There are so many treats available for dogs but of course I look for what I believe are the healthier choices. I like to stick to things that have only a few, natural ingredients in them and ones that are made in Canada if possible (since we know how much controversy surrounds some imported foods). Some time ago I came across some “chicken jerky”-like treats which contained only chicken in them and had a wonderful “Canadian quality checked certified laboratories” stamp on them and of course Caesar loved them… but soon after, he got significant itching of his skin. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence (although I only give him one “new” food or treat over a few days), so I decided to continue with these treats. The itching got worse. So I stopped the new jerky treats and wouldn’t you know it, the itching improved and then was gone in just a few days. I looked more carefully at the package I had bought and saw that although there was only chicken in the ingredients, the food had been irradiated so humans were advised to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water after giving them to their dogs. What?! If my hands are vulnerable to this irradiation how could my dog not be? I used to buy sweet potato chews for him but have noticed the same itching reaction. Perhaps they were also irradiated…
So I did a search on irradiated dog treats and found quite the controversy surrounding this issue. I even came across this NBC news article which is worth reading: http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/14/13865945-pet-jerky-treat-death-toll-360-dogs-1-cat-fda-says?lite
I have since that time made my own chicken-bites and sweet potato treats for Caesar although I will still buy some non-irradiated cookies or yogurt treats for Caesar.
But I don’t want Caesar to be getting too many cookies. I like him to get fruits and veggies into his diet regularly and even though I do use a lot of veggies in the meals that I prepare for him, I decided it’s time to create healthier treats for my fur-baby. So I have started making chips-for-dogs, or as I like to call them “Wag Bags” — because Caesar does love them (of course he loves most treats)! I am making 3 varieties at this time: sweet potato, kale and beet chips.
These crunchy/chewy snacks are antioxidant-rich, good for his teeth because of their texture, and good for my soul in knowing that he’s getting some great sources of vitamins and minerals from treats that he loves so much.
In my next post, I will share with you the benefits of these treats on the canine body so that you can look for similar nutrients to get into your dog! Pictures to come soon of my own treats — $5/bag — what a tasty gift of health for your dog!! Happy Holidays everyone!
“We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare, and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made.” —Author: M. Acklam
Okay, so you know about some of the potential health risks for miniature schnauzers and you’re wondering what kind of foods to feed your loved puppy or adult dog.
Here is what I have found to be most useful:
1. Protein!!! Good sources of protein include fish, lamb, chicken, duck and beef. High quality specific proteins are most important, with some kind of specific “meat” or “specific meat meal” (listed as salmon meal or lamb meal etc) being the first on the list, and not a by-product. So you can look for “lamb” or “lamb meal”, “chicken” or “chicken meal”, etc. listed in the ingredients list. Please note that seeing the words “meat meal” is not a good sign — this could mean anything (yes, anything) — which is too generic to trust as nutritious sources of protein. Also remember that whole meat (beef, chicken, duck, lamb etc) contains a lot of actual water by weight, so if the first ingredient is whole lamb or duck, and not lamb meal or duck meal, then you need to look for at least one or two other animal proteins early in the ingredients list, with at least one also preferably being a meal such as chicken meal or salmon meal, etc. Remember that ingredients of the highest quantities are listed first and when whole lamb/duck/chicken is used in the food, it’s weighed with the water content included (this is not the same as having the same weight of dry protein).
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I do make most of Caesar’s food now. From meals to treats; however, for meals I also include dry kibble with ingredients that I am happy with to encourage healthy teeth and gums. Many holistic brands are good to use even as complete food for miniature schnauzers (I like to see 20 – 30% protein in a dog food and fat from 7 – 12% — since we also supplement with additional essential fatty acids which I will explain in a later post).
2. Grains that I have found useful/acceptable for Caesar are brown rice, oats and barley. Wheat is often an allergen in humans and can be for dogs too.
3. Fats that are best to work with (in my opinion) are: salmon oil, flaxseed oil, flaxseed meal and/or coconut oil. Again, these are oils that we also know are healthy for humans.
4. FRUIT: Caesar absolutely loves fruit and we love the additional vitamins that he acquires from fruit. We like to give him blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears, watermelon, papaya, and his all-time favourite — mangos (see picture on nutrition page)! What’s important to remember is that fruit contains sugars and excess sugars contribute to diseases like diabetes (which is also related to pancreatic health) so it’s best to give small quantities of fruit for the best digestion of it. If your miniature schnauzer is anything like Caesar, he/she will love these treats and they can be used fresh or dried for great training treats too 🙂
What to AVOID:
Equally important in mini schnauzer health (maybe all dogs) is what to avoid to encourage good health for your dog.
The most important things to avoid are: meat by-products, poultry by-products, “meat meal” in the ingredient list (remember that meat meal could potentially contain anything such as diseased or dead/dying animals, including the possibility of euthenised pets as well as a legally-acceptable or allowable percentage of various chemicals and toxins. Soy and corn (both are often the cause of various food sensitivities) and cancers from estrogenic-compounds in soy are very common in humans. Of course it’s good to also avoid artificial flavours, artificial colors, BHA, and BHT.
Onions, garlic,chocolate, any kind of alcohol and caffeine, chocolate, and raisins and grapes are all unacceptable foods to feed dogs — some more toxic than others but all of these are unhealthy (sometimes life-threatening) for your dog! If you are reading this, you know that the internet is a wonderful resource — if you are wanting to try/share a new food with your dog, look it up first to see if it’s safe or not — when in doubt, just don’t feed it! The short-term satisfaction to both you and your dog is not worth any health problems and grief that can arise from unsafe food choices.
“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”
~ Mark Twain
Hope this info is helpful to you — more to come soon,