more research on this before I buy her any kind of treats again. What is wrong with the world how could someone want to make money by killing something so defenceless, the scary part is that I was helping them until now. Thank you for the real incite on what the dog food companies are doing to our animals.

    • Victoria says:

      And its not just treats, most of those ingredients are present in popular grocery store food brands such as beneful, dog chow, iams, pro plan, eukanuba as well as vet endorsed foods like Science diet. Stay away from mainstream pet foods, most of them are garbage.

    • Ned No D says:

      Acana and Orijen are really good dog food brands.

      Treat wise, my dog eats peanut butter biscuits a local pet bakery makes (4 ingredients one being rice flour and of course, peanut butter). He loves them to death. He use to eat milk bones until I started him on these, now he spits out a milk bone if someone gives him one as if they’re trying to kill him. Smart dog. Smart, spoiled, happy dog.

      Same goes with my cats- their treats- fresh cooked chicken, salmon, beef, bison, etc or tuna biscuits we make at home.

      Ditto with the sugar gliders, but with meal worm biscuits.

  10. Deb says:

    oh my god..my dog loves Beggin’ Strips, and i refuse after reading this article…he will no longer be given those…From now on i am going to the pet store…He loves the cookies from there.
    Thx so much for the info..i love my dog, he is a part of my Family, and my son loves him also..

    Scary..thx again.
    Deb

  11. T Carr says:

    yeah, just take their word for it..dont do any research on your own.

    • researched says:

      This matches the research I’ve been doing for the past 7 years. This stuff is crap, garbage, and should be removed from the market. The average person buying it has no clue. I hear it at work “Oh look, do you think he’d like the cheese Beggin Strips?” People are gullible and will assume that if it is on the shelf, it’s safe for their pets. It’s not.

  12. linda says:

    well TCarr….this is has been doing research….but i agree, i’ll follow up further and start paying more attention to what’s in the dog food ingredients. pro plan is suppose to be a good food, guess i’ll check the ingredients and we’ll see just how good it is

  13. menno van ingen says:

    Pro plan, Royal Canin, Milk bones…….., people…….we surely seem lost in the jungle of petfoods, buying pretty packages with apealing names and are we not glad when it is on special offer !!!!
    Wake up people and give a (sensible ) thought about what your pets should be eating.
    There used to be a time when there where no supermarkets, let alone pet stores and pets have been around long before that…..what did they eat ?
    If it is good for you, it usually is for your pet, so have some Purina, Milk bones or whatever it is that you buy for your best friend. I don’t think you’ll be buying it again.
    Like Vix mentioned in her reply, think fresh, think chewing and your half way there.
    Do not get lulled into a false sense of security by fancy names on a pretty package.
    Trust your own judgement and start reading the labels if you buy petfood.
    Merry Christmas everyone…..

  14. kay Karr says:

    I am positive that ethoxyquin is the cause in my dogs seizures. They started 2 months after I switched her to Proplan last fall and she had one every 2 months on the dot. Her last one was Feb 13, 2011. That night I switched her food and she hasn’t had a seizure since.

    • Linda Feldvari says:

      Hi Just curious as I also have a dog that has seizures, but the reason behind this is because of the grains that are in the dog food/treats. I now feed my lil rescue (Pom) grain free treats and food and he hasn’t had a seizure since. The food that you are now feeding your dog, is it grain free? That may be the reason why she doesn’t have any seizures anymore? Just a heads up on the grains vs grain free dog food, as I would never have believed it if it wasn’t for our current rescues side effects from this type of ingredient. I also have two Collies that I feed the SSS Pro plan dog food and they don’t have any issues of any kind. My one girl used to have hot spots and has stopped since I started her on the Salmon & Brown Rice Formula (SSS) Pro Plan.

      • Peggy says:

        I also have a Pomeranian who suffers seizures after eating certain foods. Same foods effect me, so we both have to be careful of what we eat! He does fine if I do not give him any commercial treats, and such. His favorite treat these days is a baby carrot. :)

      • Debera Robinette says:

        I LIKE YOUR ARTICLE. I HAVE A DOG THAT HAS SEIZURES. HE HAS BEEN ON THE PHENO FOR 2 YEARS AND THEY JUST DON’T STOP. I AM GOING TO TRY YOUR SUGGESTIONS. I AM GETTING RID OF THE MILK BONES . I DID BUY THE RACHEL REY 6 INGREDIANT DOG FOOD THE OTHER DAY. HOPING THIS MAY HELP. THANK GOODNESS FOR THE INTERNET IN BRINGING US THIS INFORMATION AND PEOPLE LIKE YOU ALL. I AM SO FRUSTRATED IN MY SITUATION AND IT JUST KILLS ME EVERYTIME I HAVE TO SEE MY DOG SUFFER. ANY OTHER INFO YOU HAVE PLEASE E-MAIL ME

  15. Jennifer says:

    Great article! Thanks so much for sharing this information. It doesn’t surprise me at all. If you are concerned about the dog treats, you’ll want to know the dangers of many commercial pet foods (See the researched article on Pet Food Myths at http://www.oberhund.wordpress.com ; it’s about 7 articles down. It lists the resources, too, for more information.)

    One tip ALL pet owners should definitely know: the dangers of mycotoxins that are found in high concentrations of any pet food with any type of grain as an ingredient. These molds increase due to poor storage at the factory and these mycotoxins increase with improper storage at home. The mycotoxins produced by these molds are deadly and cause all sorts of problems in all body systems (digestive system, nervous system, immune system, hormonal system, circulatory system, etc.). You’ll definitely want to buy smaller bags of kibble (if you have to buy kibble), keep it in its original bag, and store it in the freezer.

    Read more at http://www.oberhund.wordpress.com “Pet Food Myths”

  16. Kathleen Unsell says:

    Oh My Gosh! Well…..I get frowns all the time when I tell people that we feed our dog a high-end kibble, then cook our own chicken and beef (keep the broth) and feed them our food too, minus the salt and spices whenever possible. We had a husky-mix named Annie that lived to be over 15 years old…not ONE health issue EVER in her whole life. She lived on human food and everyone used to raise their eyebrows when I told them. Dog food is crap….we had 3 dachshunds before that who lived into their late teens…yep, leftovers too. My grandparents never bought a bag or can of dogfood in their lives. Their dog never went to the vet except for shots…she lived to be 19 years old, under the porch of the farmhouse! Although I don’t think all dog food is bad, I am a believer in people food for dogs….using common sense of course.

    • Mel says:

      Actually many spices are very good for dogs, just like for humans! Oregano, basil, turmeric, cayenne, ginger, parsley, rosemary . . . all have beneficial qualities. We cook our dogs’ meals too, but use tons of spices in the cooking process. Plus, they help the meat last longer in the fridge!

  17. Shirley says:

    Our dog is almost 17 years old & still quite healthy. When she was young I discovered that she couldn’t digest anything with poultry in it so we switched to a vegetarian dog food. I’m sure this is why she has done so well. She also loves carrots, celery, radishes & other fress veggies from our garden & we don’t tell her that they are good for her!

  18. Tammi says:

    This is why the one rule of thumb while grocery shopping should apply to your pets as well!! Stay to the outside isles of your local grocery store!! They don’t put purina pet food on the outside isles for a reason! Or bits n bites or kibbles n bits! it’s all GARBAGE!!! treats and all!! Raw and raw dehydrated kibble and raw dehydrated treats are the way to go! Like rawhide and bully sticks and liver treats and even k9 natural treats!!

  19. Thank you! My patients get this for themselves…but what a great write up for them to learn about their pets. I hope to see you on the road running!

  20. Tom says:

    Just bought a 40# bag of Kibbles and Bit’s. What shopuld I do with it? Thank’s Tom

  21. Dan says:

    I’m not saying you are wrong but I have had dogs live to be 19 years old and fed them plane Jane dog food. As I have tried to check your facts I have not found anything anywhere that backs your claims. I would love to know where you got this info. I plan on having chemical testing done on these treats to see if your claims are true. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my dogs health but I have a feeling you are making worse then it is.

    • Jodi says:

      As a certified Canine Nutritionist, I whole heartedly agree with the post and it only takes a few hours of research to substantiate these claims if you know where to look. The ingredients are openly declared on the labels, but the companies are crafty so you have to know where to look. For example, in Beggin’s Strips, you won’t find Sodium Nitrite on the label, but you will find Sodium Nitrite in “liquid smoke flavour” which is on the label. They openly declare the use of “meat”, BHA, yellow #6, blue 1 & 2 and more right on the packaging.

      The foods we feed are not by far the only factor that affects health and if your dogs are living to 19, then you have been very lucky. This used to be the norm, before the invention of modern day kibbles and treats. As a nutritionist, I see every day how poor quality food is damaging our pet populations overall health. You’ve been lucky to have pets thrive on “plain jane foods”, but I strongly encourage you to dig deeper. Try grabbing a bag of your favourite grocery store brand treats and google each of the ingredients. Read up on them from reliable sites – like university studies, technical journals and veterinary publications. Don’t settle for the A-OK of a dog food company rep saying “Yep. This is great stuff.” or of a Blogger reviewing it and saying it’s good or bad. Really dig deep and get to know exactly what goes into your dog’s food and treats. I am sure you will learn exactly what I did – that the pet food companies simply couldn’t produce the products they do for the prices they do without cutting some corners. That the things that are cheap (corn, wheat and other grains) are not necessarily things our dogs bodies are even designed to digest and that we allow a whole lot of scary things to go into our pet food chain that science has already proven are dangerous and we’ve eliminated from our own foods. It’s a real eye opener. If you are interested in educating yourself on pet food, I highly recommend a book by Marion Smart, a veterinary professor in Small Animal Nutrition & Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Michael Fox, a respected veterinarian in his field and well known animal advocate and Elizabeth Hodgkins a respected DVM, Esq who is dedicated to teaching other vets about proper nutrition. The book is called Not Fit for a Dog (or Cat) and it is a well presented look at the pet food industry and an all around good read for anyone curious about how the kibble gets to the bowl.

