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The Hidden Danger In Your Dog's Treats

The Hidden Danger In Your Dog's Treats
I've got some good news, and some bad news.

I'll start with the bad:

More than half of dogs
 living in the US are suffering from a health problem that can impact the length and quality of their life.

Worse, when surveyed, 80% of dogs' owners have no idea that their dog might be experiencing this problem.

What I'm referring to, of course, is excess weight.  Around 54% of dogs in the United States are overweight, and about one out of three dogs is clinically obese.

Overweight and obese dogs struggle in so many 
ways.  The strain of extra pounds makes them more likely to develop chronic joint pain. Their hearts have to work harder, leading to high blood pressure. They can even suffer from difficulty walking and breathing.  And that's just a few of the many possible negative side effects.

It's no wonder that studies show that the lives of overweight dogs are up to 2 1/2 years shorter than those of healthy weight dogs.

Now for the good news: there's just one small change you can make in your dog's life to help them drop those dangerous extra pounds, and to keep the pounds off of already healthy dogs.

In my experience as a practicing veterinarian, there's one major contributing blind spot that's almost universal among dog ownershigh caloric intake, especially when it comes to treats. 

Even dog owners feeding expensive boutique foods don't seem to pay much attention to the calorie count in their dog's treats.  But excess calories are exactly what leads to excess weight.

For example, an active 20 pound dog should consume up to 400 calories each day, and no more than 10% of those calories should be treats.  That means 40 calories for snacking.

A single dog biscuit from a popular brand contains about 40 calories.  In other words, just one treat is enough to hit that daily limit!  I don't know about you, but I don't know many dog owners who wouldn't feel terrible limiting their dogs to just one treat a day... I sure can't!

If you're already off biscuits and feeding something like a single ingredient meat treat, that's a good start.  But even these treats can be a little on the rich side, typically containing 6-8 calories per treat. 

So that's around 5 or 6 treats a day for that 20 pound dog.  Better, but, let's be honest, you don't want to stop there, and neither does your dog.

As an alternative to commercial treats, you can feed your dogs healthy fruits and vegetables like berries, root vegetables, and leafy greens as healthy snacks.

Or, switch to a healthier and lower calorie treat product. At Canine Sciences, we designed our Nutrient Heaven product specifically with the idea of creating a very low-calorie, healthy and still delicious treat.

Nutrient Heaven freeze-dried dog treats are 90% meat and are less than 2 calories each!

Using the prior example, a 20-pound dog can get over 20 Nutrient Heaven treats a daycompared to just one biscuit, or just 5-6 single-ingredient meat treats, without spoiling their healthy diet!

How did Canine Sciences do it?  With nature's help!  Because it turns out that the diet of our dogs' ancestors is what's healthiest for them to eat today.

We made Nutrient Heaven out of whole duck, a premium meat that is naturally lean, and included the rich, flavorful organs like heart and kidney that wild canines are first to gobble down after a successful hunt, but excluded the fatty calorie-rich skin. 

Then we added low-calorie superfoods based on the foraged foods that wild dogs seek out in nature - sweet, juicy blackberries, refreshing, nutrient-rich kale, and delicious sweet potato

Finally, we freeze-dried all those great ingredients at their freshest, so your dog gets the big raw taste and nutrition of real, natural food, with no grains or fillers.

It's as simple as that - keeping your dog at a healthy weight requires real, balanced, natural food, made the way that nature intended for your dog to eat.

With a properly formulated treat like Nutrient Heaven in hand, you can keep your dog fit and healthy without compromising the wonderful and rewarding bonding experience that is snacktime. 

Wishing you and your dog the best of health,

Dr. Edward Tuk


Canine Sciences designed our Nutrient Heaven treats to be low calorie and healthy for all dogs, by choosing tasty natural ingredients that dogs love, but that aren't packed with empty calories.  And every purchase is protected by an industry-leading 90-day satisfaction guarantee - because we know your dog will love them!

Click on one of the products below to learn more!

Nutrient Heaven Freeze-Dried Duck Delight Treats

Naturally Scrumptious Freeze-Dried Raw Turkey & Salmon Feast

Radiant Canine Full-Spectrum Dog Nutritional Supplement


Treating Digestive Allergies and Intolerances Through Diet

Treating Digestive Allergies and Intolerances Through Diet

Like humans, dogs can often experience the effects of allergies.  Many experts estimate that around 1 in 5 dogs will suffer from allergies at some point in their lives.

