What are the Worst Dog Treats?

The worst dog treats are high in calories and they may contain ingredients that are artificial or unhealthy. Homemade treats made from unprocessed ingredients are the best choice. So let’s take a look at the most unhealthy dog treats and what makes them so bad.

Introduction – Worst Dog Treats

We all want our dogs to have the best possible life and that includes giving our dogs treats from time to time. Too many treats or the wrong kind of treats can cause health problems for dogs. Treats that are specifically made for dogs are much better for their health than human food. When choosing a treat, dog owners should try to stick with vet recommended ingredients and make sure you don’t give them too many. You can buy many different brands of healthy treats, but to be sure that all of the ingredients are good for your dog, you could consider making treats yourself.

How many dog treats should dogs get a day?

According to the American Kennel Club, dogs should not get more than 10% of their calories from treats. Because there is such a large range of dog sizes, there is no way to determine exactly how many treats any dog should get. If you want to know, then you will have to work it out, based on the breed and size of your dog.

You should begin by weighing your dog. The weight of your dog will determine how many calories they need in a day. You can find a table here that shows Calorie Ranges for Adult Dogs; however, this table is for healthy adult dogs. If your dog is still a puppy, or if it has health problems, the required calories could be quite different. The best way to determine the number of calories your dog needs is to consult with your vet.

Treats also vary in the number of calories they contain. If you want to give your dog more treats, choose one that is low in calories. Vets recommend that treats should contain high-quality protein such as beef or chicken, as well as being free from artificial additives, to maintain your dog’s health.

How many dog treats are too many?

Since you should only give 10% of a dog’s caloric intake in treats, the number of treats will differ according to the dog’s calorie needs. A chihuahua can weigh as little as 4 lbs (just under 2 kg) and will only require 140 calories a day. On the other hand, a Great Dane needs around 2,500 calories a day. That means that a Great Dane could have 250 calories in treats, which is almost double the total daily dog food intake for a Chihuahua.

If you are buying commercial dog treats, always check the calorie count and then decide if it is suitable for your dog. The rate of obesity in dogs has been increasing in recent years, so cut down on treats or change to a lower calorie treat if your dog is overweight. The Spruce Pets has reviewed a number of dog treats and gives a list of the 7 best low-calorie dog treats for 2022. You may not be able to get these specific brands in your area, but if you check the label you should be able to find a comparable product that will also be good for your dog.

What are the worst dog treats and why?

There are so many different brands of dog treats on the market that it is not really possible to say which ones are the absolute worst. The best way to decide is to read the label and check for unsuitable ingredients. The worst dog treats are the ones that contain a lot of artificial ingredients. Always read the label when you are buying treats. Many commercial treats contain the preservative BHA which can cause cancer in rats and mice. Dog treats should not contain sugar and salt as they are unhealthy for dogs. Some treats also contain a lot of wheat or soy flour. Dogs require more protein than carbohydrates, so make sure that there is not too much of these ingredients as they are only fillers.

worst dog treats
Dog treats should be free of added salt. sugar, artificial colors and flavors and fillers such as wheat, soy and corn flour

Are there dog treats that are dangerous?

It is tempting to give your dog human food, especially when your dog is begging for the food that you are eating. The trouble is, not all human food is safe for dogs to eat. They may be toxic or they may be too high in fat or sodium nitrite which can cause serious health issues for dogs.

The FDA has published a list of Potentially Dangerous Items for Your Pet. You may be surprised to know that chocolate, even in small amounts, is toxic to your dog. Never feed your dog chocolate. The artificial sweetener, xylitol, is also toxic to dogs. It is found in many different products, including peanut butter. Many dogs love peanut butter and it can be healthy, but make sure you check that your brand is not artificially sweetened.

Do not feed your dog cooked chicken bones, as the bones become dry and hard and if they break or splinter, they can get caught in the dog’s throat or even puncture it’s gastrointestinal tract. 

worst dog treats, chocolate
Chocolate is toxic for dogs and should never be given as a treat

What treats do vets say to avoid?

Most vets agree that it is not in your dog’s best interest to feed it human food. Where possible, you should avoid giving your dog scraps like pizza crust which may contain corn, wheat, or soy, all of which are not good for your dog.

In general, it is better not to feed your dog potato. Raw potato is toxic to dogs as they contain solanine. While cooked potatoes are not toxic, potato skins are rich in oxalates which may cause kidney problems. Although chips and crisps are cooked, they are oily and often very salty, which is bad for your dog.

Any type of sweet food is not suitable as a dog treat. Artificial sweeteners can be toxic to your dog and sugar is high in calories. Avoid feeding your dog cakes and other sweet treats, and be careful that sugar-free treats don’t contain artificial sweeteners as your dog may be allergic.

