Dog Treats: Store-Bought or Homemade?


A friend just posted an article online about the launch of a brand-new pet treat manufacturing company in California – that is, a California-based subsidiary of a Chinese pet food manufacturing company, Gambol Pet Group. The company is already the largest provider of private-label pet treats for Walmart in the U.S. and Canada.

This is bound to set off a predictable avalanche of negative comments about Chinese manufacturers of dog foods and treats – which I, myself, strenuously avoid, due to concerns about lax controls over the food industry in China. However, this U.S.-based subsidiary will have to follow U.S. laws and inspections, and, in our opinion, really shouldn’t be regarded with any more or less suspicion than any pet food or treat manufacturer.

That said, I’m not a big fan of any private-label treats; in fact, the only dog treats I’d ever buy are from well-established companies with a long-standing perfect record of safe manufacturing. I look for companies I know and trust – and scrutinize the ingredients list, anyway, for any low-cost or “filler” type ingredients, artificial colors and flavor, and sugar and other palatants.

Truth be told, I don’t like buying treats at all; I use real food as treats, instead. Most dogs strongly prefer this, anyway, and will work far harder and more enthusiastically for tiny cubes of roasted or canned chicken, cheese, hot dog, roast beef, ham, etc.

But the treat industry is so huge, people must really like buying them, for reasons that escape me. So many treats – virtually all the ones you can buy in big-box stores and supermarkets – contain sketchy ingredients and loads of artificial colors. Fake bacon? Why not . . . bacon?

Do you buy commercially made treats for your dog? Why?