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Pet Treats

June 24, 2015

We love to give our pets treats. And for good reason. Who can resist the sight of a happy face and wagging tail. But like everything we need to balance risks and benefits.

There have been several news stories recently about Salmonella-contaminated pig ears causing problems in people. While pig ears used to be the main culprit, now you can buy dehydrated “insert any body part here” which have the potential to cause problems if they are not processed or handled properly.

Toxins in chicken, duck, and sweet jerky treats from China have been implicated in a large number of pet illnesses and deaths.

Hard treats such as nylon bones, leg bones or treats with sharp edges should be given with caution. Hard treats have the potential to fracture teeth. Another concern is intestinal blockage caused by swallowing treats. Usually this is of limited concern for most edible treats, but is a bigger issue with toys and rawhides.

Many times I’ll see patients who are l little on the plus side. Then I hear, “But Dr. Shaw, we hardly feed them anything.” And then I ask about treats and I get the guilty look. Many treats taste good because they’re high in fat and those calories add up quickly.

Treats make our pets wag their tails. Consider potential problems before giving your pet treats.

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