Sunday, November 16, 2014

(Sometimes) Ignorance is Bliss

I feel like I've written something like this before. Maybe I have or maybe I just thought I did, but either way it's obviously an important topic to me  if I have actually written  or have just dreamed about writing about wishing that sometimes I didn't know.
What is this little nugget of knowledge that is bothering me?
Dog nutrition.
This evening, as a break from writing one of my numerous papers, I decided to go on to Amazon and just browse the plethora of dog treats available for purchase. I used to do this from time to time, but I haven't done it in a while. So, off I went. I guess for me it's a way to window shop independently. If I take most people into pet shops with me they want to get in and out and they certainly don't want to go through the insane amounts of dog products available.
Who can blame them?
Think about just how much is piled on to one shelf in just the toy section or the treat section.
However, if I don't browse how do I find out what's out there?
Some things I learn about from friends or by reading doggie articles and sometimes someone will be brave enough to go into a pet store with me, but most often I figure things out by seeing them listed on a site like Amazon. If I think the title looks interesting then I go and look the product up on its company's site-reading the ingredients, of course.
Here's where the "ignorance is bliss" part comes in.
If you read the names of the products they sound great, right?
Words like "natural," "baked," "organic,"" "grain free," Etc make the majority of those treats sound fantastic. One treat in particular caught my attention because it claimed to be an ever lasting chew treat that was grain free. Since I thought it sounded good I took a closer look and immediately scratched it off my list. Right after the "ever lasting" part and the "minimal ingredients" part it said chicken "flavored."
Chicken = good
Chicken FLAVORED = not so good.
Have you ever seen those people snacks in stores that read "butter flavoring" only to find out that when you read the ingredients there isn't any butter in it at all? Same thing applies here.
Quite often if the label reads "flavored" anything, whether it's duck/salmon/chicken/bison/kangaroo, it means that that meat isn't actually in that treat. And if it is, it's way down on the ingredients list. Other yummy things like sodium (AKA salt) and stuff are used to make that tasty chicken flavor.
I was disappointed. A pack of two was only 3 bucks. If they had been truly ever lasting and contained good ingredients, like chicken as it pretended to have, that treat would have been great. If I hadn't taken it upon myself to know what I was putting into my dogs, so many types of treats would be available to us at an affordable price. However, dog nutrition, and nutrition in general, is an interest of mine and we all know what I do with things that are of interest to me...
research it to death.
All of the treats that I would have been comfortable with getting for my dogs were all over the $15 mark. Some were $12, but the packages were tiny. I checked on Bully sticks and was stunned that a pack of 6 was $28.
For cow penis?!
Come on!
So now what?
Well, I go back to making my own treats. I can buy a tray of chicken gizzards for about $3, dehydrate them and I have some happy pups. I'm still struggling with chews though. It was shocking to me that you can buy a bag of 50 to 60 rawhide chews for less than $10, but if you want one sterilized beef bone you're paying close to $5 for just one.
I guess part of it too is that these are treats. They don't always have to be healthy as the word "treat" would imply. And, not every treat I eat is healthy. In fact, that pizza I had for dinner was less healthy than the bison and chicken kibbles my crew gobbled down for their dinner. So, if I want to get them store bought treats, or chews, then I may have to settle for something that has ingredients that aren't quite satisfactory. Otherwise, Mr. K and I won't be eating because we won't have enough money to feed ourselves.
Gaining new information takes a lot of work, but undoing what you know is impossible.

1 comment:

L^2 said...

Have you ever checked out Zuke's Mini Naturals training treats. They're not perfect, but better than a lot of the so-called "healthy" treats on the market. And like you said, they're treats, not a meal, so I've gotten them once or twice for Jack when I didn't have the time or energy to make treats myself. They're anywhere from $8 to $15 per pound here (depending on which protein source you choose). That is on the pricier side, but they're definitely not the most expensive treats I've ever considered. The Honest Kitchen freeze-dried dog food company also makes some relatively good treats, but they're typically $12 or more for a pound of treats too. It's just like dog food - usually the better the quality of the treat, the more it costs.