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How to Avoid Deadly Animal Treats


China supplies America with 85 percent of its pet food and treats, shipping approximately 86 million pounds into the United States each year. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been tracking some disturbing reports of severe illnesses and deaths relating to animal food ingestion from products made in China, with a spike in the reported number of deaths from treat consumption.

The FDA released a statement on September 14, 2012, which stated that after extensive testing the compound that is making the animals sick is still unknown. Because the toxic compound remains unidentified, the FDA is not able to narrow down the extent of brand name contamination. The consistent factor reported by veterinarians was each product was made in China. There are reports indicating that healthy animals have died from consuming as few as two treats. In response to consumer concerns and veterinary findings, the FDA has established a Safety Reporting Portal where both professionals and concerned citizens can submit tainted food reports.

People give treats to animals for training purposes or as a sign of affection. It is psychologically devastating to watch a healthy animal suffer a needless illness or death simply because of a treat. Here are some treat alternatives to store bought items. These suggestions provide a safer reward system for animals and peace of mind for caregivers.

Quick Homemade Dog Treats
This can be made in any quantity and is easily constructed by eyeballing added ingredients and using the sense of smell.

Items Needed:
  • Premixed baking product, like Bisquick
  • Water
  • Peanut Butter or unsweetened applesauce
  • Oatmeal
  • Rolling pin (optional)
  • Cookie cutter (optional)
Directions:
  • Place premixed flour in bowl
  • Add just enough water so that the dough turns into a firm ball. If it is too runny, simply add more mix
  • Stir in peanut butter or unsweetened applesauce to desired smell
  • Cover bowl for 20 minutes and let stand
  • Roll dough in oatmeal
  • Either roll dough into a log and cut to desired thickness (typically one inch or 2.5cm) or roll it out using a rolling pin and use a cookie cutter
  • Bake in a preheated oven of 350 F (177 C) for about 15 minutes
  • Treats are done baking when they are golden brown and firm to the touch
  • Place treats in a container and keep in the freezer for extra crunch and freshness
Super Easy Dog Treats
Here is an ideal option for those who do not care to bake or lack the time.

Items Needed:
  • Dehydrator
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Apples
Directions:
  • Wash sweet potatoes
  • Core apples and discard all of the seeds and stems
  • Cut the sweet potatoes and apples into even slices
  • Place a single layer of slices on each of the dehydrator trays
  • The dehydrator should be set to the fruit/nut selection or 135 F (38 C)
  • Check the drying process after 24 hours (treats should be firm and not flexible)
  • Put the treats in a storage container and place in the freezer for extra crunch and freshness
Excitement for Domestic Cats
While treats are effective as rewards for dogs exhibiting good behavior, there is little intrinsic value to feeding domestic cats treats. The best way to excite a cat is with a scratch-board that has catnip rubbed into it or an open box with a few pieces of crumpled plain paper tossed inside that have been rubbed in catnip.

Horse Treats
Store bought treats are expensive and unnecessary. The best treats for horses remain either carrots or apples. Here is a cookie recipe for those who want to add a little more variety.

Items Needed:
  • Premixed baking product
  • Water
  • Oatmeal
  • Shredded carrots
  • Unsweetened applesauce
Directions:
  • Place premixed flour in bowl
  • Add just enough water so that the dough turns into a firm ball. If it is too runny, simply add more mix
  • Stir in shredded carrots and unsweetened applesauce. Cover bowl and let stand for 20 minutes
  • Roll dough in oatmeal
  • Roll into logs and cut to desired thickness (typically one inch or 2.5cm)
  • Bake in a preheated oven of 350 F (177 C) for about 15 minutes
  • Treats are done baking when they are golden brown and firm to the touch
  • Place treats in a container and keep in the freezer for extra crunch and freshness
The bottom line for treats and pet food; avoid purchasing products made in China. The country has a high disregard for animal welfare issues, from skinning animals alive to the use of toxic ingredients in their animal edibles.

For those consumers who only purchase store bought prepackaged items, carefully review labels and only purchase products that clearly state "Made In" on the item. Avoid buying products designed to trick consumers with "Distributed" information. This information does not relay the products origins, only its distribution points within a given country.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Deb Duxbury. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Deb Duxbury. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Deb Duxbury for details.

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