Allergic reactions occur when the immune system mistakenly recognizes a foreign substance as dangerous.  The production of anti-bodies against this otherwise harmless invader causes the familiar symptoms of allergies – inflammation, itchiness, runny eyes and nose, etc.

The symptoms of allergies aren’t just uncomfortable, but can also be painful, disruptive, and even increase the chances of other illnesses.  Dogs can even injure themselves trying to scratch an itch that just won’t go away.  That’s why allergies are something every dog owner should be prepared to deal with.

Dietary allergies

When an allergic reaction is triggered by something in your dog is eating, that’s referred to as a dietary allergy.  This inflames the digestive tract, leading to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting, as well as external symptoms like rashes, fur loss, or excessive tearing of the eyes.

Allergies are always caused by proteins.  The most common dog dietary allergies are to chicken, beef, soy, and wheat.  It’s no coincidence that these foods are also the primary sources of protein for the most popular dog foods, as overexposure to a particular ingredient can cause allergies to develop where they never existed before.

Food sensitivies

Note that while dietary allergies are actually not especially common, food sensitivities can be – and in fact, food intolerance is often misdiagnosed as an allergy, as the symptoms are similar.  Food intolerance typically has nothing to do with the immune system, however, but occurs when the digestive system isn’t able to process something present in the food they ate. 

Food sensitivity is also not limited to proteins - lactose intolerance, for example, when the digestive system is unable to break down the sugar found in milk, is one of the more common food sensitivities among both humans and dogs.  Food sensitivity can also be triggered by synthetic additives like artificial preservatives or colors.

Addressing allergies and sensitivities

Food sensitivities and dietary allergies typically have a similar treatment plan – an elimination diet, meaning, feeding your dog foods that have an intentionally small number of ingredients that are unlikely to trigger digestive problems.  These foods usually have just one novel protein source which is unlikely to trigger allergies, like rabbit, duck, turkey, or fish – and very few other ingredients.

If you believe that your dog is suffering from a dietary allergy or intolerance, look for a limited ingredient diet whose ingredient list isn’t just short, but ideally is completely different than what you are currently feeding. 

It can take some time for an allergen to completely work its way out of your dog’s system once you start feeding the new diet, so I usually recommend sticking with the elimination diet for at least 8 weeks before making any changes.

If the symptoms continue on that limited diet, that indicates three possibilities: first, that your dog’s allergies are being caused by something in their environment rather than something in their food; second, your dog’s allergies are more broad and triggered by more than one ingredient, some of which are in your dog’s old food, and some of which are in the new diet; or third, the symptoms you’ve seen aren’t being caused by an allergy or food sensitivity, but by another type of illness entirely.

At this point, if you haven’t already, I would recommend consulting with your veterinarian, as they can perform tests to narrow down the cause of your dog’s discomfort. 

If switching to these new limited ingredient foods appears to resolve the issue, try gradually re-introducing more familiar foods to your dog one at a time and watch for a reaction.  That way, you’ll narrow down exactly what it is that is triggering your dog’s symptoms, so you can avoid it in the future.

Treating the symptoms

While you’re working on figuring out the specific food that’s triggering your dog’s symptoms, there are also steps you can take to reduce the severity of those symptoms, too.

Because the primary symptoms of allergies are inflammation, introducing anti-inflammatory foods and supplements can help reduce swelling, itchiness, and indigestion.

Fish oil and flaxseed are common supplements used in this situation, as these are both rich sources of omega fatty acids, which can help your dog’s body control their own inflammatory response, so that when their allergies are set off by something, they don’t suffer quite as much.

Many natural whole foods and herbs, like leafy greens, berries, turmeric, and ginger, are also associated with a reduction in inflammation.  Adding a small amount of these natural remedies to your dog’s diet may help with both the internal and external symptoms of a dietary allergy.

If you suspect the issue may be an intolerance rather than an allergy, digestive supplements can be a huge help, and can even resolve the intolerance entirely in some cases. 

For example, since food intolerance is often caused by a lack of natural digestive enzymes or a bacterial imbalance in their gut biome, supplementing your dog’s food with enzymes and probiotics to boost their gut health and function can provide their body exactly what it needs to break down those troublesome ingredients. 

If you’re concerned that your dog may be chewing or scratching a particular spot too much as a result of their allergies, and they need immediate relief, some topical anti-itch solutions or special shampoos might help.  

