Food Guidelines

The Dirty Dozen: 12 Pet Treats to Avoid

DSC_2800If you were making your own dog treats, using the freshest and most wholesome, healthy ingredients, would you ever consider dumping sugar into the mix?

Of course not. So why, then, do a number of the most popular dog treats on the market contain high amounts of sugar? Because dogs love it.

According to a press release from Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) and author of “Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter – A Vet’s Plan to Save Their Lives” (2010 HCI),

…the problem is linked to money – lots of it. With US pet treat sales estimated to be nearly $2 billion in 2010, the treat bowl has turned golden. “Sugar is incredibly attractive to dogs. If a dog gobbles a treat quickly, an owner is more likely to give another – and another.  This adds up to more sales – and profits. In the race for pet treat profits, our pets’ health is being bankrupted.”

With 45% of American dogs and 58% of cats considered overweight, an estimated 89 million pets are at high risk for developing conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and more.

In addition to obesity, sugary treats lead to behavioral problems as well.

“Numerous studies in rats demonstrate that overfeeding sugar can create symptoms similar to drug addiction. A dog’s daily sweet treat may be contributing to overeating and other undesirable behaviors. This is why I call today’s high-sugar treats ‘kibble crack.’”

Still, pet treat manufacturers blame pet owners. They are, after all, the ones that purchase and feed the sugary treats.

So, Dr. Ward listed what he calls “The Dirty Dozen,” the 12 most popular sugary dog treats that should be avoided. Pet parents should be aware of what they’re feeding their pets, understand ingredient labels, and to avoid treats that masquerade as healthy and nutritious while silently contributing to the obesity epidemic.

His goal is to help pet parents to be more aware of what they’re feeding their pets. “Pet owners definitely have a feeding disorder when it comes to their pets. Ultimately it’s up to each owner to control how much they feed their pets. What I want to bring attention to is what ingredients are in pet treats – and why. Pet owners must begin to question why there is sugar in a treat that claims to help teeth,” he said.

Dr. Ward’s Dirty Dozen – Popular Sugary Pet Treats

Pet Treat Added Sugar
Canine CarryOuts Chew-lotta Dextrose first ingredient
Snausages SnawSomes! Beef and Chicken Flavor Sugars 3 of first 4 ingredients
Pedigree Jumbone Mini Snack Food for Small Dogs Sugars 2 of 3 first ingredient
Petrodex Dental Treats for Cats Dextrose second ingredient
Pedigree Jumbone Sugar third ingredient
Milk Bone Essentials Plus Oral Care Sugar third ingredient
Pup-Peroni Lean Beef Recipe Sugar third ingredient
Science Diet Simple Essentials Treats Training Adult Treats with Real Beef Sugar third ingredient
Cesar Softies Dog Treats Sugar third ingredient
Milk-Bone Chewy Chicken Drumsticks Sugar third ingredient
Meow Mix Moist Cat Treats Corn syrup fourth ingredient
Pedigree Marrobone Sugar third ingredient

Other common sugar-containing treats according to Dr. Ernie Ward:

  • Pedigree Jumbone – Sugar third ingredient
  • Beneful Snackin’ Slices – Sugar fourth ingredient
  • Pit’r Pat Fresh Breath Mint Flavored Cat Treats – Maltodextrin first ingredient
  • Three Dog Bakery Lick ‘n Crunch – Dextrose third ingredient
  • Beneful Snackin Slices – Sugar fourth ingredient
  • Busy Chewnola – Maltodextrin second ingredient
  • Exclusively Dog Vanilla Flavor Sandwich Creme Dog Cookies – Sugars first two ingredients
  • Canine Carryouts Dog Treats – Corn syrup second ingredient

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  1. The Westchester News

    Feb 6, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    This company SMUCKER knows that MILK BONE BRUSHING CHEWS has killed too many dogs, and they continue to keep these dog bones on the shelves in supermarkets and pet stores!!!

    If the CEO MARK SMUCKER don't care about our pets, I am sure he doesn't care about our children either. Don't buy SMUCKER Penut Butter and Jelly or any other product SMUCKER makes.

    Too many dogs have gotten sick and died from SMUCKER MILK BONES!!! IT'S A DOG HOLOCAUST!!!

    MARK SMUCKER: 330-682-3000


    The COMPANY SMUCKER'S MILK BONE IS DISREGARDING CLAIMS they leave the product on the shelves knowing all our pets are getting very sick from these MILK BONE BRUSHING CHEWS!! I am posting the WARNING ABOUT THIS PRODUCT “below” on every board on the internet warning pet owners about the dangers of MILK BONE BRUSHING CHEWS!!!

    If your pets have had any pet issues after eating these MILK BONE BRUSHING CHEWS please contact the Federal Trades Commission in Washington DC!!!

    CALL: 877-382-4357 Consumer Complaint: Website: react-text: 169 FTC.Gov /react-text

    These chews have been known to cause digestive blockages and kidney and bladder stones and urinary track infections in dogs!!! Beware of the Danger!!!

    We saw the TV Commercial about the Milk Bone Brushing Chews, so we thought it was safe to give to our little girl, but we thought wrong. Pishga, got very sick after eating Milk Bone Brushing Chews, she loved them too!!! That's the danger of these Milk Bones your dog will love them, but, they will also kill them.

  2. Betsy Parker

    Oct 7, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    All our treats are baked fresh. They do not contain:





    Animal By-products

    No added sweetners

  3. hypoallergenic dog treats

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    May 28, 2014 at 7:57 am

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  6. Robin (Independent Handler #209)

    May 26, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Check out For Tails Only – their treats are fresh baked in the USA with simple, straightforward ingredient lists. Ingredients are all-natural, and often organic! Plus, a percentage of the company’s profits are donated to rescues every month.

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