Many owners like to buy rawhide chews for their dogs as they are good for the teeth and dogs naturally enjoy chewing on them. Unfortunately, rawhide could be a choking hazard, but some vets say that it can be given as a treat if the dog is supervised. Some rawhide treats from China have been found to be contaminated, so buy treats from countries with strong food safety regulations. Salt-free jerky treats are a better alternative than rawhide.

worst dog treats
Try to avoid all artificial colors and flavors in dog treats

In summary, try your best to avoid the following ingredients:

  • Wheat flour (or wheat gluten/wheat starch/ground wheat/wheat bran/wheat germ)
  • Soy flour (or soybean meal)
  • Corn flour (or corn starch/ground corn/corn gluten meal)
  • White rice (rice flour/brewer’s rice)
  • Sugar (or glucose/corn syrup etc)
  • Sodium Nitrite (found in cured meats like ham and bacon/bacon fat)
  • Dried cheese powder
  • Artificial flavors (beef flavor/’natural poultry flavor’/’natural smoke flavor’ etc)
  • Meat by products

What is the healthiest treat for a dog?

The healthiest treats for dogs are the ones that you make at home. That way you can be sure of the ingredients and the calories. You will know how much to give to your dog and you can avoid any of the ingredients that your dog may not be able to tolerate. Just like people, Food Allergies in Dogs are quite common. Unfortunately, for dogs, there is no treatment and the allergen needs to be avoided.

Easy Homemade Dog Food Cookbook: Home-Prepared Easy Meals &...
6 Reviews
Easy Homemade Dog Food Cookbook: Home-Prepared Easy Meals &...
  • Tracz, Jakub (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 63 Pages - 08/20/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently...

When buying a commercially made dog treat, choose the ones that have protein as their main ingredient. Avoid the ones with preservatives and fillers such as wheat flour. Good dog treats will have one ingredient, such as beef, chicken meat, or salmon. A healthy treat will not contain sugar or salt and it will be low in fat.

worst dog treats, homemade dog treats
Home made treats are best! There are so many cookbooks available for homemade dog treat recipes

What dog treats do vets recommend?

Vets recommend healthy dog treats that are 100% natural without any preservatives or artificial flavors or colors. Where possible, they should be homemade and contain natural whole foods like meat and fruit and vegetables. There are many different brands available in supermarkets or pet food stores, so read the labels and choose the most natural ones with the fewest ingredients. Check the calories and your vet will be sure to approve.

Here are some great options we found available on Amazon, that contain mostly natural ingredients with no unhealthy fillers:

Full Moon Natural Organics Grass Fed Beef Jerky Healthy All...
5,268 Reviews
Full Moon Natural Organics Grass Fed Beef Jerky Healthy All...
  • HUMAN-GRADE: If you wouldn’t eat it, why would you feed it?...
  • ALL NATURAL: Our kitchen-crafted Organic Beef Jerky treats are...
  • HIGH QUALITY INGREDIENTS: Truth is our first ingredient. We...
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Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Crunchy, Low Calorie Training Dog...
3,308 Reviews
Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Crunchy, Low Calorie Training Dog...
  • Cloud Star tricky trainers crunchy - Salmon training treats are...
  • Crunchy texture with no greasy residue.
  • Bite-size, low calorie treats - only 2 calories per treat!
PetMio Bites Naturals. Banana Almond Butter Dog Treat....
1,165 Reviews
PetMio Bites Naturals. Banana Almond Butter Dog Treat....
  • Delicious banana almond butter pumpkin gourmet recipe
  • Grain free, gluten free, wheat free, non GMO, no preservatives,...
  • Premium natural soft and moist chewy treats; no fillers bones or...

Conclusion – Worst Dog Treats

Not all dog treats are good for your dog. When choosing a treat, a responsible dog owner should check the ingredients and where it is made. Ingredients that taste good to people may taste good to your dog, but it doesn’t mean that it is good for them. Many of the delicious ingredients that we take for granted are toxic to your dog. Try to avoid these ingredients and if you are not sure whether your dog should be eating them, it is important to check with your vet.

If your dog seems to be allergic to an ingredient, then it is important to avoid it as allergies are untreatable. By checking your treats carefully and consulting with your vet, you will be sure to give your dog treats that will be healthy and delicious.

Keep in mind, if you have carefully chosen dog food that you believe is healthy and nutritious for your dog, then choosing bad dog treats can ruin your whole dog’s diet if you’re not mindful of ingredients and calories.

As mentioned above, not all treats are unhealthy and many dog owners would be unaware of the breakdown of ingredients in commercial treats so hopefully this guide has helped.

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