Yes, we've done our homework!
Are you aware of what you are actually feeding your pet?
Just go grab your pet food and treat containers, bring them back to the computer and keep reading!
Our two major concerns are what is actually in the product and where it is made.
Look at the chart to the right. We will further explain what this means and hopefully we can help you decipher what those hard to pronounce ingredients are listed on your pet treat labels.
We do not include artificial flavors or preservatives.
Now look at the labels. Do you see words such as Digest, Flavor, Meal, BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, or Propyl Gallate? These are unnecessary common artificial additives that serve as coloring, flavors, and preservatives. These can also be harmful to your pets. They are used to make the product pretty, tasty, and last a really long time. So what is so bad about that? Everything. It shouldn't take using these ingredients to make it that way. These are simply toxins that are used to make a cheap and unhealthy product that our pets can't get enough of. The aroma and taste your pet experiences with a Pawlee's treat are not by artificial ingredients. It is simply from the meats, veggies, and fruits used in our recipes.
We do not use Animal By-product Meals.
By-product Meals are used as cheap fillers and as protein boosters. The disturbing part is that we do not know what parts of the animal or even what kind of animals these come from. These are generally the parts that are not regulated for human consumption. These can contain small amounts of blood, bones, hooves, cartilage, hair, etc. These can also come from diseased and dying animals such as goats, pigs, horses, rats, road kill, and animals euthanized from shelters. Yes, it is true that euthanized dogs and cats from shelters can be used for this. With this said, these ingredients can also include pus, cancerous tissue, and decomposed tissue. We only use quality cut human grade meats from local sources in our products.
We do not add sweeteners to our recipes.
Adding sweeteners to our recipes just does not make sense when we use all natural ingredients that contain their own natural sugar. We don't feel it is necessary to add these when we don't have anything to cover up to make it more appealing. Large amounts of sugar takes its toll on dogs just as it does humans. They can cause hypoglycemia, obesity, nervousness, cataracts, tooth decay, arthritis and allergies in dogs.
We only use fresh fruit and veggies!
The reason for this is obvious. Many processed foods including fruit and veggies contain preservatives that can be harmful to dogs. We are not excluded from this either but dogs are more sensitive to things than we are. Using fresh produce eliminates the preservatives and it makes the our treats more healthy and flavorful.
Our recipes are wheat, corn, and soy free.
These are not all bad ingredients but they can cause allergic reactions and/or digestive distress in some dogs. Many pet owners do not realize their dogs are allergic because the symptoms may be mild or they don't connect the two. We want our treats to be safe and hypoallergenic so that all dogs can enjoy them. It only made sense to eliminate them from our recipes.
Symptoms of Dog Allergies:
- Red, moist or scabbed skin
- Increased scratching
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly flea allergy)
- Itchy ears and ear infections
- Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
- Paw chewing/swollen paws
- Constant licking
*** If at any time you notice your dog with these symptoms please consult your Veterinarian. Allergic reactions are not limited to food. It can be something environmental. Allergies should be taken very seriously and they can be fatal in severe cases.
Made in the USA!
As we already know most of our basic everyday products are being sourced and manufactured in other countries and much of it in China. Unfortunately pet treats are no exception. Yes, even the ones sold by well known USA based companies. Not sure which ones? You can easily find this out by reading the fine print on the package. It will usually be listed on the back at the very bottom which of course is the least obvious location. It will say something like "Manufactured for (USA company name) in China" , "Product of China" or "Made in China" and then will more than likely say "distributed by (USA company name)". When you see this it means the actually food product was made in China but shipped to the USA company to be packaged and distributed here. There is one brand that has really been under the spotlight regarding this. The most controversial is the jerky treat brand "Waggin Train", owned by Nestlé Purina Petcare Co, but many more are being added. There are many articles on the Internet regarding this issue including warnings by the FDA.
If you do not have any treats on hand to inspect the labels on just go to your local grocery store or where ever you normally purchase your treats from. Take a few minutes to pick up a some packages and read the labels closely. You will be shocked! Especially by the ones that are highly reputable and well known. Fortunately, there are other independently owned companies that offer wonderful and healthy treats that truly have your pet's well being in mind. We are not trying to say we are the only ones, but you will be surprised at how many companies that claim to be but their labels will tell you otherwise.
There is still no pending recall by the FDA for Chinese made pet treats regardless of the continuous issued warnings for illnesses and fatalities associated with these treats since 2007. Please keep in mind that this is not limited to the chicken jerky treats. It also applies to all treats produced in China with the newest being the dehydrated sweet potato treats. Many dogs, as well as our dogs, have had upset stomachs after consuming treats made in China. This was well before the problem was known. They usually vomit up bile which looks slimy and yellow within minutes of eating the treat. Some may also have diarrhea. Any time you see this do not give them anymore of these treats and contact your veterinarian ASAP.
Countless veterinarians have issued statements warning treats from China have been linked to Fanconi's Syndrome in dogs.
Symptoms of Fanconi’s syndrome include:
- Increased drinking and urinating
- “Accidents” in the house
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Blood and urine tests show azotemia (high BUN and Creatinine), dilute urine, and glucose in the urine (that isn’t diabetes).
Most affected dogs have recovered over time with good supportive care. If you notice any of these symptoms or anything out of the ordinary with your pet(s) after consuming any food product get medical assistance immediately.
Whether you buy our treats or another brand, please always make sure you are an informed pet owner and consumer. Read those labels and know what you are giving your pets. Never feel like you are a bad pet owner if you have purchased unhealthy treats. Many of us have fallen victim to a company's false claim for healthy treats. Most importantly never feel ashamed to consult with your veterinarian if you feel products that you have given your pet may have made them sick. Making an effort to become informed to make better decisions for your pet(s) is the best thing
you can ever do for them.
A very valuable source is a website by Canine Care & Nutrition Consultant, Sabine Contreras. Read more about these ingredients mentioned above and more from The Dog Food Project by clicking here.
You can also get more information regarding pet treats made in China direct from the FDA's website by clicking here.