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