With our dogs and cats we are 100% in control of what goes in to their bodies. Every.Single.Thing. that they consume (except for the occasional rabbit turd), it is our choice what they eat. They are 100% dependent on us for their quality nutrition... And this applies to treats and chews also.     

When it comes to treating our pets, we need to consider some questions. These are some questions I always ask myself before treating my pets:    

1️⃣   Does this treat come from a quality source?    

Sure that huge box of biscuits from the warehouse club store may seem like a good value, but what is actually IN the box? Unidentified sources of "meat & bone"? Chemical preservatives? Copious amounts of starch? Where are these ingredients sourced? What country?    

I suggest being very wary of product that one cannot identify. Meat and Bone is a very general term and can incorporate a wide variety of mystery animal sources.    

Also Chemicals are never great for us or our pets. BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin are all proven to cause cancer in the body. On top of all that, high starch biscuits can also cause inflammation in the body. We recommend avoiding starch/sugar in pet treats as much as possible.

Obviously the occasional biscuit, cookie, or doggie cupcake is a lot of fun for birthdays, holidays and dessert. And yes, we stock items like this! But please be sure of your sources... Keep in mind also that boxes and bags CAN be labeled with MADE IN THE USA and all the ingredients were sourced elsewhere. Be very aware of this loophole in the pet industry as this loophole has a history of making many pets very ill and even causing deaths... Know your sources.

2️
⃣   What value is this treat bringing to my pet?    

Is it a meaty treat? Is it a biscuit? Is it for a birthday? Is it a short term or a long term treat? Big reward or small reward? Does it compliment my pets' regular diet? Think of your goals before purchasing your treats. Are you rewarding for going potty or other training like a great recall? Or just saying "hey, I love you and here's a treat"? Are you leaving for the day and want to give a your dog or cat a goodbye treat?     

These are all valid reasons to treat your pet! And sometimes we don't even need a REAL reason, we just want to engage with our pets. However, let's consider the value... When we offer frozen/fresh or freeze dried/dehydrated meat-based treats to our dogs and cats, these quality treats are loaded with essential amino acids. From the little meaty treat nibs (for training) to the big meaty freeze-dried hearts, etc. all these kinds of treats add value to or pets diets! We encourage all to choose meat-based treats for our dogs and cats. Meat is truly what they need... Why not treat with it?    

3️⃣   I'd like to give my pet this chew, will it be safe for my specific pet?    

Chews, chews, chews - what should I do? The forever question! We get asked these questions daily and I have even turned away customers looking for a toy or a hard chew for their older dog with powerful jaws. Why would I turn away business? Because your pets' health is MOST important to us!    

I will never recommend a chew that isn't specific to your dog’s chewing capacity. We always want to consult with you about your pets’ habits before recommending a chew. And we will always recommend that with any chew, you supervise your dog’s chewing.     

A couple of great rules to live by is that you can never have a chew that is too big, but you can easily choose one that is too small.    

GO BIG! Whether Bully Stick, Raw Bone, Ears, Shanks, Antlers, or whatever, GO BIG! The larger the chew, the less likely to cause damage to your pets jaw and it's much harder for them to "inhale" or "scarf" down.   

I also recommend chews that allow for a chewing time of 10-20 minutes max. I know we want to keep our dogs busy but chewing for too long can contribute to jaw pain and lip, tooth and gum sores. When offering a large meaty chew like a raw bone, remember when there's a lot of meat, that is also calories. Some consider these large chews as the occasional meal replacements also.
    

We carry a wide variety of dog chews for a wide variety of dogs. It is very important to KNOW YOUR DOG and its chewing strength and habits. How do you learn this? Always supervise your pet during chewing. And NEVER any rawhide no matter the "source".     

When considering a chew, we are here to help, and I am very excited to announce our first ever class about chews! Please come out to our in-store event "To Chew or Not To Chew, That Is The Question" on January 25th! (See our website events page tab for more information.)    

4️    Finally - when giving any treat or chew, it is important to remember that food isn't love... I mean - seriously - I love a cookie as much as the next person, but if we continually reward ourselves with cookies all the time, we'll eventually end up with health issues. Please consider your pets' individual health/weight before treating. There's a big difference between rewarding/training and contributing to a long term health issue - and sadly - also - there is a very fine line between them...     

In summary, when treating our pets, it is always best to consider your goals when choosing those treats. Quick treat, quick chew, longer chew, more rewarding treat? What are the goals behind each treat you choose to give? Sometimes my dog or cat is just damn cute and it makes me happy to give them a little snack... And that's Okay too!    

Oh and don't forget that at Wags to Whiskers you always earn 10% in "Extra Rewards" on all treats and chews purchased with us. We are honored to earn your business.

Happy Treating! 
    

Janelle
Wags to Whiskers
Plainfield, IL.