Experts say, roughly 90 million pets in the US are considered obese, and part of the problem may be the sugar companies add to pet treats.
Whether it's corn syrup used as a thickener or dextrose used to evenly distribute moisture, sugar can add calories to a pet's diet that tip the scales, according to veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Larsen, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of California's School of Veterinary Medicine in Davis. "Sugar has a role in the physical and taste characteristics of many products, helping to mask bitter flavors imparted by acidifying agents or changing the texture of specific treat types," she said.
Dog and Cat treats have great commercials and fun looking bags and make you think you are doing a good thing by giving them those treats. However, you'd be surprised if you just turn over the bag and look what you are actually buying. These treats are just empty calories filled with sugars, corn, wheat, artificial preservatives and harmful chemical additives like BHA and BHT. Of course your dog or cat loves them and who wouldn't love some extra sugar? Then you start to see Fido or Fluffy put on the pounds and start to be less and less active and in some cases start to turn their noses up at their food. However, that cute bag of treats they love so in some cases you even feed them more and it becomes a dangerous cycle.
One of the most popular dog treats I hear about is Pup-Peroni by Del Monte. The ingredients in Del Monte’s Original Beef Flavor Pup-Peroni are: Beef, Meat by-Products, Soy Grits, Sugar, Liver, Salt, Propylene Glycol, Garlic Powder, Caramel Color, Natural Smoke Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (used as a preservative), Sodium Nitrite (for color retention), Red 40, BHA (used as a preservative), Onion Extract. Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 24%, Crude Fat 12%, Crude Fiber 2%, Moisture 24%. Del Monte spent $8 million dollars to get you to buy Pup-Peroni and added sugar, onion, sodium nitrite, flavors, colors and BHA. If you're not familiar with the ingredients in red, here is a background on them:
Meat by-Products. This is a rendered meat ingredient commonly used in ‘grocery store’ type pet foods and treats. The FDA determined this ingredient to be a probable source of pentobarbital, a lethal drug used to euthanize animals. Thus, this pet food/pet treat ingredient more than likely contains rendered euthanized animals and the lethal drug used to kill them.
Soy Grits. These are soybeans which have been toasted and broken into small pieces. This is a filler and a known allergen.
Sugar. This can include sucrose, cane sugar, caramel, corn syrup and others. Sugar or sweetener is an absolutely unnecessary ingredient in pet foods, added to make the product more attractive. Continuous intake can promote hypoglycemia, obesity, nervousness, cataracts, tooth decay, arthritis and allergies. Pets also get addicted to foods that contain sugars, so it can be a tough piece of work to make them eat something healthier.
Propylene Glycol. Known risk to cats and toxic to small children. Controversial ingredient in pet foods/pet treats.
Garlic Powder. Controversial ingredient; some dogs cannot tolerate garlic. Cousin to onions which is toxic to dogs.
Sodium Nitrite. Chemical used to destroy the botulism bacteria; linked to lung disease.
Caramel Color and Red 40. Science has shown common food colors are linked to tumors and cancer.
BHA. Scientifically linked to cancer.
Onion Extract. Onion is toxic to dogs.
Now that you have more information on the ingredients of Original Beef Flavor Pup-Peroni Dog Treats, do you think this is a good, healthy dog treat?
By the way, Del Monte also makes the popular dog food Kibbles N Bits and Milk Bones. Have you taken a look at those ingredients?
Kibbles ‘n Bits Ingredients: corn, soybean meal, beef and bone meal, ground wheat flour, animal fat (bha used as preservative), corn syrup, wheat middlings, water sufficient for processing, animal digest (source of chicken flavor), propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, caramel color, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), calcium sulfate, titanium dioxide, yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, BHA (used as a preservative), dl methionine.
Milk Bone Dog Treats Ingredients: Wheat flour, wheat bran, beef meal and beef bone meal, wheat germ, beef fat (preserved with tocopherols), poultry-by-product meal, lamb meal, salt, chicken meal, dried beet pulp, dicalcium phosphate, bacon fat (preserved with BHT, propyl-gallate, and citric acid), brewers dried yeast, whey, artificial color (includes red 40, yellow 5, blue 1), vitamins (choline chloride, dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate [vitamin e], vitamin a acetate, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, vitamin b12 supplement, d-activated animal sterol
The bottom line is your dog or cat is what he or she eats. If they aren't eating healthy foods and snacks, most likely you'll end up at the vet's more often than your pocketbook likes. Be informed, look at the ingredients and feed and treat your dogs and cats healthy!