    • Jody says:

      Another book you can read is Food Pets Die For by Ann N. Martin. She has been doing research into pet foods since 1990. Also, go to Dr. Mercola’s website and click on pets. There are many articles on food. As Jodi put it, you’ve been very lucky. I had a dog die of stomach cancer at age 9 and we fed Ol’ Roy. It wasn’t pretty. I have all my dogs on a raw food diet and they are extremely healthy. It’s a more species appropriate food. I definitely encourage you to do lots of research. What you will find will turn your stomach! Good Luck!

    • Peggy says:

      After you check your dog foods, check your human food as well. Many things go into your foods that if you look up individual ingredients, you’d be disgusted by what you find out what is added to human food that causes medical issues. For example the artificial sweetners that are supposed to make food low calorie. Dogs aren’t considered as important when it comes to food quality.

  22. jana says:

    i have found that there is much truth to the junk being bad for the dogs. After one of my dogs lost 10 pounds last year, started to lose fur, became smelly, had recurring yeast infections in his ears, and sores from scratching we changed his food. He had to be bathed weekly in special shampoo, get shots and see the vet. We tried a number of “good” foods, only for him to get worse again. FINALLY, we put him on INSTINCT… five healthy ingredients. He is thriving. Fur is thick and shiny, he gained weight, doesn’t smell. I also give my dogs grain free treats and healthy treats. I am now making them a homemade sweet potato treat!! Due to the cost, I cannot feed all my dogs Instinct, so I mix Pedigree with the Kirkland brand dog food (Costco) Their ingredients are pretty good, but now I need to check them as well. :( So far, none of my other dogs are having any problems! I do know that as with human food, there are things that are not good… we have to read labels!! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Peggy says:

      My mother was a dog groomer for almost 30 years. She noticed the changes in one particular poodle’s coat when the owners switched to a brand of dog food. She asked them to switch back to the other food, and ta da, the hair came back in nice and thick. But the owners said the dog didn’t like the food as much, so switched back to the bad food. So much for the nice coat. As a dog groomer myself, I knew that when a dog’s coat suddenly changed, or started getting hot spots it was usually from their diet. In the early 90′s when pig ears became so popular, we noticed a lot of dogs couldn’t eat them, as they started getting stinky, ear infections, itchy, hot spots, thyroid troubles, etc. If we could get them to stop feeding them to the dogs, they always improved. If they didn’t listen, or the vet decided they could be fixed with meds, the dogs suffered, and the owners pocket books were emptied out. My personal experience was with a standard poodle. He loved Yummy Chummies, made with Salmon. He scratched himself bloody whenever he was given them after a while. My boss knew someone who got them free from the maker, so she had the treats around the shop all the time. I had a hard time convincing her to stop giving them to my dog. I was told the impurities in the fish oils come out through the skin, by a nutritionist. Dog quality fish oil has a lot of impurities. I also saw another poodle who was given fish oil, and had hot spots…when she stopped putting fish oil in his food, his skin improved. Ironically the vet had suggested the fish oil. Some dogs might handle it, but I know those two dogs I mentioned couldn’t. No fish oil, no scratching, and no hot spots.

      • Amy Renz says:

        Hi Peggy,

        Thank you for your post. I think perhaps the nutritionist is on to something… the quality of the fish oil. I believe Yummy Chummies are a China brand??? There could be something lurking in the treats that’s causing the reaction. I would be curious if a fish oil capsule for people – like the kind one could find at a health food store, or Whole Foods would cause the same problem.

        Amy

  23. Great post, and something else for me to reference in my upcoming coursework on dog food (if that’s OK?).
    I just wish people would understand that the foods with the cheaper prices are actually: a) full of this crap; b) cause bigger vet bills in the long run; and c) are also more expensive in the long run too.
    I was talking to a friend last week, she feeds her 8Kg dog on supermarket own brand tins & mixer (eugh!), which costs her about £1.50 per day. I feed my 20Kg dog on high quality kibble, and it costs me less than 50p per day. People need to learn to research!

  24. Linda says:

    Where are your references to scientific studies? I know some of what you say is true, but is it all or are you just trying to incite anger? Prove it to me.

    • BaconsDad says:

      Are you stoned or just stupid? Every ingredient discussed has references. Read ALL of the links, not just whats convenient… Its ALL available in the facts and figures. Having done business in China in 2005, I can attest to the conditions discussed. Having just picked my 2 year old flatcoat retriever from a 3 day hospital stay for pancreatitis after a bag of Happy Hips Chicken Jerky, I am tending to side with the authors… Wake up.

      • marie says:

        I have a flat coat retreiver, love him so much, rescue dog with heart worm when we adopted him 2 years ago, but such a picky eater, and spoiled by us. He will not eat dry food I tried every best food in pet stores, he loves beggin strips and milk bone for treats which I threw away after doing my own online ingredient research. He does eat wet food if its the one he likes. Going to pet store today to buy him some home made cookies treats.

  25. I NEED to know what kind of treats are OK for my Yorkie,, are there any commercially made ones that DON’T have bad stuff in them ?? If I need to I will buy a food dehydrator !! Thank You SO Much for this article !!!

    • Victoria says:

      there are several brands on the market, such as blue buffalo and wellness, solid gold, zukes, pure bites just to name a few. I get the cookie type treats at big lots, I cant recall the brands now, but they are not mainstream ones like purina. Just check the ingredients,, wheat is ok in small quantities unless your dog is allergic. But they should not have byproducts, BHA/BHT, ethoxyquin and dyes.

      • Shannon says:

        I give my eleven month old pup a raw diet. For treats he gets carrots, fruit, and home made biscuts sometimes a gizzard. I wouldn’t get a dehydrator, you don’t want to cook or dry the good stuff out of your treats. When I first started giving him carrots, apples, etc. he wasn’t interested but he learned that they were yummy. He is now the most excited little eater you’ll find, flying through the air and dancing happily at my feet.

      • syracuseny says:

        Make sure those “cookie-type” treats you get at Big Lots are not made in China. Big Lots tends to carry the Chinese treats that are killing dogs.

    • I fed my dog Natural Balance sweet potato and fish bones. Great product…check out the label. My dog goes crazy for them :)

  26. Shari Leonard says:

    I lost my sheltie to trigonal cancer, she was only 7 yrs old, my second sheltie developed a tumor on his head, had surgery 2 yrs ago and it’s growing back and now has a growth growing by his rectum, he is 8 yrs old now, ,I blamed our water, because it eats my faucets all the time, my daughters new puppy I only feed Royal Canine (not sure if this is a good brand) and bottled water. I’ve been telling my husband it’s in the dogfood also, if I give my sheltie a bagged treat he gets the diarrhea. I can’t afford to go organic w/our dogs because I have to do it for my children,my son has food allergies from all the crap they put in formula, food, and vaccines he received as a child, I skipped the vaccines w/my daughter.

  27. Shania Garay says:

    Canine Commissary is an Independent Pet Supply Supermart in the Dallas and Plano Area who stock a wide variety of healthy treats, and they do not carry Milk Bones or any of the other products listed in this article. They have the BEST nutrition for your pets, in treats and diets!

    • Stella Jobe says:

      Are they online? This ARTICLE has scared me to death. I feel like I’ve been poisoning my 4 shin tzus every day for several years. I stopped buying the chicken strips made in China but hadn’t heard about the Beggin Strips which they love. I’ve even been cooking them chicken hearts, livers, boiled chicken, and lamb instead of dog food. So I thought I was being a good “parent” to them. Now I read this and worried about it all night. I can’t believe the FDA allows this!!!! I’d like to order from this company if they’re online.

  28. Darlene says:

    This is a great dog food that I use,it is formulated by a vet here in the U.S.
    http://www.lifesabundance.com/Pets/PetsHome.aspx?realname=40099745&cat=0&hdr=&Ath=False

    I also buy fried pork rinds for treats, Chicaronas, Yes that is a snack we buy as humans.
    I also give them once in a while raw beef rib bones.

  29. Amy says:

    This article was eye opening. I did a little research afterwards on the chemicals that were listed, it was pretty easy to find that if its not safe for human consumption, it will not be safe to give to our pets. Like everything, you have to look at the label. The “fillers” in dog treats are ridiculous along with the preservatives. I am going to start making my own dog treats and look into a better dog food. I didn’t find Science Diet Dog food to list any of those preservatives but it had a lot of fillers. I think it’s the lesser of the other dog food evils. I want the best for my dogs and you really opened my eyes to the dangers of commercial treats, especially those found in your local grocery store/ chain store such as Target or Walmart.

    • Victoria says:

      science diet is overpriced garbage.

