Why DIY dog treats can be bad for your dog (Google data 2020)
We look at the kinds of searches that people make on Google Australia that are related to their searches for ‘dog treats’ and are still shocked that none involve meat. Shocked because online searches usually reflect what people are doing in real life.
We then look at why adding meat to a dog’s commercial dog diet is important and how it helps address any bio available meat protein deficiencies that many dogs suffer from.
‘Google trends’ data provides an interesting report on what search terms related to ‘dog treats’ are searched for in Australia over the last six months. In order of search volumes, these are (from Sept 2019 to Feb 2020):
- Company Name
- Dog treat recipes
- homemade dog treats
- Healthy dog treats
- Frozen dog treats
You will notice that while our niche gets a Guernsey at number 4, the second and third most searched terms, that are ‘dog treat’ related searches by people who searched for dog treats are DIY kinds of treats. Namely: ‘Dog treat recipes’ and ‘homemade dog treats’.
As I am mainly a raw feeder (animal and meat-based food) because domestic dogs are essentially carnivores … you might think, that I might think this is great that people are taking the initiative. That owners are ‘giving it a go’. But without nutritional understanding and technical knowledge of what dogs actually thrive on, and evolved to eat, that often means people feeding dogs what they themselves would like to eat. Fine for an omnivore, bad for a carnivore. Even worse still, is that list explicitly excludes MEAT based terms.
The issue is that people forget that dogs mostly need meat to thrive, because commercial enterprises are happy to push the vegetarian and vegan direction for dogs too, emboldened by social media and Fast food companies. Commercial enterprises happy to save money on meat ingredients.
This human push into less meat consumption has enabled dog food companies to create with impunity, feeding dogs highly inappropriate cheap foods (mainly vegetable). And for decades, people have literally bought it.
That is why when we delve deeper into what people might be searching for on GOOGLE in Australia, and we see related terms like “dog Treat Recipes”, that we see the less than ideal state that DIY home dog food and dog treat makers are in fact searching for VEGETABLE based foods.
Consider what terms are related to number two on the list:
Dog treat recipes
(Google Australia searches related to ‘Dog Treat recipes’, six months data up to feb 2020)
3 Dog biscuit
4 Dog food
“Dog treat recipes“ is the second most searched term on Google Australia related to ‘dog treats’ over the last six months.
The terms ‘Recipe’, ‘dog’ and ‘dog food’ are fairly neutral, but terms three and five are looking at how to buy or make dog biscuits, that are mostly grain based.
You will also find if you search for ‘dog food recipes’ online that mostly they are given without nutritional data (amino acid values) and comprise mainly vegetable matter, just like commercial dog food. Simple and cheap, but not ideal for dog health.
‘Home-made dog treats’
Looking at terms that people searched related to ‘homemade dog treats’, (the third most search term related to people who searched for dog treats over the last six months on Google Australia), yields the following top five searches:
1 Dog food
3 Dog biscuit
5 Peanut butter
Similar to the “Dog treat recipes” associated searches, the only food specific related items are Vegetable or grain-based searches. In this case: ‘Dog biscuit’ and ‘peanut butter’.
WHY there are NO MEAT searches in ‘Homemade dog treat’ related searches
As 97% of dog owners in Australia are happy to use commercial dog food as their dog’s main food source … and commercial dog food is 70% grain or vegetable matter … it’s easy to see that people think that feeding even more vegetables and grain to their dogs is a great idea.
And in fact, the same reason that commercial dog food companies use as little meat as possible in their dog food (COST), is the same reason that most owners don’t use meat in their home-made dog treats.
The DANGEROUS DOWNSIDE OF DIY TREATS
Affco (the volunteer American organisation that suggests, but does not directly test or enforce compliance with the nutrition tables), came out years ago. All dog food in Australia must comply with the Affco tables, if it is to be called ‘dog food’.
Unfortunately, many believe affco is indirectly controlled by the American dog food manufacturers. Their specs, provides a VERY LOW protein minimum amount of only 18 % for general dog food consumption. (22.5% for growth and reproduction dog stages of life). This ensure that the dog food makers don’t have to put much meat at all into their products.
Many grains have as low as 10% protein content or less, so commercial companies can’t just use a full normal grain mix in their dog food and get the AAFCO tick.
Meats like Beef and Kangaroo have over 60% high quality protein (in dried meat form).
And that is why a mix of at least 30% meat, and 70% grain or vegetable JUST gets over the affco minimum requirement of 18% total protein.
The problem is that the 18% value can use a large chunk of veggies , in the ratio above (veggies plus meat) to just meet the low minimum protein requirement, and vegetable matter typically is not utilised by a carnivores dogs body as efficiently as meat is.
It’s the low “bio availability” of veggies in carnivore dogs that means that even if a dog food brand just meets the minimum protein amount and each of the ten essential amino acids specs, the dog may suffer a usable protein deficit.
WORSE STILL IS THE INCLUSION OF GRAIN OR VEGETABLE based dog treats in their diet.
That is because you are dropping the protein amount even further !
Consider this. If your regular commercial dog food is borderline acceptable regarding bio available protein, and you replace say 20% of their kilojoules with dog treats like biscuits (that are NON MEAT), you are tipping the balance of total protein in their diet to more like 15% total protein (below the 18% affco say you need).
And again, that is 15% protein from both vegetable and meat sources. So the high bio-available protein from meat might only make up 5% of their diet! This is from an animal that evolved from the wolf that was used to eating ONLY animals when the hunt was good. NOT a lousy 15% protein amount (dry value), but at least 50% plus protein by dried animal content (what we recommend).
What happens when you feed a quality MEAT dog treat?
If you were to replace 25% of your dog’s diet with something like Beef Jerky Dried, or Roo Jerky dried (remembering that these jerkies are over 60% quality protein each), that means that the total protein in your dog’s diet goes up from 18% (minimum total protein in dog food) to more like 25 % or more.
A DYI home-made dog treat, looking at most sites based on selling advertising to promote their recipe, are heavily slanted towards vegetable-based recipes.
Probably because they know of the higher cost of a person buying meat at retail at a supermarket, or the dangers of them not drying the meat correctly.
You can make your own DIY homemade dog food, or DIY dog treats, but unless you safely dry quality meat and offal for them to eat, to supplement their commercial dog food, you are only pleasing yourself.
You are not be making your dog healthier with plant based DYI homemade dog food or treats, which in the end, is what most people want for their dog. A happy and healthy well-balanced dog is what we aim for. The whole reason we started selling our healthy dog treats. Always Choose quality meat based dog treats for your loved one (dog).