Do you know what additives are in your dog treats?
In the ideal world we would all feed our dogs raw food, and not need any preservatives or additives. NOTE 100% meat based dog treats have NO preservatives or additives !
The big dog nutrition question should be, what additives are in your dog food? This should be of at least equal importance to you (as what are in your dog treats) since most dogs are going to be eating about 80% plus of their food intake via manufactured dog food. Its probably pretty important that you look at dog food pellets and wet cans first.
There are several classes of dog food additives that are also commonly used in human food. but the big difference is that human grade food additives are supposed to be safer than dog grade, and that you can eat as many healthy fresh veggies, fruit and quality meat as you like, but most people have NO IDEA of what goes into their dog food, or dog treats. And they feed their dogs 100% man made dog food (non fresh product) which almost always has preservatives and other additives in them.
Below, you may consider that out of all the standard additives there are really three main classes:
REQUIRED – If you want your dog food and treats to stay fresh, you need some form of preservative. Dog food and treats can often be stored in bad conditions around people’s homes, and be left open for months. To stop your dog from getting sick. MOST dog food and dog treats have natural or artificial food preservatives.
REQUIRED TO RECOMBINE – this is the group of additives that glue grain and meat together. if you buy 100% meat dog treats like many on our site, they don’t have the REQUIRED additives above or these REQUIREED TO RECOMBINE additives. In theory these chemicals are all safe, but why subject your dog to more chemicals than they need to have?
NON ESSENTIAL – Artificial sweeteners, Flavour enhancers, Colours.
Dog Treat ADDITIVES food ranges
- Preservatives (200 range) prevent spoilage.
- Antioxidants (300 range) reduce oxidative spoilage
REQUIRED TO COMBINE grain and meat and keep product safe
- Emulsifiers (400 range) prevent oil and water mixtures separating.
- Stabilisers (400 range) make uniform particle dispersal.
- Thickeners (eg vegetable gums, 400 range, modified starches 1000 range) increase food viscosity.
- Artificial sweeteners (900 range, and sorbitol, 420)
- Flavour enhancers (600 range)
- Colours (code 100 range)
The NOT REQUIRED list of additives are really the most contentious list of additives. These are often the ones that they say can contribute to attention deficient and behavioural disorders in children. Likewise your dogs could potentially be sensitive to them too.
This is my stance on them. I have written another article in this blog recently on food colours and how they are used because humans expect beef to be brown, chicken to be yellow etc. without these colourings, products just don’t sell (or sell as well). HOWEVER, most colours seem to be safe with most dogs.
The real issue every dog owner should have is buying any dog food or dog treat with a flavour enhancer or a sweetener.
These things only have one reason to exist – to fool your dog’s senses into consuming far more of the product than they would otherwise, and in some cases dogs would not eat it at all if these tricks were not in the product. If you have raw meat, or dried meat, any kind, the vast amount of dogs, even ones fed exclusively on grain pellets, will eat it. Meat and meat offal is not bland, it is the most natural food on earth for dogs. They dont need to be any sweeter or have their taste altered in any way.
Beware of dog food or dog treat products that use a lot of anything artificial and unnecessary to boost the taste of a grain based product so your dog will eat it. Add sugar, salt and oil to most bland veggie based products and any animal will try and eat it. BUT of course it is not healthy or natural for any animal to do so.