It may also be necessary to restrict their ability to reach that spot, using vet wrap and/or a head cone.  However, covering or medicating a hot spot can actually make your dog pay even more attention to it as they investigate, so I usually only recommend that as a last resort, such as when a dog’s excessive scratching has led to an open wound that may become infected.

Wishing you and your dog the best of health,

Dr. Edward Tuk

Canine Sciences' products are all designed to support dogs suffering from dietary allergies and sensitivities.  We use novel ingredients which won't trigger most allergies, and natural superfoods like kale and turmeric which have anti-inflammatory properties, while our Radiant Canine supplement also includes four probiotic strains and three unique digestive enzymes.

See what a big difference the right diet can make for your dog's allergies and sensitivities, by learning more about the products below!

Nutrient Heaven Freeze-Dried Duck Delight Treats

Naturally Scrumptious Freeze-Dried Raw Turkey & Salmon Feast

Radiant Canine Full-Spectrum Dog Nutritional Supplement


Finding The Perfect Treat For Your Dog

Finding The Perfect Treat For Your Dog

Dog treats have been around in some form as long as our species has had a relationship with dogs.  There’s nothing like the feeling of sharing a favorite snack with a beloved pooch!  Treats play a central role in solidifying our bond with our dogs, and in training good behavior.

Commercial dog treats got their start in 19th century England, when an American businessman named James Spratt developed “Spratt’s Meat Fribrine Dog Cakes”, a product he eventually brought back to the USA.  This product was the first to fill a need for convenient, ready-to-feed treats that many dog owners didn’t realize they had, and the company was very successful for almost a hundred years until it was eventually acquired by General Mills in the 1950s.

Dog treats have come a long way since then, with a huge variety of different products available.  It’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed about finding the best treat for your own dog, and how much of those treats it’s safe to give your dog.

I’m here to dispel the confusion, with a veterinarian’s perspective on commercial dog treats!

To start with, let’s tackle nutritional content.

You might be wondering, “Why does nutrition matter?  It’s just a treat, right?  They get the nutrition they need from their regular food.”

On the contrary, treats can have a substantial impact on your dog’s health and nutrition.  The worst treats have so many carbs, calories and artificial ingredients that even in moderation they can contribute to an array of health problems: obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and more. 

On the other hand, unlike us humans who are drawn to the flavors of junk food, dogs evolved to crave the foods that their bodies need the most: real meat, and lots of it, supplemented by a small amount of foraged berries, grains, and roots.  That’s what our dogs’ ancestors ate in the wild, and that’s why it’s the food they want to eat today. 

Cheap commercial treat manufacturers use certain tricks to make their snacks seem more appealing to dogs, like spraying fats and salt over the treats after cooking, but these are just unnecessary and unhealthy gimmicks to try to make their treats taste as good as real whole food treats!

Treats aren’t just for fun - they’re also an opportunity to provide more of the nutrition that benefits your dog’s health, to help them thrive and reduce their chances of illness.  And since dogs prefer the foods that are good for them, the right treats offer all those benefits without sacrificing flavor – in fact, most dogs who eat high-quality meaty whole food treats prefer them to less healthy treats.

Single-ingredient meat treats are increasingly popular, and are a great option for many dogs.  That said, depending on the meat and preparation method used, the calorie and fat content can be a little on the high side.

Calorie content is just as important for your dog’s treat as the use of healthy ingredients, because your dog’s regular food should represent at least 90% of their daily caloric intake.  Dog diets are nutritionally balanced to provide the minimum amounts of all the various important nutrients your dog requires, so if your dog eats too many treats, it may lead to a nutritional deficiency.

Let’s drill down into some of the numbers, using a 20-pound dog as an example.  In general, an active 20-pound dog should consume up to 400 calories each day.  That leaves 40 calories for treats.

The most popular dog biscuit in America is exactly 40 calories per treat.  That means that poor dog can only eat one biscuit a day without spoiling their dinner.

Single ingredient meat treats are lower calorie than biscuits, typically between 5-8 calories per treat.  So that same 20-pound pup can eat 5-8 meat-only treats per day.  Not bad.

The latest and healthiest dog treats use a carefully balanced combination of ingredients: primarily a lean and healthy meat, complemented by a small amount of secondary natural ingredients like roots and berries which are similar to the ancestral dog diet, which their noses and tongues evolved to seek out. 

With the right formulation, these treats can provide an even bigger flavor than meat-only treats, but with a much lower calorie count, and with the added benefit of all those vitamins and minerals that are present in their natural secondary ingredients.

