This excerpt was found in Science Daily and the full article about bull/steer byproduct dog treats can be found by clicking here. “A popular dog treat could be adding more calories than pet owners realize, and possibly be contaminated by bacteria, according to a study published this month by researchers at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and the University of Guelph.”
I have a couple of concerns. The first is that there is a tinge of sensationalism inserted in the article which when I find it in scientific research impacts its credibility and makes me wonder who funded the research and whether there’s a hidden agenda. As they admit, “The number of treats sampled was small and not all of these bacterial strains have been shown to infect humans.” They only tested 26 samples. I’m only guessing myself but surely there must be at least 26 different suppliers of this product in North America. Not particularly scientifically responsible to publish something that may not reflect the condition of the product as processed and supplied by some or most suppliers of the product.
The second concern is less “conspiratory” in nature. Veterinary science/research is infamous for taking a myopic approach to dog health. I certainly agree with the need to address the ingestion of unnecessary calories in this treat or any other for that matter as it may impact the dog’s ingestion of a properly balanced diet and ultimately contribute to obesity which is one of the leading at least from a catalyst perspective, causes of death (dental as well) later in a dog’s life. What they aren’t taking into consideration is that dogs also need to chew. It’s good for their teeth but it’s also good for their minds. It’s the latter that the veterinary community needs to incorporate into their healthy puppy/dog strategies. For years veterinarians have cautioned owners to not take their pups anywhere until their inoculations have been complete in order to protect them from dangerous exposure to things like corona and parvo virus. As this typically happens smack dab in the middle of their critical socialization period where if they are to lead normal non-fearful lives they need to get out and about in the environment. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the number of dogs that lose their lives or lead restricted lives due to socialization issues aren’t far off those that used to lose their lives to parvo-virus. Fortunately both bases can be covered. (You can learn more about puppy socialization by downloading my free puppy socialization cheat sheet or buying much more complete and well worth the $9.99 investment e-book Puppy Socialization with John Wade and/or coming out to one of my free puppy socialization information workshops)
Back to the chewing. Dogs need to chew. It relieves stress and while I don’t recommend the bully sticks as a stand alone chew toy I’ve always been happy with how well the average dog takes to a good lay down and chew of a bully stick. Watch the following video to see how I address the unnecessary calorie ingestions, reduce the chance of choking, and make it cheaper to use, plus increase overall enjoyment for the dog.