    • Arlene says:

      Years ago I kept an abandoned and abused dog that showed up on my doorstep. One of the many issues she experienced was a bad case of mange. In treating all of her issues my vet advised choosing a high end dog food. Never having owned a dog, I chose Hills Science Diet. Her coat never did fill back in like it should have. I thought it was a consequence of the severity of the mange. After feeding her this diet for 7 years she developed severe gastric issues. I started feeding her blue buffalo and, lo and behold, not only did the gastric issues resolve themselves but her coat became full, soft and quite beautiful! I could kick myself every day for feeding her that sub-standard, supposedly high end dog food. Now, I research everything I feed her!

  30. SlingSlangorkr says:

    None of the information is proven and thus just a poor attempt to get people worked up. My 16 year
    old retrievers enjoy milk bones each day. Never a health problem for either. Please check your information.

    • Just because your dogs have lived to 16 and get fed milks bones each day isn’t proof that they’re not full of junk either.
      On many dog foods they list all the ingredients, including that ones that have been BANNED for human consumption, such as the blue dye the used to use in Smarties because it was PROVED to cause hyperactivity; there are others too, that have been PROVED to be carcinogenic, and yet millions of people worldwide believe the advertising hype & feed their dogs this junk. Some – like yours – for whatever reason, aren’t affected; others, however, die young, get lots of cancers, or are generally “unwell” all their lives because of it.

  31. Victoria says:

    To the skeptics out there, what proof do you need? good the ingredients and find out for yourself. I find it mind boggling that people continue to feed this garbage willingly to their animals because its cheap and convenient. I cant imagine gambling with my pets health like that when there are tons of healthier alternatives out there.
    Another argument is that “its only a treat and it wont hurt them”.Chances are that majority of the people that feed beggin strips, milk bones, pupperonis, etc dont read pet food labels either, so day after day your pet is consuming carcinogenic additives, dyes, unnamed byproducts which can include euthanized shelter animals (http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/ap42/ch09/final/c9s05-3.pdf ) , gmo corn just to name a few. The immune system can only fight against these chemicals short term, next thing you know Sparky is diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, dental problems just to name a few and the owners are baffled. They rush to the vet and prescribed shots, pills which never cure the underlying condition, but keep the animal alive for the remainder of its short miserable life.

    • Darlene says:

      Watch This and you will see first hand what goes in to pet food !!!!!!

      • Beth S says:

        I feel completely sick to my stomach! Not only are we allowing this to happen but we are buying this for our pets! Who thinks of doing this stuff????? EVIL EVIL PEOPLE!!!!

  32. Jenny says:

    Amy, I am so glad you posted this information. It’s quite disgusting that pet food companies are allowed to get away with serving up crap to our beloved pets. I bet the founders of these companies don’t feed their pets their own food! I grew up in an environment where pet food didn’t exist and pets were fed human food/leftovers. Guess what? Pets in general lived to ripe old ages and didn’t die prematurely. Would you please consider starting a petition to get the FDA to put more stringent requirements on pet food ingredients? I have seen too many cats die of kidney failure at ages 5 to 8 from eating kibbles. I’d be happy to help get signatures. LMK

  33. LaVerne says:

    I started two years ago preparing my 4 year old Yorkies’ food. Slow cooked chicken thighs (skin removed) in a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a little low soduim (organic) chicken broth w/ combinations of carrots, peas, brown rice and sometimes a little pasta, string beans, kale or collards, sweet potato, pumpkin and parsley. Turkey and good quality beef are prepared the same, then placed in containers and frozen until needed. This along w/ Blue Buffalo small breed dry food and their treats. Also, beef soup bones from maket cut down to her size. We tryed her early on w/ several brands of food all of which she rejected or got soft, smelly stool. This diet she loves. Did give milk bones recently but she would take them and hide all over the house, not eating so we stopped buying. Now that I’ve read all of this, will never buy, will make her treats as well. Passing to all my friends, several of which purchase those treats and food.

    • edith turner says:

      do you have rescipeds for dog treats that you would share? thank you

    • Char says:

      I know it’s been awhile since you posted but just in case.I have 5 Yorkies ( all pets ) .I feed pretty well the same thing and my dogs thrive on it.The only other things that I add is squash, ground flax, wheat germ and washed and cleaned egg shells.I crush the shells in a bag with a rolling pin.My vet told me to toast them a bit.Mix it all together and freeze.My vet helped me with making this food.She’s against dog food as well but of course can not say anything about it.I make an extra large batch of another kind of meat base, put it in the oven on 250 F for hours and keep stirring it.I end up with the best kibble.I also freeze it.It’s great to take on holidays, where you can’t be making food.I will not be subject to my dogs passing away over a food.By the way my one Yorkie is 17 years old and can keep right up with the others.I hope this helps.You can get a vit. min mix to add to your dog food so you know that you are feeding a balanced diet.

  34. Katharine says:

    We feed our younger Shepherd a mix of Evo red meat and Blue Wilderness salmon and our older girl Wellness mixed with Innova. She can’t handle high protein so we have to go with junkier food unfortunately. I know Innova isn’t as good since they were bought but does anyone know anything specifically bad about these brands? We are moving our younger girl to a raw diet but she has a sensitive stomach so its a slow process to avoid projectile diarrhea.

  35. Carole Nazar says:

    I am interested in the Blue Wilderness salmon since it has been getting good reviews. I mix it with a lower protein food for my older boxer too.

  36. Lynn says:

    While some of the better kibble products were mentioned here (grain free, preservative free, etc.), please do more reading. Dogs (and cats BTW) are CARNIVORES. Our pets are the only animals we get and do no research into what they should be fed. This is how the pet food industry is able to fool million into buying CRAP for our dogs and cats…it is a huge business and our pets are paying the price: early cancers, seizures, itchy skin, hotspots, smelly breath from rotting teeth and oily smelly coats. This is not normal for a healthy pet! If you bought a horse, would you feed it a steak?? Dogs need to eat what carnivores have eaten for thousands of years: meat, bones, organs. All raw. It’s the easiest diet in the world, complete from Mother Nature. Everyone professes to LOVE their pets: then fed them a species appropriate diet. Isn’t that just logical?

    • Amy Renz says:

      Hi Lynn,
      Thank you for reading and posting. I have never suggested that dogs shouldn’t eat meat. They are omnivores. Healthy dogs need a high protein, moderate fat, low carb diet. It’s the quality of the ingredients that concerns me. Unidentifiable “meat” or “meat and bone meal” (instead of something identifiable like “lamb”) is what needs to be avoided.
      Amy

  37. John Newkirk says:

    Are carrots okay for dogs? Our’s just love’em. I can’t imagine they would be bad for them.
    We do ration them out, as too much of any thing….is’nt a good thing.

    • Carrots are fine. They are great to give to puppies who are teething. I give my 13 year Keeshond mix Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Fish bones. Read the label . My dog LOVES them.

    • 3Ratties says:

      Carrots are okay, John, if you don’t mind them going right through your dogs. They can’t digest them. They love them as treats though.

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  39. Patricia Horvat says:

    every pet owner should read this

  40. michael says:

    my uncle feeds his dog our kind of food and milk bones every day he really does think and believe that are kind of food and only milk bones are good enough for his dog i cant even eat in the front room because he says give his dog what ever im eating and i don’t because its not good for her to eat he never buys the dog dog-food never only milk-bone-treats he thinks that’s good enough for her because of the vitamins that are in the milk-bones this is the only thing he feeds his dog he feeds her hamburgers chicken pork-chops he really does think what ever we eat she can eat as-well and i say NO

  41. michael says:

    i hate my uncles damn little shit and piss on the floor dog i hate it i always end up stepping in shit and dog piss that the dumb little bitch always does outside my door way then i track it in my room i just hate little dogs if its not a big dog i wont like it i think big dogs are smarter then small ones

  42. michael says:

    and she always drags her ass on the floor

  43. Leigh says:

    I had been looking for a reason why my GSP was having upset stomach in the morning (like 4 in the morning!!). I was feeding him Solid Gold Lamb with a bit of cooked hamburger mixed in. I took out the burger and he seemed to be fine. Then another episode. I switched him to Canidea Pure land and again seemed to be fine. Then this morning – again 4am -he was whining to go out to puke. I had such an “AH HA” moment when I realized I had taken him to our bank yesterday where they give out Milkbones!!!! I am 99.9% sure this is the reason for his sour and rumbley stomach but will keep you posted. At home he only gets all natural veggie treats….
    Thanks so much for this article. Every pet owner should read this.

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  46. Jackie Hill says:

    please read if you are an animal lover!

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  50. elisse dailye says:

    I give my dog treats a lot.what can I give him.and Are China toys safe?

  51. Thank you so much for this article. I give my 2 dogs a Milkbone every day…:( I am going to Petco to change out their treats ASAP!!

  52. monina says:

    my Dad’s dog lived 20 yrs.. guess what he eats.. left over and human foods.. and he is a vet dr.

    • diane says:

      wow!! that’s great but my vet says not to give table food to her.. i don’t know why…but i do give her veg she loves them.

      • bob horne says:

        maybe it’s because vets don’t sell table food( it’s about making money) Growing up in the 60s we fed all of our dogs table food because there was no extra money, Think people, its all about making money ( dog food makers,vets, and stores.

    • Char says:

      Years ago there was no such a thing as dog food.We fed food scraps.I remember my Grandma cooking a bit more for when it was cold outside.The inside dog was fed the same but she did her carrots and a lot of the raw things mentioned here.