For example, in my work with Canine Sciences, we developed a treat product called Nutrient Heaven that I am proud to say leads this new category of treats.  It’s composed of 90% whole duck meat, which is a fantastic and lean protein that provides lots of healthy amino acids, iron, B vitamins, and more. 

In addition to the meat itself, we included the heart, liver, and other organs to both kick up the flavor and provide taurine and other essential nutrients found only in organ meat, but excluded the fatty skin to keep these treats lean and healthy.

Then we added three perfect superfood ingredients: blackberry, which is packed with just as many vitamins and anti-oxidants as other berries, but with half the sugar and calories; sweet potato, a beloved dog snack that provides a huge fiber boost in a healthy low-glycemic form; and kale, one of the most nutritionally dense leafy greens in existence whose flavor profile is similar to the grasses dogs love to chomp down on in nature.

Because we were so careful about what went into Nutrient Heaven, these treats can compete with any other treat on the market for flavor, while providing a much more complete nutritional breakdown – all at less than 2 calories per treat!

So, that same 20-pound dog I referenced earlier could eat up to 20 Nutrient Heaven treats per day, compared to 5-8 single ingredient meat treats, or one biscuit. 

Just imagine how much happier that dog would be with all those extra treats! 

And a low calorie count allows you to consistently reward your dog for good behavior, without harming their nutrition, which is vital for training sessions.  It’s always terrible to cut training short just when your dog is starting to catch on, because you can’t give them any more treats!

Now that we’ve covered the importance of nutrition in treats, let’s talk about preparation.

This part is actually very simple: whether we’re talking about food or treats, the best cooking method is always as little cooking as possible.

When an ingredient undergoes industrial cooking processes, the intense heat involved destroys many of the nutrients naturally present in that ingredient.  In fact, the extrusion process used to make many high-carb foods and treats is so destructive, that almost all dry and canned dog foods have to be supplemented with synthetic chemical nutrients just to meet the bare minimum nutritional standards required by law.  So even if those treats include lots of healthy ingredients, your dog isn’t really getting much benefit from them.

In nature, nothing is cooked, so in nature, dogs eat everything raw – which, ideally, is how our dogs should be eating, too.

Unfortunately, raw meat doesn’t have much of a shelf life, but the good news is that freeze-drying offers many of the benefits of cooking; and because heat isn’t involved in the process, that nutrition is still there in a raw form that dogs get so much more out of.

Some folks are understandably concerned about dangerous pathogens like salmonella or listeria in raw meat that is used for commercial dog food and treats.  Fortunately for our pups, that concern is overstated, for a couple of reasons.

First, dogs’ digestive system are designed to eat raw stuff that might be dangerous to us humans.  Their stomach acid is much stronger than ours – at its most acidic, it’s comparable to battery acid!  There’s not much bacteria that can survive in that kind of environment, and it takes a whole lot of it to make our dogs ill.

Additionally, it may surprise you to hear that US regulations surrounding raw pet food safety are actually much stricter than those applied to raw meat sold in supermarkets for human consumption!  Raw pet foods and treats undergo a process called HPP that uses pressure to expel pathogens, so it’s safe to serve raw to dogs, while raw meat sold in grocery stores for us humans is intended to be thoroughly cooked before eating, so contamination is quite common.

It’s still a good idea to wash your hands after handling raw foods and treats, since some small amount of pathogens may still be present and we humans don’t have those amazingly strong stomachs dogs do, but it’s extremely rare for any dog to become sick from eating raw foods prepared by reputable companies.

So, to recap, the best dog treats are:

  • Made entirely of whole food ingredients
  • Based on dog ancestral diets
  • At least 80% meat
  • Served raw, freeze-dried, or only very lightly cooked
  • Low in calories and fat

Wishing you and your dog the best of health,

Dr. Edward Tuk

Canine Sciences' premium Nutrient Heaven freeze-dried treats are uniquely designed by veterinarians using the latest scientific research and the highest quality ingredients from US farms to provide all the mouth-watering meat flavor dogs love, at only a fraction of the calories of other treats. 

Try Nutrient Heaven today, or explore any of our life-changing nutritional products, by clicking on one of the products below!

Nutrient Heaven Freeze-Dried Duck Delight Treats

Naturally Scrumptious Freeze-Dried Raw Turkey & Salmon Feast

Radiant Canine Full-Spectrum Dog Nutritional Supplement