Before reading this article, do take note once again this is based on personal opinions and experience, countries mentioned are strictly referring to certain food or treats in the particular country, countries mentioned are based solely on pet treats and food, there is no intention whatsoever to refer to the culture or people, if mentioning of countries offends you, please skip this article.
Choosing treats may seem like a 15 minutes thing, just go into a pet store, pick up your usual treat and just pay at the counter. Truth is, have you ever wondered what's in the treats you are feeding to your dog? There are many kinds of treats out there, I have seen at least 50 different kinds of brand and flavor, I believe there are still more that I have not seen or heard of. There are treats that improves dental problems, there are treats that are good for training, there are even treats that just taste good without any benefits (I called it eat-for-fun). In this guide we will be going through on how to select good treats, what treats are good for different scenarios and how to avoid treats that are unhealthy.
First of all, every time when you see an interesting treat, look behind and note the country it is produced/made in. Our recommendation are as followed, from best to worst.
Recommended : Made in - U.S.A, UK, New Zealand
Neutral: Made in - Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea
NOT Recommended: China, Unrecognized countries/states
From what I noticed, food that are produced in "recommended" countries are usually safe for consumption, it is also easier to find no rice, no artificial flavoring and 100% pure meat in their treats. I would not recommend treats that have multiple meat mixed in, for example if you are going to buy a treat that is made of lamb, get one that says 100% lamb, do not buy something that says lamb + chicken, because most probably it is made of only 10% lamb and 90% chicken. This is a marketing strategy, obviously chicken meat is much cheaper compared to lamb, also if you compare the price of pure meat to mixed meat treats you would probably notice the price difference. Most dogs have allergy to certain meat, this should also be taken in consideration, giving mixed meat would only confuse you in differentiating what meat your dog is actually allergic to.
Japan obviously makes the most beautiful-looking treats I have ever seen, ranging from jelly to cute bone-like to brightly colored treats, they all look so tempting even to us humans. But what are they made of? Why is it made like that? Japanese are very crazy about the look of food packaging and presentation, so much that most actually seemed to be targeting people than giving the best for our dogs. Of course there are certain brands like Marukan which we think are one of the better Japanese dog treats out there. However one cannot deny that in order to make beautifully colored food, to produce eye catching packaging, and also design the look of treats to make them look like it is made for a child instead of a dog, would already cost a lot more money. Adding artificial flavors to create attractiveness and more preservatives would be needed to prolong these treats. Another thing is that it will be hard for most non-Japanese customers because the ingredients and description are all in Japanese language. This also goes for Korean produced treats, the most famous brand I can think of nowadays is bow-wow treats, these colorful treats which I have bought once seemed to be artificially-colored and full of starch with little to no nutrition. After getting a new quality treat Amber seemed to ignore bow-wow treats. This was the only Korean treats we got ever since, however this does not put them in "NOT Recommended" because they do not harm the dog unless taken in really huge quantity, which applies to the same thing for any other treats, one must give everything in moderation. Take note that some Taiwan treats are actually produced in China, do be careful of these treats because there are news of treats made in China that sicken dogs, some died after consuming. As for Thailand made treats there are very few products that are made there, the good ones would be Dingo treats, which I believe is just produced in Thailand for cheaper manufacturing purpose. I also do not know much about other dog treats made there, which is why it is placed in "neutral".
China, one of the world's largest pet supply manufacturer, some of their pet treats and food have made dogs sick and even killed them in some cases, these manufacturers are known for mimicking famous brands and making something that look good using the cheapest ingredients one can find, on many occasions when we are browsing on treats for Amber, we could see a brand that have packaging that looks very much like they were made in U.S.A. The style, the look and the overall feel is very neat and professional, without looking behind at the country it is made in, we could never have guessed it is made in China. Sometimes they also mimic the Japanese and Korean style on the design, you could see a treat that is written in FULL Japanese/Korean, even the ingredients can be in those language, but once we look at the manufactured country, guess what? Made in China. Their food quality control is also proven to be among the worst in the world, not mentioning even baby milk powder were reported killing infants (im talking about human food!). Manufacturers are always lured to setting up factories there because of the low cost of land and labors. Please remember not to buy any food made there to be safe, toys made in China are still acceptable but do get good brands like Kong.
I hope after this article people would more or less understand how to choose a quality treat, in the next article we will explain the different kinds of treats and how to apply them to different scenarios.
All treats Made-in-China
*** How To Read Country Of Origin In Bar Codes ***
For your Information ... the first 3 digits of the barcode is the country code wherein the product was made.
Sample: all barcodes that start with 690.691.692 until 695 are all MADE IN CHINA.
471 is Made in Taiwan
** Do note that the bar code method of checking the origin of a product is not 100% reliable, owners still have to be careful and cautious!