  53. Anna says:

    Thanks for the article! Need some advice from the knowledgeable kind souls out there as I try to change my dog’s diet…
    1. Are all milk bones harmful or only those from the Del Monte brand?
    2. Anyone knows if the “Addiction” brand is ok? It is a highly expensive brand, but lately my dog has been vomiting from certain batches of “Addiction” Vegetarian Food.
    3. I have tried putting my Maltese on the “Barf” frozen raw meats that are supposed to be good for dogs as they are supposedly the “natural diet” of wolves, but my dog vomits every time from it, regardless of whether it is Turkey or any other meat.
    4. I know that vegetarian diet is not the natural diet for dogs, but my Maltese gets skin problems and scratches constantly whenever he is on a meat diet, even on a pure Fish kibbles, e.g. the brand “Fish 4 Dogs”, which is supposed to be a very good brand?
    5. Is it ok to change my dog’s diet regularly? Pet shops and instructions on commercial pet food packaging always say that we should introduce a new pet food slowly. Is it bad for my dog if I alternate constantly b/w different home-cooked food and pet food?

    • Marri says:

      Not sure if you have found your answers yet Anna.
      1) I am not sure if you are in the US or the UK, but since you mentioned Fish 4 Dogs I am thinking UK. Any product labeled in the UK that reads “EC (or EU) approved preservatives” is NOT a good product to give your dog. It contains the aforementioned chemicals. So Pedigree is out. I’ve switched to mostly Sainsbury’s brand treats as they contain vitamins and herbs as preservatives. But READ their labels as well, some products, usually the one with chicken and bacon, contain the EC & EU preservatives. LOL, if you are US, then above labeling does not apply. But the main advice – read the label – applies.
      2) Thinking you are US now. I’ve no experience with the Addiction brand.
      3) BARF is not for all dogs. Some cannot tolerate it, so I think I would listen to yours and refrain from feeding it.
      4) I received a Fish 4 Dogs sample and the first thing I found in label reading was the “EC (or EU) approved preservatives”. It went straight into the rubbish.
      5) If by alternating you mean one day of home cooking and one of commercial food, that should be all right. But say one month of one and then switch off, no, that I would not do. One thing to remember, by constantly changing out our dogs’ diets we are creating fussy eaters. It is best to find the one food and stick with it. It did take me 2 years to find a food my gal with colitis could and would tolerate. From that day almost 5 years ago we have never looked back.
      Hope this might help you.

  54. Deborah Laird says:

    Please can you tell me if Pet food companies in Australia are doing this and who they are?

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  56. Norma Super says:

    More info from the horrendous pet food industry in the US!! I lost a beautiful Australian Shepherd 4 month old puppy in January. Vets couldn’t diagnose her and on necropsy…still not completely conclusive but she was in acute renal failure with mineralized organs. Unequivocally it was from the Purina One canned lamb and rice canned that only she ate. I have had private testing done on her kidney and the FDA is handling the food testing. NEVER, ever, ever will any furbaby of mine eat any commercial food. They are all four thriving on raw human grade meat and loving every meal!!

    • Belinda O says:

      Norma, I’m so sorry for the loss of your little baby. It’s comforting to know that you have other babies to bring joy to your life, and that you’re doing a great thing with their diets. Reading this article was an eye-opening experience for me as I have used a few of the products mentioned. My first furbaby passed due to a liver tumor, the second to tonsillar cancer. Both were fixed, so the spay/neuter issue to me is moot. My current furbaby who is 10 1/2 has had allery/chewing issues for over a year and I suspect it’s caused by the use of these particular products. All those treats are going in the trash today. What we need to do is spread this article around to family, friends and any pet lover we know and perhaps we can save some precious pets from an early demise.

  57. Dee says:

    as a new dog owner at 52 my motto…read read read the label…if beef is number one or two back on the shelf it goes…..so far Natural Balance has suited our dogs needs who once was eating Purina which he wouldnt eat for me after adoption went through!

  58. Dee says:

    meant isnt one or two lol

  59. Anthony G.1 says:

    Oh my god holy cow i’ve been giving my best friends milk bones all their life and i just lost my second oldest red nose pit 2 days ago and been reading up on symptoms,meds,average life etc.he was shy of 15. +2 others out of 3 left r close in age. After all this info n protien meal video ice breaker i would definately disassociate myself with the persons who made me switch to ol’roy after 14yrs +, noticing now the decline in their health since switching in the past 6 months. No matter what anyone says i felt he should’ve lived longer.thinking of it now its been one thing after another since switching foods in the 3 oldest,two14+n one15+n the 4yrold had some rash n ear issues. Listen i thank you for your valuable info and will pass it on to all friends n now enimies because i love animals so much and without their parents (owners) knowing they might not have a better chance. My boy who just passed favorite was milkbones treats etc. He ate his last one five min before he gave up. He was even to tired to wash it down. Hopefully this all was helpful n lets all say a prayer for Red (beauty,storm,daisey) n all above n below.
    .Thank You Again Anthony Dogs.

  60. Marri says:

    We have found here in the UK there is absolutely no control on dog food ingredients whatsoever. A friend has researched extensively after having lost 2 of her dogs at relatively young ages. She found that of the dog foods available here there are only a handful who do not include the above. One of them is a food I’ve been feeding for the last 4 years – Arden Grange. I found it was the only food my gal can tolerate – and thrive on. She has colitis, does not tolerate chicken or lamb, or rice. She positively glows on the Arden Grange Sensitive (Whitefish & Potato).
    People need to realize that dogs are like people. They all have the cancer gene, as we do, and what activates it in one does not in another. Some dogs can tolerate the BARF diets, some can’t. Personally on the advice of 2 different vets it is not an option for us. As they both independently told me, “If we as humans are being told to make sure our meats are thoroughly cooked prior to consumption, WHY should we feed raw meats to our dogs? Back in the day of a local butcher and meats being fresh it was different. Now it is not and even I will not feed my dog raw.”

    The best treats we can feed are ones we make ourselves from fresh ingredients. Dehydrate thoroughly thin strips of meat for jerky. Google for dog treat recipes, read them carefully, remove any sugar, and tweak them for your pet. (A small amount of honey in a treat is not a bad thing.) Naturally do not include toxic ingredients, onions and massive amounts of garlic or broccoli. Be careful in the amount of liver you give your dog as well. While some is good, large amounts are not.
    If your dog can tolerate raw vegetables (some can not as my two attest) give the those as treats. The Service Dog trainers here in the UK mix raw veg with a little cream cheese to accustom the dog to the veg, then they reduce the amount of cream cheese. Try different types of veg with them to see what they favor. Fruits are another treat – apples (no from any fruit pips or grapes or raisins), pears, bananas. I have a dog who adores mango and strawberries, and another who picks blackberries off the bushes on walks!
    Make yourselves aware, READ and understand the ingredients. We agreed to become responsible for our companions when we brought them into our lives, and this is part of it.

    • tinkerwolf says:

      “If we as humans are being told to make sure our meats are thoroughly cooked prior to consumption, WHY should we feed raw meats to our dogs? Back in the day of a local butcher and meats being fresh it was different. Now it is not and even I will not feed my dog raw.” Any vet that says this has no idea about a dog’s digestive system, hilarious but very scary that they assume because a human omnivore can’t eat something raw that a canine carnivore can’t either! But then we know their nutrition training comes from the pet food companies and so not surprising they’re brainwashed this way.

      • Animal Health Tech says:

        Any Veterinarian knows more about an animal’s digestive system than an average Joe Blow off the street and if you knew more about Canis Lupus Familiaris you would know that domesticated dogs are omnivores not obligate carnivores like domesticated felines. Also just a tidbit take a dog nutrition course before raving on, dogs need nutrients found elsewhere than meat. And feeding an all meat diet (whether BARF or properly cooked) is leading your poor dogs kidneys to working overtime because of the extremely high amounts of protein and lack of essential vitamins and minerals.

  61. Rawbee Fletcher says:

    After reading all of this I am honestly truly horrified. I have been giving my dog many of these treats and foods. Ever since she was a puppy she has had urinary problems, digestion problems, vomiting problems, and a few other things. I feel like I am such a horrible owner now. This is my first dog and this has made it very clear to me that I have been doing everything wrong. Literally seconds after reading this I got up and threw away her treats, and food, and I am currently now endlessly searching for the perfect diet for her, including daily meals, snacks, & treats. I am very happy I read this. My dog is my life, and I would do anything for her. Even if it meant making meals from scratch for her everyday. I hope that I can find a very detailed list of what IS good for her, and what will help her live a longer, healthier, happier life. Thank you so much for opening my eyes.

    • tinkerwolf says:

      Google “Raw Meaty Bones” and get reading. There are peer reviewed books written by a vet behind this diet and I have read countless stories of dogs with the problems you describe thriving on a raw diet.

  62. Amber says:

    After reading this, I looked at my dogs treats and we had almost all of those treats on the list. Guess where they are going now! (Trash can) I am never going to buy those brands again and will be WAY more careful buying treats and also make sure all my treats from now on are all made in the USA. No more made in China brands, they have lost my trust totally.

  63. Pat O'Connor says:

    My 5 year old neutered male shiba inu started getting really aggressive after eating the latest batch of milk-bones. It lasted for 20 minutes. He bit me twice on the hand and would go looking for the cats. I think the problem only started with this box, but no more for him

  64. Angel Harris says:

    Zinc sulfate is a supplement that sold to prevent and treat zinc deficiency in humans under several brand names and is quite safe (see link http://www.drugs.com/mtm/zinc-sulfate.html)

    • Amy Renz says:

      Hi Angel, Thank you for the comment and the link. While zinc sulfate does have GRAS (“generally recognized as safe”) status with the FDA, substances that “enjoy” this status have it not because extensive studies were conducted to prove them safe, but because no (or not enough) studies have been done to prove otherwise.

