Military Spouse Magazine

DEC 2018

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PRESERVATIVES With the exception of very few dog treat brands or you making your dog's snacks at home, there is a good chance the treats you purchase will have some form of preservative in them. Dog treats that are found in stores need to be "shelf stable" in order to ward off mildew, mold, and other harm- ful bacteria that loves light and moisture. Their effects on your dog's body vary greatly, which is why they are known as artificial or natural. Artificial preservatives are synthetic and do not nat- urally occur in nature. They tend to be in treat brands that have a smaller price tag along with unnatural dyes and preservatives to give the appearance of being fresh-baked and healthy. They include BHA (butyl- ated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) which are used as synthetic (man-made) versions of Vitamin E; and TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) and the chemical antioxidant, ethoxyquin, are used by some manufacturers to preserve fats and oils within their dog products. TBHQ has been found to cause pre-cancer- ous stomach tumors in lab animals, while ethoxyquin, typically found in fish meal and pesticides, has been under investigation for causing liver and blood issues. When buying treats that continue to stay soft even in your room temperature dog treat jar, there is most likely propylene glycol on the in- gredients list. This additive is found in antifreeze and is used to deter mold and harmful bacteria from growing in treats that have a higher mois- ture content, therefore staying soft and chewy. Looking at the natural options, there are many studies that show everyday ingredients contain oils and acids that can help keep dog treats from spoiling. Every recipe varies, requiring different natural preservatives such as rosemary oil, vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), citric acid, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid). These options are pre-existing in plants and fruits but are tremendously successful at certain concentrations in warding off mold and harmful bacteria. NOW YOU ARE IN THE KNOW! After looking at every variable, the easiest takeaway to remember is to keep it simple. As the dog products market shifts away from artificial products and continues to evolve with healthier alternatives, we see more stores with products in refrigerators and freezers, and shorter expiration dates on product packaging. Not all treats are created equal. Picking the right treat allows you to truly reward your dog with not only some- thing great to eat but also good health. H Photo by Diane Rojo

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