Are fish or meat-based treats better for dogs?
What's better, fish or meat-based treats for dogs? It's a valid question, but the answer is often difficult to come by, mainly thanks to clever marketing tricks. Fortunately, we're here to make a few things crystal clear...
One of the clear and uncompromising benefits of fish for dogs is that it's generally A LOT LOWER IN FAT LEVELS than meat, which is why it's ideal for training, for dogs needing to lose some weight or for those looking to maintain a healthy weight.
Don't forget, a balanced diet for an adult dog should provide 10-15% fat. The general rule of thumb (or dewclaw) is that fat has twice as many calories as proteins or carbohydrates. A single gram of fat has about 9 calories while a single gram of protein or carbohydrates has 4 calories.
Thanks to our Canine Nutritionist, below are a few examples of HOW FAT LEVELS COMPARE FROM TREAT TO TREAT.
FAT LEVELS (%)
|BEEF TRIPE STICK||20|
|VENIDOG CHEW STICK (MEDIUM)||25.7|
|WOOFS COD SKIN TREATS||2-3|
Some other meat-based treats' fat levels can even skyrocket to well over the 50% mark!
Many people will be aware that having high fat levels isn't necessarily a bad thing. Fats often hold some ESSENTIAL NUTRITIONAL VALUE, such as the Omega—3 fatty acids found in fish oil, which can aid in the proper brain and eye development of puppies, among other benefits.
Whilst meat-based treats are often less than ideal for dogs with digestive sensitivities, NATURAL FISH TREATS ARE HYPOALLERGENIC and can act as a great, easily-digestible protein source for dogs in general. There are additional benefits too, especially for dogs with liver or kidney disease.
Raw, oily fish is very nutritious and supplies essential amino acids, fatty acids and ESSENTIAL FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMIN D in the diet. 10-15% of oily fish meets the needs of this vitamin, and gram for gram contains more than organs and eggs. The main reason why meat is extremely low in vitamin D is that a lot of these animals live their lives in barns and don't have access to an outdoor environment.
Our Canine Nutritionist, Moddie, also wanted to highlight another issue, whereby COMPANIES CLEVERLY DISGUISE THE TRUE INGREDIENTS within treats. They do this through a "categories of ingredients" LIST, rather than by including the exact ingredients (like we do). Here are some of those clever marketing tricks to look out for when buying any dog food or treats, whether they be meat or fish-based.
A blanket term for different types of grains. It’s therefore impossible to know what types of grains are included or the qualities of those grains.
DERIVATIVES OF VEGETABLE ORIGIN
There’s no way of knowing what the ingredients are. The vagueness of this term also allows companies to change the formula from one batch to another, depending on what vegetable products are available at the time.
MEAT AND ANIMAL DERIVATIVES
This could be anything from any animal, including heads, feet, guts, lungs, hair, and feathers. Again, the recipe van be changed from one batch to another, depending on what’s available or cheapest (most likely).
MINERALS (including sodium tripolyphosphate)
Sodium Tripolyphosphate (E451) is an artificial preservative which, according to Wikipedia, is a component of commercial detergents, antifreeze and flame retardants.
OILS AND FATS
This broad term covers ALL fats and oils from plants and animals. It could refer to beneficial oils or high-quality animal fats, or it could refer to low grade, potentially harmful or highly processed oils. Because it’s impossible to know exactly what oils or fats are included, it’s best to assume the worst...
To emphasise the issue with companies using these broad terms, Moddie has a fantastically awful example of quite how bad it can get. She once analysed a diet for a private client a few years ago, only to find that their dog food was 40% CARDBOARD! Yes, seriously, cardboard is a natural product and therefore was fine to put in dog food.
It would be irresponsible for us to tell you that you should steer clear of meat-based treats altogether. You really shouldn't. Dogs have their own dietary requirements, sensitivities and taste preferences. It's important to make sure that your dog has a well-rounded diet filled with all of the essentials they require.
That being said...fish is stacked full of all sorts of essential nutritional benefits and is a far better way of helping dogs to maintain a healthy weight, among numerous other benefits. Therefore, FISH WILL ALWAYS BE OUR WINNER.
We hope that you've now got a far better idea of how fish-based treats compare to meat-based treats! Make sure to sign up to our mailing list and follow us on social media for more updates and exclusive offers.
We'd love for you to take a look at our collection of 100% natural (genuinely) and sustainable fish-based treats!