      My first “go to” resource on food additives is A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives (7th Ed. by Ruth Winter M.S.). According to this book which covers more than 12,000 ingredients, Zinc Sulfate, also called White Vitriol, is made by the reaction of sulfuric acid with zinc. Mild crystalline zinc salt is used as a nutrient. (But there’s evidence to show that zinc supplementation in our diets is not healthful – I’ll get to that in a moment.) Zinc sulfate migrates to food from paperboard products used in packaging. And it is used medicinally as an emetic. It is irritating to the skin and mucous membranes. It may cause an allergic reaction. Injection under the skin of 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight caused tumors in one study conducted on rabbits. Zinc salts in general can cause nausea and vomiting.

      Now onto the “dark side” of zinc supplementation (from that same reference book)….
      The FDA says some studies appeared to show zinc supplements improved immunity to disease in older people, but these studies were flawed. In larger, well-designed studies, the FDA says, in which older patients received either zinc or placebos in addition to multivitamins and mineral preparations, the greatest immune function improvements were among those taking the placebos. Zinc supplementation, the FDA says, not only did not improve immune system function in the elderly at 100 mg or more a day, it actually suppressed immunity.

      According to the Encyclopedia of Healing Foods severe zinc deficiency is quite rare in humans in this country, though many of us consume diets low in zinc. Oysters (fresh) provide the highest content of zinc. Zinc is also found in good amounts in seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains. Some good whole food sources of zinc are listed below:

      Zinc Content of Selected Foods (in milligrams per 3.5 ounce – or 100g – serving):
      Oysters (fresh): 148.7
      Pumpkin seeds: 7.5
      Ginger root: 6.8
      Pecans: 4.5
      Split peas (dry): 4.2
      Brazil nuts: 4.2
      Oats: 3.2
      Peanuts: 3.2
      Almonds: 3.1
      Lima beans: 3.1
      Walnuts: 3.0
      Buckwheat (which is not a grain): 2.5
      Green peas: 1.6
      Potatoes: 0.9
      Carrots: 0.5

      There are two rarely seen zinc responsive skin disorders in dogs (according to Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats). The first is seen in dogs (usually puppies) fed a diet of cheap, commercial pet food high in soy protein and/or other plant proteins (e.g. soybean meal, vegetable fiber). Plant materials contain calcium phytate which interferes with the absorption of zinc through the intestines leading to a deficiency in zinc.

      The second type of zinc deficiency is a genetic defect that also causes decreased zinc absorption through the intestines and it’s generally seen in Siberian Huskies, Malamutes and Bull Terriers. Clinical signs include crusting dermatitis mainly around the eyes, nostrils and mouth.

      If a veterinarian recommends zinc supplementation to treat a deficiency, then zinc citrate, zinc acetate or zinc picolinate may be the best absorbed. Zinc sulfate is a less expensive alternative. The most holistic approach is to feed your pet whole foods containing zinc.

  65. Melissa says:

    Please give me a list of good dog treats I should give my dog if u know of any.

  66. Danielle Park says:

    Love this but just a quick note on your side bar. The US COast Guard does NOT require fishmeal to be sprayed with Ethoxyquin. It requires fishmeal to be sprayed with a preservative. The natural pet foods pay more for their fishmeal to be preserved with an all natural product called Naturox. Every commercial food I know of on the market uses the cheap, carcinogen product, however the top quality foods like Champion who makes Orijen and Acana, Fromm Family foods and many others pay a premium for the Naturox!

  67. Danielle Park says:

    @Anna,
    1. Cheap commercial treats are all bad, not just Del Monte.
    2. Addiction is a wonderful brand!
    3. BARF is not for every dog, listen to your dogs body.
    4. Veggies are great for dogs as treats and to supplement. As dogs get older it is harder for them to digest so grating or lightly steam often helps. Dogs need protein, but if they have allergies you should start with an elimination diet to find out what proteins are the culprit.
    5. You should NEVER stick with one food. This was something that the pet food companies came up with so that you would stay loyal to their brand. If you ate chicken and rice for 5 years and then ate a salad you would get sick. It doesn’t mean the salad is bad for you, just your body wasn’t used to it. If your dog has a digestive problem it might be a different story like colitis. However, staying on the same food can cause the body to develop an allergy due to constant exposure to that protein. Also, the body doesn’t have a protein requirement but has a need for amino acids. Each protein can be high in some amino acids and low in others (except for eggs which are the perfect protein). So if you stay on one protein for life you will eventually have an excess of some amino acids and a deficiency in others. SO just like for humans variety is the spice of life. Of course only if your pet can handle it.

  68. Leslie Klis says:

    Are the dog treats from TRADER JOE’S good???? My boston terrier loves the peanut butter ones!!!

  69. Dana says:

    WOW!!! I wonder if it in cat treats as well?

  70. LISA says:

    ALOT OF PEOPLE FOODS, I MEAN ALOT HAVE SODIUM METABISULFATES AND NO ONE CARES ABOUT THAT. IT GIVES ME APHALACTIC (sp) SHOCK

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  72. James Weaver says:

    MY PUG EATS MILK-BONE HEALTHY FAVORITES, THAT CLAIMS TO BE ALL NATURAL AND HAS NO ARTIFICIAL PRESERVATIVES. IS THIS MILK BONE SAFE? JIM

  73. Anne says:

    I just bought a box of puppy milkbones. I researched milkbones becuase he’s vomited 2x’s since he’s been getting milkbones (which he never does). Sure enought, gastro upset is a problem with them….now they are going in the garbage!

  74. Tazz Latifi says:

    Thank you for writing this amazing article. At Petropolis my goal is to educate the public about everything you have outlined. I have been carrying your products since sport n life brought them in. I wish you and your company all the best and many years of success. Tazz

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  76. Annonomous says:

    Have you even talked to these companies? I used to work for a pet food company. before saying they use 4D animals and they don’t list all the ingredients call them. because you are mistaken pet food labeling is just as if not more stringent than human labeling. get your facts straight for each company then write a stupid article

  77. Deb Runyan says:

    Amazing timing for me today. I had just finished posting about dog treats on my blog Pawlore.com – and within that same minute read this. I am SO very thankful I stopped feeding store bought treats!!!

  78. Pingback: Dancing Feet? « PawLore

  79. I try to stay away from anything store bought as a general rule. Go to your local pet store (not chain but locally owned pet store) and/or your local feed store and get something they recommend as “premium”. It doesn’t have to be super expensive, just something natural. If beef, chicken, or fish (not chicken meal, etc.) isn’t the first ingredient, don’t buy it. Simple as that. Treats…READ THE INGREDIENTS. Find the natural treats. If there’s a commercial for it on TV then you don’t want it.

  80. covenantwmn says:

    Until the natural stuff comes down in price, no choice.

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  82. Donna Lisogorski says:

    Plz send me updates

  83. Karen says:

    A little knowledge of science is a dangerous thing. Try researching your facts more next time. You list BHT. Did you know that its an antioxidant that is often added to human food to preserve food? Likewise with sodium metabisulfite. Sodium metabisulfite has no side effects; it is oxidised in the liver to harmless sulfate and excreted in urine.
    Stop scaring people with half truths. While it is true that some ingredients in pet foods are not the best quality, your knee jerk reaction to all additives serves no prupose but to frighten people.

    • Amy Renz says:

      Hi Karen,
      Thank you for your reply. Just because some additives are approved for human use doesn’t make them safe. Your defense of BHT is misplaced. BHT is Butylated HydroxyTOLUENE. BHA and BHT are chemically similar but it’s thought that BHT is more toxic to the kidneys than BHA. The FDA says that BHT may convert other ingested substances into toxic or cancer causing additives and should be investigated. It’s prohibited for use in foods in the UK.

      Sodium metabisulfite belongs to the family of sulfites that is known to cause acute asthma attacks, loss of consciousness, anaphylactic shock, diarrhea and nausea. As of this writing, the FDA attributes 17 human deaths to sulfite ingestion in the amounts normally present in food. The FDA banned its use on preserving fresh fruits and vegetables and is reviewing a proposal that bans its use on fresh cut potatoes. Sulfites must be declared on labels.

      All the information in this reply came from A Consumers Dictionary of Food Additives by Ruth Winter, M.S. I have it at my fingertips all the time. You can find her book here: http://www.amazon.com/Consumers-Dictionary-Food-Additives-7th/dp/0307408922

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  85. Linda Kepner says:

    I’m of a mind that if I can’t identify what is in something by LOOKING AT IT, I don’t want my dogs to eat it. They do best with simple raw or dehydrated treats. I don’t even feed ground prepared raw because I have no idea what is actually in it unless I prepared it myself! To some degree, I do the same for my own food although I will say my dogs eat healthier and more species appropriate than I do!

  86. alan says:

    I read most of the responses and the article. I wonder how in this day and age people can afford 50 and 60 dollar bags of food? We own six dogs and I would go broke feeding them these brands. We stopped buying anything from China along time ago, but, we are stuck with what we can afford, and I have tried the better more natural brands and our dogs get sick from them. They are too rich and they can not digest them well. Our dogs have all lived a rich and full happy life on the “store brands” and have made it past their life expectancy
    .

