The number one villain ingredient in dog treats is sugar

November 28, 2016 at 6:00 am

While researching an article on bad dog treats I was surprised to come across an article that made sugar the major bad ingredient. And it makes sense. For you see, carbohydrates  (commonly known as sugars) are the major energy containing chemical in plants. It typically comprises 60-90% of the dry matter of the plant by weight.

Most commercial dog food is up to 70 -80 % grains.

Polysaccharides are the main carbohydrate found in most commercial dog foods. Examples of Polysaccharides are  starch, glycogen,  dextrin and dietary fibre.  Cereal grains such as wheat, corn, sorghum, barley and rice are the major ingredients in dog foods and the main sources of starch (sugars).

So with all of the carb saturation in what is essentially a dog diet, and with carbs being mainly sugar, it was surprising to read an article suggesting it could be bad for dogs.

Reading further into the article it became obvious that they were side stepping the massive amount of carbs in a typical dog’s diet and just concentrating on dog treats that use too much sugar as a major extra ingredient.

It should be noted that while Dogs can extract energy from carbohydrates the two other energy sources of meat proteins and animal fats can be used instead.  While gram for gram, carbs and animal proteins provide the same amount of energy, fats provide about 2.5 times the amount.

The article went on to say how it was fine to bake biscuits for dogs (over-loading them with more carbs) but that adding sugar to the mix was a bad thing. The main reason that dog treat companies add lots of sugar is because dogs are easily addicted to sugar. Unfortunately, high sugar levels are exceedingly bad for dogs. Not only is giving the raw ingredient bad for the dog’s system (diabetes anyone?) but the addiction makes the dog eat the treat faster and plead for more, and often get over supplied with the sugar treat.

Curiously the article doesn’t mention that most dog foods have sugar and fats in them to disguise the bland taste of grains,  a thing that most dogs would never eat raw. Sugar (like in our kids) is also linked with “undesirable (unnatural) behaviours” associated with addiction.

What treats are on the bad dog treat list?

Because dog treats, like dog food, don’t have to list the percentage of any ingredient, a trick called ‘ingredient splitting’ helps to disguise the true total value of an ingredient class in dog foods and treats.  While products with sugar as the first ingredient should definitely be avoided, many treats that have sugar listed as the second and third, or third and fourth ingredient can also claim the highest percentage total ingredient.

Here is a handy tip for Healthy Dog Treats.  They have meat as the first or first and second ingredient.  They don’t use ingredient splitting so that the third and fourth ingredient are as high as the first two. For instance, one good source of dog meat ball treats we know about has the following ingredients Beef & Chicken Meat, Wheat flour, water, sugar, salt”.

Not only are meat the first two ingredients, they make up over 80% of the dog treat. That means that the second  highest ingredient has to be less than 20%  making the dog treat the polar opposite of most dog food. As you can see here, sugar and salt make up the fifth and sixth ingredient, but since they are less than the water content (in a dry treat) they exist almost as trace elements.

When a dog treat is mostly meat, it is appealing to the natural diet of the domestic dog. It won’t massively elevate blood sugar levels like carbohydrate (grains) can, and the proteins can be used for their very bio available essential amino acids as well as for energy functions.  That is they can provide maintenance and growth functions for the dogs cells and processes as well. If you don’t like feeding children excessive sugar, why would you knowingly do it to your dogs? Natural meat dog treats are always the safest for dogs.

You can read the article on dog treats here:

BIO:  Bruce Dwyer researches and sources healthy meat based dog treats in Australia for his own dog and others. From an original career in Electronic engineering his analysis and research skills had him well sort after in Corporate Australia until he chose to concentrate on the dog service industry. His company ‘Healthy Dog Treats’ has been in business since 2011 and was based on finding the best dog food natural supplement nutrition for his own dog (Archie the 8 year old spoodle). Archie not only approves of the selections but is featured on many videos on site trialling these ‘treats’.  Understanding that people also enjoy dog treat news and free dog treat coupons he has a weekly email newsletter that can be subscribed on his site.   Bruce is also a professional dog walker and besides his regular blog on his main website his daily dog walk adventure images and videos and dog treat news can be found on these places:

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