Is it safe to feed my dog commercial treats made in China?
Ever since the great pet food recall of 2007 people have been nervous about pet foods imported from China.
This is exactly what happened: Wheat gluten is frequently used in pet foods as filler. It binds the ingredients together and, since it is 75 percent protein, it increases the count. While wheat gluten is a less expensive ingredient than, say, meat, it is very expensive to make; right now, there are no wheat gluten manufacturers in this country.
The major pet food company involved in the recall imported its wheat gluten from China. When that importer went out of business, it was necessary to quickly find another source, but the new company provided wheat flour, not wheat gluten. While it’s not an uncommon practice to use extenders with wheat flour, this company used melamine—a cheap, industrial scrap metal that’s highly toxic to animals. Melamine is high in nitrogen and so is protein so the only thing the tests showed was that the food had a high protein count; it didn’t say from where the protein came.
The best answer is to become as educated as possible. When choosing a pet treat or food:
Read labels. If there is something you don’t understand, ask questions! Don’t take chances!
Look at the first or second ingredient; it should be a named meat, such as chicken, beef, lamb, etc. Avoid any vague references, such as meat meals or bone meal. Although many have different feelings about by-products, if you do use them, make sure it appears on the label also with a named meat.
Watch the corn content. Some manufacturers engage in splitting. What that means is that fragments from one ingredient on the label can be a way to hide a large amount of a low-value ingredient, since those fragments will appear far down on the ingredient list. But add them all up and it’s a high content; corn seems to be the most prevalent. Avoid anything with a reference to gluten, whether corn meal or wheat. Avoid anything with wheat flour.
Pet Parents should be mindful of the origin of the manufacturer. If you wouldn’t eat it; do you really think your pet would want to?
Products made in the USA tend to have better ingredients! See one of our recommended products below!