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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Contaminated dog food: It's happening again

In case you haven't heard, the mystery deaths of hundreds of pet dogs have been attributed to Jerky Treats made in China. The treats are distributed under a number of different brand names, so the safest course of action would be to avoid all store-bought brands -- unless you can be completely certain that you are buying a product made from 100% domestic ingredients.

Of course, even before the "Chinese problem" became apparent, pet food was a scandal. See here and here.

I suggest giving your dog home-made treats. Here are some recipes. Also see here. Making meals for your hound is neither expensive nor difficult -- just scout out a cheap source of animal protein (hamburger, poultry, even jack mackerel), then toss the meat into a pot with some rice (or oatmeal), water and maybe some frozen veggies. Experience will quickly teach you the right proportions. In all likelihood, you'll save money.

Let me once again thank this blog's readers for helping my Bella during her recent health scare. Sometimes I wish she were young again -- as she closes in on fourteen, she doesn't chase birds and squirrels they way she used to. But she still sleeps on my hand every night.
Bella is a good name for this beauty!

One of my friends lost her Boston Terrier during the first scandal. I became somewhat obsessed with not buying any treats made in China, and I want to share some of the tricks manufacturers are using to move their products now that people are more aware.

Besides making the "made in China" tiny and almost impossible to find, or simply not marked at all, I've also seen permutations of "packaged in the USA" ----which pointedly omits the SOURCE of the treat they "packaged" here.

Also, the first three digits in a barcode show where the product came from:

690 or 691 or 692 ... then it is MADE IN CHINA
00 - 09 ... USA & CANADA
30 - 37 FRANCE
40 - 44 GERMANY
471 ... Taiwan
49 ... JAPAN
50 ... UK

Ah, if it were only that easy...

Instead of meat, many dogs will also enjoy protein-rich chickpeas (US: garbanzo beans) and peanut butter. I feel guilty about feeding my border collie so much 'complete' kibble. We mix it with cooked soya chunks, and she gets vegetables too, but still... soon she's going to get surprised with some p/b biscuits :-)
Frozen yogurt cubes drive her crazy, but then so do ice cubes.
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