    • Amy Renz says:

      Hi Alan, No doubt, good food is expensive. A trip to McDonalds will always be cheaper than a trip down the produce aisle of a grocery store. But one of those options, chosen consistently over time will most likely make us fat and sick. The other will arguably give us a vibrant, long life. I don’t have a good answer for the affordability issue. It’s a choice a parent must make. As for digestibility, transitions from one diet to another must be done slowly. If a fast food junkie would suddenly convert to veganism cold-turkey, she would certainly exhibit GI disturbances. Detox takes time.

      As a community of pet parents I think we need to challenge things like “life expectancy.” Wolves in captivity live 20 years on average. Why can’t our dogs live that or longer? I would think, most are certainly cared for better than captive wolves. There’s an article I recently posted. It’s a reprint of a 1995 story on a Baltimore rendering plant that talks about the stench of stuff that makes it into pet food. And I have just posted another on how the FDA and AAFCO allow toxins into pet food. I would appreciate your thoughts.

      Best regards,
      Amy

  87. Jan says:

    My little 14 year old girl has CHF and suffers from seizures which are controlled with phenol barb. The only treats she can eat now are soft ones. I bought some milk bone treats and she had 3 seizures in one day and I think it was the milk bone. Another time I had given her ol Roy small dog food and she got extremely ill. She now only eats Caesar which seems to be fine for her.

  88. Jeff says:

    Send your unwanted food to me. My stats: Boxer lived to 12 (no tumors or cancer), golden retriever lived until 14 (zero health issues), Siberian Husky lived until 14(began to lose bladder control and some muscle function…old age), Retriever mix lived until 14 (just didn’t wake up one morning). All were fed Purina, Science Diet, Iams, and scraps (rice, veggies, meats, dairy) in small amounts. Usually sometime well after dinner to prevent association to meal time. I am pretty sure they were not killed by the items in this article. Dogs are NOT vegetarians, so stop the fantasizing about what YOU think is good for your dog. The ingredients should be a healthy blend of grains, vegetables, meat and dairy. If you or your children eat ANY processed foods, then you are subjecting yourselves to far worse health issues than feeding your dog US produced food and treats. SCARE tactics are as harmful as poison and bad science. Truth and good science is a must. Do your own research when you can. Otherwise you help perpetuate myth and rumor. Read, folks, read.

    • Amy Renz says:

      Hi Jeff,

      As a community of pet parents I think we need to challenge things like “life expectancy.” Wolves in captivity live 20 years on average. Why can’t our dogs live that or longer? I would think, most are certainly cared for better than captive wolves. My post is certainly not challenging the table scraps you talk about… meats, dairy, veggies, rice. I also have NEVER asserted that dogs are vegetarians – they are most certainly not. Their diets should be quality foods high in *identifiable* proteins, moderate in fats, low in carbs – assuming they’re healthy dogs.

      I agree processed foods are terrible, but I challenge your blanket statement about any US produced pet foods or treats being far better. Remember – big US pet food manufacturers are buying ingredients of questionable quality from overseas (and domestically) mixing them together here and calling the product USA Made.

      There’s an article I recently posted. It’s a reprint of a 1995 story on a Baltimore rendering plant that talks about the stench of decayed pets and animal stuff that makes it into Purina’s (or others) pet food. And I have just posted another on how the FDA and AAFCO allow toxins into pet food. I would appreciate your thoughts. After researching these articles I have a hard time choosing – as you suggest – a can of Alpo over a petrified chicken McNugget. At least the latter comes from a chicken that died by slaughter and not bird flu.

      Best regards,
      Amy

      P.S. For what it’s worth, neither I nor any of my kids (furry or otherwise) eat much processed food – and never any fast food.

      • jtrouch says:

        I’ll get back to you regarding the bulk of your response. To answer the first comment, we have bred the ‘living’ cycle into each breed. Unfortunately, unscrupulous breeders have done their damage over the centuries. They continue to do so as we discuss pet nutrition. My greater focus is upon those who have an agenda behind their philosophies. Pets toys of a given nature are dangerous, thus you should buy mine…..they are uber safe. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of respondents herein, use pinch collars, choke collars, invisible fences, restrictive muzzles, negative reinforcement, and think the Dog Whisperer is a genius. That is my ‘fight’ with pet ‘owners’. Ignorance surfaces in the most expected places. As for the ‘testimonies’; most of our human population seems to have a, ‘need to be part of something larger than myself’, desire. Hypochondria is a human behavior being thrust upon our family member, both human and non-human. My 12 week old puppy ate a milk bone and then vomited…really? Why are you feeding your 12 week old milk bones; or any other fatty treats at that age? My dog suffers seizures from the same foods that cause me seizures…..really? Perhaps they might consider the food source for the human food as well. How did that person even have the need to share that tidbit? Ultimately, I don’t disagree with your focus on pet health and food constituents. I don’t agree with people who take issues out of context, and then perpetuate a myth or misnomer. If you produce a healthier food and treats, you should concentrate on the quality of your foods. Tell us why they are great, and tasty. Once you point fingers at others, you then take on the role of antagonist. It becomes less about your good food, than it is about the evil empire without. Be always positive. Do not compare yourself using only arguments that support your viewpoint. It appears narrow and contrived. You obviously care about animals. More of that, and less about accusations regarding the, admittedly abusive, conglomerate feed producers. Respectfully, jeff

      • Amy Renz says:

        Jeff,
        I started a blog because I view myself first (by a huge margin) to be a concerned pet parent. Ultimately, that is the passion behind my business. It’s three years old. I put my savings on the line to do it. I did it for a single reason. I needed to answer an intensely personal question: “When the lights go out, who did you help?”

        This truth is a lot to share with a stranger and the world. I still put it out there.

        Anyone can write a blog preaching about themselves. That is not my purpose. The purpose of my blog is to help others understand what you and I both know about food sources and quality, and to help them make good choices for the benefit of their most beloved companions. If I have lengthened the stay of any pups on this planet, then when the lights go out I have – in my heart – my answer.

        I look forward to your feedback on the topic of quality pet food ingredients.

        Regards,
        Amy

  89. Jeff says:

    Danielle Park Well stated! Perhaps more kind than my comments, but none-the-less, well stated.

  90. FDR says:

    Great post. Thank you. Shared. This topic seems to be gaining strength and sadly, claiming the lives of many beloved pets along the way. As soon as I learned about propylene glycol, I removed all treats from my home–haven’t purchased another since (not even one)–and started making my own. Not only are they much better for my dog, but they are super easy to make, cheaper (to make) and he actually likes them much better. Now I’m working on alternate food–still in research phase lol. Currently feeding Iams.

  91. Sarah says:

    Please tell us what Snacks and dog food is good for the dogs. Some of us can not afford a raw diet for our dogs. Some dogs dont do well on it. I heard Blue Buffilo is good?

  92. James says:

    I have a 2 year old Boxer/Pit Bull mix, ive raised him since 3 or 4 weeks old. Upon removing him from his mothers care, i started him on Purina Puppy Chow, eventually after one year graduating him to Purina Dog Chow. I paid attention to this entire article and want to do something to prolong my dogs life, and feed him something he will enjoy, and that will nurture his health as well. He constantly has digestive upsets and i always wondered why. No question as to how, i only want to change his diet now and remove anything harmful.

    My main questions here are, if id go to the store today to grocery shop for myself (shop and save), what would i buy for him to eat? I understand people have suggested chicken and beef liver, but how would i go about preparing this for him if i would get it? And what other foods are a safe alternative to ‘dogfood’? Can someone please throw me a line here and suggest a small list of things i can feed him, including what i would treat him as well? Obviously ‘Dog Chow’ isnt ideal food, and an occasional slim jim isnt an adequate treat. So please help enlighten me on a small ‘grocery list’ for my dog if you will, and some info on how to prepare it for him to safely eat.

    Hes the sweetest dog you could ever know, hes intelligent, and ALWAYS listens to what i tell him. He deserves better than this garbage, and im able and willing to do it for him, i just dont know where to begin. I no longer want to know what NOT to feed him, i only want to know what i SHOULD feed him. Thank you in advance, i will really appreciate your help, and im sure he will too.

  93. Rocco's Mom says:

    I went to raw for my shih tzu because the dye in commercial food and treats causes an allergic reaction. His tears and saliva stained his fur pink and his paws itched badly. He would lick and chew his little feet endlessly. One day, I read that his breed reacts to dye. That was that; end of problem.

    Natural food with beets in still stains but there is no itching unless it is artifical colouring. Of course, the commercial food and milk bones ingredient lists fail to state the food is coloured for the sake of human purchasers!

  94. tgalbraith says:

    What’s funny – and concerning – is that Milk-Bones advertise that they keep your dog’s teeth clean. After we switched to all natural dog treats (Buddy Biscuits, mostly) my Golden’s teeth look way better.

  95. If the FDA won’t protect humans from the drug companies and won’t protect us from food manufacturers which add things in our food i.e. natural flavoring, or inactive ingredients why would we even think they care about our dogs and cats. The only way we can protect them is to find and read articles like this and pass them on.

  96. diane says:

    I will throw out the milk bones. but what can she chew on for her teeth?and will they choke on carrots? raw?

