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Guide to Dog Chews Part I: We’ll pass, thanks!

With the holidays approaching, I can't be the only dogster shopping to fill doggy stockings. Today, we'll talk about some of the edible chews on...

Casey Lomonaco  |  Dec 6th 2010


With the holidays approaching, I can’t be the only dogster shopping to fill doggy stockings. Today, we’ll talk about some of the edible chews on the market. Often, the lowest quality chews are the most vigorously marketed, so consumers should inform themselves well.

RAWHIDE

Rawhide is perhaps one of the most popular chews for dogs but, in this author’s humble opinion, is not one of the best chews for dogs. Here are some reasons we dislike rawhide:

  • large chunks can be chewed off and become lodged in the throat
  • large chunks can be chewed off and swell during digestion, causing intestinal blockage
  • lack of quality control – if you buy pressed rawhide, make sure it is manufactured in the USA or in Canada. Imported rawhide may contain ingredients which are not healthy for your dog.

GREENIES, PEGETABLES, ETC.

My dogs don’t get these ever (Mokie will actively avoid them, like they’re contaminated). They’re very expensive for what they are, and the ingredients don’t seem to be very healthy for dogs. I much prefer to give my dogs all-natural treats anyway.

Here are the ingredients for Pegetables:

U.S.A. hydrolyzed wheat protein, glycerin, dehydrated carrot, corn meal, dehydrated celery, natural flavor, powdered cellulose, sunflower oil, mono and diglycerides, titanium dioxide, magnesium stearate, calcium carbonate, calcium hydroxide, wheat bran, flax oil (source of omega 3 fatty acid), vitamin mix (vitamins A, D3, E, and B12 supplements, riboflavin, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, folic acid, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, pyridoxine, thiamin, biotin), yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake, blue 2 lake, preserved with sodium metabisulfite and mixed tocopherols, beta-carotene

and here are the ingredients for Greenies:

Gelatin, wheat protein isolate, glycerin, soy protein isolate, sodium caseinate, natural poultry flavor, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, lecithin, vegetable oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), minerals (magnesium amino acid chelate, calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, calcium pantothenate, potassium iodide), vitamins (dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate [source of vitamin E], L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate [source of vitamin C], vitamin B12 supplement, niacin supplement, vitamin A supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride [vitamin B6], thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], folic acid), dehydrated tomato, apple pomace, ground flaxseed, dehydrated sweet potato, cranberry fiber, potassium sorbate (to preserve freshness), choline chloride, taurine, carotene, chlorophyll.

What is that stuff?! If I had human children, I wouldn’t give them anything with an ingredient list that looks like this either. Just sayin’!

Generic versions of Greenies and Greenies re-imaginings (like the Quado) tend to have similarly disappointing ingredients lists.

Nylabone Healthy Edibles: I admit I used to buy these all the time before I learned about dog nutrition and my dogs loved them. They’re not terribly long lasting, but my dogs went crazy for the taste! Because the ingredients aren’t that great (mostly fillers and assorted artificial flavorings), these are a very rare, junk food treat for my dogs. Mokie and Cuba may get one once a year as a special surprise.

Pedigree Jumbone – I literally almost got sick when I read the ingredient list for this product. Likewise when checking out the ingredient list on rival product Busy Bone. These things are gross – too much grain, too much sugar, too many artificial colorings, flavorings, and gross preservatives.

It’s true that dogs often really like these products – we often like products which are laden with fat, refined carbohydrates, sugar, and artificial flavorings as well, but it doesn’t mean that these products are healthy for us. Look at your dog’s teeth and then close your eyes – what do those teeth tell you your dog needs? Meat – something virtually absent in the ingredient lists of all of these products.

In a roundabout way, we’ve determined that virtually every chew available at your local grocery is probably not actually healthy for your dog. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about some healthier edible chew alternatives.