You know that yummy filling your dog loves licking out of that bone? It’s made primarily of corn syrup and sugar. And that rawhide that makes him jump for joy when you pull it out of its bin? Soaked in caustic chemicals and bleach.
We’ve always been careful with what goes into our dogs’ bodies in the form of food and treats, but now that we have an allergy dog, we’ve been even more hawkish. Chick isn’t especially sensitive, but like many dogs, he seems to suffer if he is fed wheat and corn — two ingredients we have now long avoided. Still, we try not to feed him the dog equivalent of “junk food.” We know how junk food makes us feel if we eat it with any regularity — why should it be any different for dogs?
Our boys both eat high-quality foods. Chick rotates through a selection of filler-free kibbles, and we’re now transitioning him to a grain-free diet since he is growing older (grains are known to cause inflammation in dogs, especially arthritic dogs). Doodlebug is fed a home-prepared raw diet for the time being, while we sort out his allergy issues — more on that in another post.
The other day at the pet store, we were shopping for toys and treats, and we stumbled upon the store’s collection of hollow sterile beef bones. We picked up one of the peanut butter filled ones, just for fun, and were horrified at the ingredient list:
Filling: Meat by-product, corn syrup, chicken meal, water, sugar, beef, peanut butter (peanuts, dextrose, corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oil, salt) poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), glycerin, salt, agar, carmel color, natural flavor, potassium sorbate (a preservative), citric acid, monocalcium phosphate, titanium dioxide, choline chloride, added color (yellow #6), ferrous sulfate, DL-Alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), Zinc oxide, sodium selenite, manganous oxide, riboflavin, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, cobalt proteinate , niacin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, D-Biotin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), calcium iodate, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement.
But dogs love to chew and lick, and we wouldn’t deprive our boys of the pleasure of gnawing on something challenging to extract some yummy snacks. In our house, we have a supply of kongs and hollow sterile bones — just like the one pictured above, only without the nasty goop inside. In a pinch, we have bought the filled bones and scooped out the filling before using it. We clean them with a bottle brush or in the dishwasher, and then stuff them with more wholesome treats — peanut butter, canned food, or in Dude’s case, ground raw duck and mashed sweet potatoes. Once the kong or bone is stuffed, we toss it in the dog section of our freezer. After a couple of hours, it’s ready!
Our boys love eating their meals and treats this way, especially as the weather heats up and a nice cool popsicle can help cool them off. When the weather hits the 80s, we can be found in the kitchen every few days filling all of our six kongs and four bones to create a stockpile in the freezer for whenever the boys need an activity or a treat.