    • Amy Renz says:

      Hi Diane,
      Crunchy treats really don’t do anything for teeth cleaning. Think of it this way: dogs clean their teeth by eating crunchy treats as much as we clean our teeth by crunching on granola.

      Bones – the hefty kind like beef bones – are best for teeth cleaning. You can boil them in water to kill bacteria and render out some of the marrow. Just cool them completely before giving them to your dog. You don’t ever want to feed cooked soft bones like chicken bones that can splinter. When in doubt, ask your vet.

      Regular teeth brushing is also a great way to keep your dog’s teeth clean. Diets higher in protein and low in carbs and sugars also promote healthy chompers.

  97. diane says:

    i have blue dog bakery treats are they ok. I read the ingredients and I can pronounce all the words. they claim low fat and healthy. for color is annatto , turmeric, paprika,made in usa got it from BJ’s.

  98. diane says:

    Can you recommend a dog food? I feed her wellness grain free original formula. i guess by core,.This is the only dog for that doesn’t make her itch.I live in usa thank you

  99. birdpond says:

    Unsalted green beans and raw whole (not bleached ‘baby’) carrots sliced into sections make good, fresh, cheap treats that most dogs love – and you can snack right along with them!

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  101. David says:

    Well, what is safe to feed your dog, as a treat? I’m sure that if any of you dog owners realized that the treat you were giving your dog might be killing him, there just might be a little anger towards the manufacturer of that treat. This could possibly lead to the disappearance of some of that manufacturers upper management employees. As Mark Wahlberg would say, you don’t understand, they killed my dog.

  102. Brad says:

    My 4 year old lab has seizures every 90 days. He has been milk bone free for 3 days and I swear he is back to his little obnoxious self. ( Throw the Ball!!) When I lived in Fla. he drank city chlorinated water and seemed to have seizures even more often. We now live in the Mountains of N.C. and we drink well water. Besides the seizures I noticed every now and then in the morning while sitting outside with a cup of coffee that his stomach was making these LOUD GASSY SOUNDS. I now believe giving him 2 milk bones a day, 720 milk bones a year that this has screwed up his well being. I will have to wait another 87 days to see if he has anymore seizures. I will report back to this site on the out come. I figure Oct. 12th or close to. Brad

  103. Paw Klub says:

    I only feed Raw Prey model diets to both my cats and dogs. Before we did the switch over 2 year ago, our first dog faces numerous health problems and was at the vets every week. The moment we switched to a Raw meat diet, we have never had any health issue even the various viral out there have not got our pack sick. We visit the vets annually for the mandatory shots as per the country’s laws and the vet is very proud of the fact they are so healthy. We don’t give them any veggies as we have noticed that they just poop it right through and research has shown that there is little to no nutritional benefit with fruits and veggies. Grain is a strict NO NO in our home for them as most allergies are caused by that. Treats are freezer dehydrated organs and pork fat….. they love it. I have happy healthy dogs and cats who have a great immune system along with shiny coats and super white teeth (never brushed them ever).

    • Amy Renz says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Could you share a link or reference to the research you mention about “little to no nutritional benefit with fruits and veggies.” Thank you!

  104. Sue Tabor says:

    My 8 yr old female beagle has always had a sensitive stomach since she was a puppy due to a stubborn case of ghiardia. After RX food for a while, I went the cheaper route starting with Natural Choice Lamb & Rice. When I would take her to visit at my dad’s, she would gobble up his dog’s Beneful. Since it didn’t disturb her stomach, I started feeding her Beneful healthy weight because it was cheaper. I was also feeding her Ol’Roy chicken strips for treats. She has always been a grass eater and would go through little spells here and there, eating grass and vomiting. My vet said it was harmless. A few months ago, my “Ruby” suddenly started vomiting blood and also diarrhea with blood. I rushed her to the vet as an emergency. After several tests and xrays, the vet could find nothing wrong. She suggested that perhaps eating grass and the wretching from vomiting had broke a blood vessel. She put her on medication, hydrated her and I purchased RX food for gastrointestinal issues. I immediately did some research and found this site and other social networks of pet owners who were experiencing the same issues/concerns with pet food/treats. Ruby recovered quickly and no problems, but I also noticed she stopped eating grass and just seemed to have more energy! She was acting like a puppy at times – playing and running around. She was like a whole new dog! It made me realize that what I had been feeding her for all those years had, in fact, been making her stomach upset and causing her to want to eat grass and throw up. I new have her on Wellness Core – turkey, duck and pork liver and she is doing fantastic! No grass eating – no vomiting – less stools! I also purchase treats which are made totally in the USA -lamb & rice. I’ve since found recipes for homemade treats and am looking for recipes to make our own food as the Wellness Core is very expensive. I am absolutely convinced after doing research that the Beneful food and Ol’Roy treats were poisoning my dog and making her sick. NO MORE! We need to stand together and make a difference! It makes me wonder about my own food that I eat, and I pay much better attention to what I buy at the grocery store.

  105. LARRY says:

    A Question For Ya’all Please>> I don’t use The STRIPS anyway, but have used MILKBONE products before; Soooooo, Do other milkbone type biscuits/ treats such Ol’Roy, Petco brand Etc. do dogs harm as well?? And how about those Beefy basted type?? Do any of these or other brands make them with the chemicals and what not?? I mean JET FUEL— EMBALMING FLUIDS?? SERIOUSLY?? YUCK!!

    • LARRY says:

      Oh, and what about the DOGGY COOKIES Petco sells in bulk in those from that bin bar in the store>> Are they harmful??

    • Doug Feil says:

      Thank you for your post. I love my Lab. very much, but can not afford to pay more for her food than what I pay to eat myself. Give me some brand names. I have been using Milk-bone treats (3 a day) and Petigree dog food for years.

  106. THANK YOU FOR THE UPDATED INFO !!!

  107. Diane says:

    I like core too. my dog does great on it.

  108. chrissie says:

    It is SO easy to make your own dog treats! Grab some yams, scrub them, slice them about 1/4″ thick, place them on a baking sheet and bake at 250 for 3 hours. Store in the fridge. My dogs LOVE them. They’re a great substitute for horrid rawhide chews which cause all kinds of problems. I also make dog biscuits. Try googling recipes – you’ll find tons. I use low sodium broth for the liquid, boiled and pureed chicken livers, peanut butter, cheese, etc, to flavor them. You don’t need a fancy bone shaped cookie cutter- just cut them into strips.

  109. doggoneit says:

    I do appreciate your article for educating people about the junk that modern dog food is made from, and I, myself, made the switch to Blue Buffalo several years ago. On the other hand, I would like to raise a few points:
    1. Euthanasia, not cancer, is the #1 cause of death in pets
    2. Propylene Glycol is NOT the antifreeze ingredient your vet has warned you about. That’s ethylene glycol. PG has not been proven to cause cancer and, unlike EG, a small lick by your dog is not fatal.
    3. Dogs are NOT wolves and anyone who feeds their pet an all-organic balanced wolf diet will be sorely disappointed when they discover their dog cant live to be 20 years old. I should add that even though I shell out for the healthier foods for my dogs, the lab I had as a kid was only ever fed generric store brands, rarely got any exercise, and lived to be 16 without a trace of cancer or any of the other ailments dedcribed above.

    • Amy Renz says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. According to A Consumers Dictionary of Food Additives Propylene Glycol is used in antifreeze, breweries, dairy establishments and cosmetics. Its use is being reduced and replaced by safer glycols as large oral doses in animals have been reported to cause central nervous system depression and kidney changes. This dictionary I referenced is one of my “go-to” sources. I have the 7th edition.

  110. Cierra says:

    Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for this article! Gotta send it to my God Mom Asap!

  111. Kendra Ihle says:

    Ok After Reading Your Post And Seeing And Learning A Lot About Pet Food/Treats, I Am Going Back To Making Mine At Home And I May Even Sell Them This Time Since Everyone Drove Me Crazy About Them When I Made Them In The Past:)

  112. Brittany D says:

    Propyline Glycol is not a food coloring, nor is it toxic to anybody. Yes it is dangerous and can kill CATS though. But for humans and dogs it is non-toxic. It is NOT anything other than something similar to an oil. In fact it’s in every liquid medication for humans and dogs, as well as food coloring (a component, NOT the dye itself), food flavoring (the liquid part, not the flavoring itself), Intra Venous medications, products that need to be liquidy such as lotions and tooth paste. I quit reading this page (and website) when I saw you perpetuating the MYTH that Propyline Glycol is toxic. I’m done here. Either do your research on the ingredients you are touting as horrible for anybody or quit writing blogs altogether. I won’t be sharing the post on facebook or anywhere else for that matter since you so obviously do not do your research before lying to the public.

    • Amy Renz says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. According to A Consumers Dictionary of Food Additives Propylene Glycol is used in antifreeze, breweries, dairy establishments and cosmetics. Its use is being reduced and replaced by safer glycols as large oral doses in animals have been reported to cause central nervous system depression and kidney changes. Propylene glycol is not a coloring and I do not believe I suggested that it is. This dictionary I referenced is one of my “go-to” sources. I have the 7th edition.

  113. velma demott says:

    I give my dog (Remo the red standard poodle that looks just like the dog in the picture for this article) bil-jack and dehydrated liver. for other treats I bake wheat and corn free flavored treats. it’s not that much trouble. just make a whole bunch in one day – several flavors like, beef and cheddar, peanut butter, banana or whatever. i store them in air tight containers and freeze them until i need them. i also give my dog a special breakfast with (left over) meat, berries, and veggies. he loves raspberries and blueberries, also banana, apple, strawberry just a little bit and i cut them up and mix with kibble. for veggies i steam sweet potato, carrots, green beans, squash and canned pumpkin. only a spoonful of each item.

