The Low-Down on Liver Treats

Ask any dog owner what their pet goes CRAZY for, and you’ll find one kind of treat is mentioned more often than most- LIVER TREATS!!  We know that these dehydrated morsels are delicious and easy to dispense, but are they actually good for our furry best friends?  Here at Spaw, we did a little digging ourselves, and we’re excited to share our findings with you!

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Fat

Liver treats are actually fairly low in fat, provided you purchase high-quality brands.  Fat content sits at around 10% (approximately 10g for every 100g), which is still much lower than your average kibble.  Also, since they are an animal-based, uncooked fat source, they are more digestible than a treat with fats added for flavouring.

Vitamins

Liver is an excellent source of many vitamines, including:

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin) – responsible for heart and brain health, and eye health
  • Vitamin B6 – great for serotonin production,  blood health, boosting the immune system, hormone regulation, as well as heart and brain health
  • Vitamin B12 – regulates metabolism, improves energy levels
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) – attributed to healthy heart function, may also aid in preventing cataracts and improving brain function
  • Vitamin A* – promotes healthy bone growth, healthy teeth, encourages healthy skin and coat, and mucus membranes (nose, eyes, etc.)

*It is important to note, we can give our pets too much vitamin A.  Unfortunately, this can lead to a condition that causes bone deformities, upset stomach, weight loss, and bone spurs.  Although liver treats aren’t very high in vitamin A,  still remember to stick to the suggested feeding guidelines, and break each treat up into smaller pieces for training purposes!

Minerals

Liver is also a source of many beneficial minerals:

  • Copper– anti-inflammatory, promotes healthy brain function, regulates growth, and encourages a healthy immune system
  • Phosphorus – helps to keep bones strong, improves digestion, and aids in the absorption of nutrients
  • Zinc – boosts immune system, source of antioxidants, and keeps the heart healthy
  • Iron – aids in keeping muscles strong and healthy, provides a carrier for oxygen in the blood, and helps brain to function normally

..But what about dehydrating?  Won’t these vitamins and minerals break down?

The beauty of dehydrating foods is that it is not a cooking process- no high-heat appliances are used.  As long as the process is carefully controlled, and the foods are consistently dehydrated at a very low temperature for a long period of time, the nutritional value doesn’t really change- the only vitamins that could be affected are vitamin A and vitamin E.  Where you’ll see the difference is pound-for-pound; dehydrating removes all moisture and makes the nutrients compact, so a pound of dehydrated liver would be a higher in all levels (nutrient levels, as well as calories) than a pound of fresh liver- another main reason why we need to make sure we’re not overfeeding liver treats!  Since all the moisture has been removed, there is also virtually no worry of the treats developing a mold or bacteria problem, provided they are stored in a sealed container, away from sunlight and moisture.

Last Word on Liver

Liver is an excellent all-around treat- great for puppies, training, and a special snack.  Being a single-ingredient treat, liver is well-tolerated by almost every dog, and it is available in many different protein options; most commonly beef, but also lamb, chicken, turkey, venison, bison…the list goes on!  As with any treat, be sure to feed in moderation to prevent stomach upset, and weight gain.  And, as always, we’ve got you covered- pop into Spaw to pick up a bag (or two!) of delicious, nutritious liver treats for your best friend!

 

 

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