We give dog treats to our pups not only as a reward or training tool, but as a way of saying “I love you.” Yet, there’s no worse feeling than if these treats subsequently make your dog sick. What could be the cause? While most dog treats are safe when given in moderation, there are instances in which dogs have become seriously ill or even died due to the consumption of dog treats. Here are a few different reasons why your pup may become sick from a dog treat, as well as advice on how to prevent such a scenario.
Overfeeding Of Dog TreatsJust like humans, too much of a good thing can spell tummy trouble for dogs. Watching your pup gobble up treats is fun and rewarding, but it’s important to remember that most dogs aren’t programmed to watch their food intake. In fact, many dogs will keep eating as long as you continue to hand out delicious little morsels of food. Yet, overconsumption of treats can lead to an upset stomach, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, or just overall lethargy. (Think: that feeling you get after leaving an all-you-can-eat buffet.) The longterm effects of eating too many dog treats are even worse. Due to the high calorie and fat level in treats, overfeeding over the span of months or years can lead to obesity, heart disease, or other serious conditions. Thus, it’s your responsibility to carefully monitor how many treats your little guy is given every day. Check the label of your dog treats. It should contain information about caloric value and recommended daily amounts. Of course, two treats a day for a Great Dane versus two of those same treats a day for a Pomeranian is very different. Thus, when in doubt about quantity, speak with your vet.
Allergic Reaction Or Sensitivity To Dog TreatsWhile not common, some dogs can have allergic reactions to the ingredients inside a dog treat. The response may present as tummy upset, such as vomiting and lethargy. Other dogs may experience a more severe reaction, which can include vomiting, plus facial swelling, itchiness, hives, and/or bumps. While the condition of anaphylaxis is rare, if your dog seems to be struggling to breath, take them into the vet asap. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to know your dogs’ sensitivities or allergies to particular ingredients in dog treats until you’ve witnessed their reaction. Dogs, of course, can’t communicate when they’re not feeling well. But by paying attention to your dog’s health and behavioral patterns, you should be able to quickly pick up on the fact that eating a certain kind of treat directly correlates with your pup not feeling well. In consultation with your vet, you should be able to identify what’s affecting your dog’s health. Ingredients like corn, soy, or wheat are common allergens, as are other chemical additives, dyes, or artificial flavors. In rare cases, dogs can even be allergic to poultry, including chicken and ducks. Of course, after narrowing down the ingredients making your dog sick, eliminate the source from their diet completely.
Buying Tainted Or Poor Quality Dog TreatsThe best strategy for preventing sickness due to dog treats is to only feed your dog all-natural, American-made products. Unfortunately, there have been past incidents of dog treats manufactured in China poisoning dogs. Thus, when in doubt, it’s smart to check the labels and stick with brands that you trust. Here is some more advice to consider when purchasing treats for your pup:
- Generally, less is more with dog treats. Therefore, avoid products with long and/of confusing ingredient lists. Instead, stick to treats that have few and mostly whole ingredients.
- Avoid products with words like “meat by-product” or “animal meal.” These are low-quality and questionable proteins that could potentially make your dog ill.
- Don’t purchase dog treats that use chemicals or fillers, such as soy, corn, and wheat.