  114. Pingback: Where’s The Beef? | kristina's critter care

  115. pixiedust says:

    Propylene Glycol is NOT used in anti-freeze; ethylene glycol is. Ethylene glycol is very toxic. Propylene glycol is a component in hundreds of food products and is recognized as safe by the FDA. Someone should have fact checked that. It makes me dubious about some of the other claims here…

    • Amy Renz says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. According to A Consumers Dictionary of Food Additives Propylene Glycol is used in antifreeze, breweries, dairy establishments and cosmetics. Its use is being reduced and replaced by safer glycols as large oral doses in animals have been reported to cause central nervous system depression and kidney changes. This dictionary I referenced is one of my “go-to” sources. I have the 7th edition.

  116. Steve says:

    Well gosh. Guess I’ll just starve my dogs to death then. I’ve had several dogs over the years, fed them milk bones and other items listed since the late 70′s. Two dogs lives to be 17 and 18 years old, the other lived to be 13-16 years old. Only one died at two years old due to an accident. I know that these products and items might have different results in other dogs but those are the exceptions, not the majority.

  117. bill says:

    my dog died of cancer we were feeding her milk bones and bacon strips she was only 9 years old vet said don’t know what caused it i will not get any more pets thanks for information

  118. Heather Freeman says:

    I have feed quality foods for over 30 yrs an only those made with chicken or lamb. About 4 yrs ago I switched to a beef based dog food but still a high quality one. Due to one dog only being able to eat beef based otherwise he had really bad loose stools otherwise. Well after about 15 months of feeding 7 dogs that food my 5 yr old mini aussie had a siezure out of the blue. Took him to the vet the first thing the next morning. His blood work came back totally crazy the vet had never seen anything like it before. All organ functions were normal, but he was severely anemic and his white blood cell counts was as low as you can get and still have some. He even sent results out to several top vet schools and researchers across country they were at a lose too. I changed his food to Wellness chicken he now has one siezure a yr no longer anemic but he still is immune suppressed. If he gets anything with beef in he gets siezures of varying degrees. I believe all the chemicals that go into producing beef in this country now are responsible for a good deal of dog and cat health issues. So read lables and do research on everything you use on your pets inside and out.

  119. Nick Sullen says:

    Our family’s dog got pretty sick after eating Beggin Strips and all that junk. Then our veterinarian recommended buying REAL snacks made in America with no artificial flavors, by-products, or simply making your own. Our dog is MUCH better now, and it seems like American-made snacks are better than snacks from American companies, but are made in China. Simple. Almost everything made in China makes me gag.

  120. morganconrick says:

    Love this! I have linked it into my boxer dog blog
    http://herculestheboxerdog.wordpress.com/

  121. karen says:

    Small pieces of carrots make good treats.

  122. Yikes! We’ll be swearing off these treats now…

  123. cheebus says:

    Orthorexia nervosa for dogs.

    Dog food and treats should be better. I consider my dogs family. I think we all as a family should be eating better.

    However, just like health food fanatics seem to article comes off as tinged with the fanatical urgency most health food nuts go on about.

  124. marnie says:

    Not everyone is wealthy enough to buy high-value dog food. Let’s be realistic, for those of us who want to fee our dogs the best they can – how about some alternatives that are within most people’s realm of reality>?

    • Amy Renz says:

      Hi Marnie,
      I would check out truthaboutpetfood.com. There’s a good list of food and treats recommended by Susan Thixton. She’s a pet parent and animal advocate as it pertains to transparency in pet food labeling and what the FDA should be doing (but isn’t) to protect our pets.

      I cook for my dogs and supplement with some quality kibble or raw food found in pet supply stores. Granted those purchased pet food items are on the pricier side. But a trip to McDonalds will always be cheaper than a trip down the produce aisle of a grocery store. Good food just costs more. The cheap stuff is truly loaded with road kill, and food rendered unfit for human consumption because of contaminants (pesticides, mold, excreta, etc.). It’s ugly out there in “major-brand land”.

      Chicken quarters in the grocery store are on the less expensive side as far as whole foods go. I would perhaps start there, with some pumpkin and a green veggie. There are some good cookbooks for canines available that can offer advice on creating a balanced homemade diet. Also, I’ve found that my dogs don’t need as much volume of whole foods (i.e. homemade) than they would need on commercial foods as much of the commercial stuff is filled with empty calories.

      Best wishes,
      Amy

  125. joan Carter says:

    The ingredients Google list in brands of dogfood is shocking !! Somehow I thought I was safe giving my Pom Milk Bones, but now read the alarming facts above on this treat. The problem I have is If so many brands use disease causing ingredients, I see no list of HEALTHY TREATS AND Dog Food. After reading so much, I decided on NATURAL CHOICE as I found no negative ingredients BUT…it has a rating of 2 1/2 on a scale of 1 to 10, because of lack of antioxins and it seems there was corn in it. So…bottom line is…WHAT FOOD AND TREATS ARE HEALTHY. I THOUGHT I had enough concern over what do I replace Trifexis with as I would not dare administer that but Vet sold me Sentinel. Which now I read on Google has two of the dangerous drugs that Trifexis has. I need some educated, expert advice

  126. Marie says:

    We rescued our black coated retriever 2 years ago from the local shelter, at the time he was heartworm pos. he went thru the required surgery and within the past 2 years has recovered fully, when we got him he was so weak and sick he was unable to bark, it was three months before we heard him bard, my point is if by feeding our pet this crap food and he became sick I would just die, we love him so much. I started researching on my own on beggin strips and milk bones which he loves, but I read the ingredients and searched on line on the words I could not pronounce, this is what I found: embalming fluid.

    Treats containing at least one of these chemicals These chemicals are used to manufacture:
    ◾Milk-Bones (Del Monte)
    ◾Embalming Fluid

    ◾Beggin Strips (Purina)
    ◾Jet Fuels

    ◾Pup Peroni (Del Monte)
    ◾Rubber Products

    ◾Busy Bones (Purina)
    ◾Pesticides

    ◾Moist n Meaty (Purina)
    ◾Electrical Transformer Oil

    ◾T-Bonz (Purina)
    ◾Bil-Jacs

    ◾Simple Essentials Treats (Hill’s Science Diet/Colgate Palmolive)
    ◾Petroleum Products

    ◾Disinfectants

    Ethoxyquin is so toxic that the FDA has prohibited it from human consumption except for minute quantities in certain spices (e.g. cayenne pepper). The FDA, despite the behest of veterinarians, has done nothing but suggest to pet product .
    The FDA should be held accountable for this crap that we thought was safe all these years, take this crap off the market, why hasn’t any one sued these companies. This is horrible.
    If the FDA is in need of researchers I am available for hire. Apparently they can’t handle the work load.
    I have taken our pet off these treats, and only give him cookies from the cookie bar in pet co, they assured me the cookies were all natural, if I find out different they will pay for it.

  127. Daniela says:

    I had 8 Little dogs
    Pumpkin i had to put to sleep on March 29.2014 because he became very ill
    I didnt know why
    Again i gave my dogs Pup peroni Beef sticks and they love it
    2 days later my 2 oldest dogs a 14 Year 3 pound yorkie female And a 14 Year Old maltese female startet diaria
    Every 5 Minutes they would just poop blood
    I Went to the wet spendet more them 600$ and he could find no parasites in the poop
    That was for days i thought i have to Put them Down
    I cooked Rice And chicken and they got better
    Them i realised that i gave them these treets but my other dogs had no Problems
    But them i knew it was pup peronie and i was thinking of their age and i should Not give this
    So now 2 weeks later i still had these treets and i have giving them to my 3 Year Old female Pomeranian and my 18 Month Old yorkie
    I should Not done this
    Since 3 days they are so sick and the poop is only blood
    Today i will go to the publix store and Talk to the Manager
    They should Take away this treet
    I will Never buy any treets again
    I rather Cook a fresh Piece of chicken with Rice
    My dogs would die for that

  128. Chris says:

    Thank you for showing me this article. I was oblivious to what actually is put in pet products ! Milk bones are gone!!!

  129. D Kirkwood says:

    But what are your qualifications? nutritionist?, biochemist? biologist? Veterinarian? Any kind of medical professional? Anything? I don’t see it. I have had over 10 dogs throughout my life and don’t consider myself any kind of expert. I gyess I’m still looking, ’cause you don’t seem to be it!

    • Amy Renz says:

      I don’t think parents need to have advanced degrees to make healthy choices for their kids – or their pets. Through research and common sense, reasonable decisions can be made. The information included in this post is widely available. Where FDA and AAFCO are quoted, you can google and directly source that information from them. Another good resource (one of my go-to references) is “A Consumer’s Dictionary to Food Additives.” 7th Edition by Ruth Winter M.S. Her book is available on Amazon. Parents and guardians only need to reference qualified experts like her to make sound decisions on whether they want to feed their kids or pets the chemicals noted in this posting.

  130. Lynn says:

    Never again will I feed my dogs pup-peroni. I just bought a fresh bag this morning and gave each dog one stick. Not even 10 minutes later my maltese had a seizure that lasted about 45 seconds. No more crap snacks for my dogs. She did have them before with no problem. But never again. They are too precious to me.

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