Peeling back the “Made in the USA” label

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Just because your pet’s treats are made in the USA, it doesn’t mean they’re safe. Here’s a few other things to look for when choosing the best product for your animal companion.

In 2015, retailers began pulling Chinese-made pets treats off shelves following reports of hundreds of dog deaths linked to contamination. Since then, concerned pet parents have shied away from food products made in Asia, opting for those manufactured closer to home. In fact, the “Made in the USA” label has become almost synonymous with safety and quality.

But although many great pet products are manufactured by U.S. companies, “made in the USA” doesn’t always guarantee peace of mind. In 2018 alone, there were 39 pet food and pet treat recalls, according to DogFoodAdvisor.com. The reasons for the recalls included contamination by salmonella, listeria, E. coli, and even pentobarbital – a powerful euthanasia drug. The majority of these products were manufactured and/or sourced right here in the U.S.

That’s why it’s important to go beyond the “made in the USA” label and take a closer look at how your pet’s food and treats are made, the ingredients they contain, and where those ingredients come from. Here are a few tips to help you choose safe, healthy, high-quality treats for your furry family member.

Read the label

The first step to understanding what you’re feeding your pet is to look at the ingredients list on the back. Make sure you see wholesome, healthy ingredients like whole proteins and antioxidant-packed superfoods. Stay away from cheap fillers, artificial additives, and potentially harmful ingredients like corn, gluten, and glycerin.

Trace the source

Where and how ingredients are sourced is as important as the ingredients themselves. While it’s easy to assume that “sourced in the USA” is healthier than something sourced elsewhere, that’s not always the case.

Pollutants, pesticides, bacteria, and how an animal is raised can all affect the quality and safety of ingredients. Whenever possible, choose treats and food that contain organic or near-organic ingredients that are not genetically modified. Ideally, these ingredients should be sourced from parts of the world that have low pollution levels. That may mean a manufacturer has to use a source outside the U.S. to ensure safety and quality, so don’t automatically discount ingredients from other countries.

Demand transparency

Whether you are purchasing treats made or sourced in the U.S. or abroad, companies should have nothing to hide when it comes to your pet’s health and happiness. Instead, they should be completely transparent about how they monitor and test their products.

If you can’t find this information on their packaging or website, call and ask! Inquire about their testing methods, how often they test, and what they test for. Make sure their report includes whether they test for things like toxins, pesticides, PCBs, heavy metals, lactose and dangerous microbes. If they can’t or won’t provide you with this information, look for a company that will. Your pet’s safety depends on it.

Where to find treats you can feel good about

Nowadays, there are some amazing treats on the market made by small, artisanal family-owned companies who really care about peeling back the label. Whether you’re shopping online or in stores, take the time to research the products you buy. Trust us… your pets will appreciate it!