Top 5 Common Dog Treats To Avoid That Can Cause Bad Digestion

Table of contents

  • Intro
  • Top 5 dog treats that are bad for digestion
  • What alternative pet treats are out there?

Article at a glance

  • Not all dog treats on the shelves are safe for your dog
  • Some popular "natural" treats can actually cause severe digestive issues that could result in a trip to the vet, or worse
  • The US still allows some dangerous chemical additives in dog treats
  • CBD dog treats offer a natural way to reward your dog that promotes healthy digestion

You’re a good pet parent, and you want to do what is best for your dog. You know CBD dog treats are all the rage now, but you’re still giving your canine best friend plain treats from the grocery store. He loves them – they must be good! And the best part is, they are fairly inexpensive!

As most dog owners have learned over time, just because your pet loves something doesn’t mean what you’re giving him is good for him. Dogs have proven this time and time again by getting into things they shouldn’t, like grapes, onions, chocolate, and even chemicals like antifreeze.

So this means your dog’s judgment may not be the best when he’s deciding what to eat and what not to eat, and you’ll have to do the thinking for him.

Your dog treat choice is no exception! While wholesome, beneficial products like CBD dog treats have entered the market, there are still plenty of “tried and true” treats that lure owners despite being poor options. 

This is not your fault! We assume the items we see on store shelves are safe. After all, why would they be for sale if they could cause any harm?

The truth about why unsafe products remain on the market is simple: they generate money. More people buy them and don’t have a problem with them (or don’t know there is a problem with them) than people who have an issue and try to take a company to court. 

It can be very difficult to prove a problem your dog has suffered is directly from a brand of treat and not something the dog has already had an issue with. For example, certain chemicals used in some commercial dog treats have been linked to cancer. If you didn’t know this and your dog got cancer, it’s unlikely you would know to trace it back to the treats. Even if you did, could you prove the treats were the cause?

Top 5 dog treats that are bad for digestion


Rawhide treats are the number one offenders when it comes to poor digestion and dogs. There are two primary reasons for this: how fast your dog eats and the ingredients sometimes put into rawhides. If your dog is a fast eater and will try to swallow treats before they are the appropriate size, reconsider offering rawhide. Not only can it lodge in your dog’s throat, it can cause an intestinal blockage. Every year, plenty of dogs must undergo surgery to have pieces of rawhide removed from their digestive tracks. What’s more, some of the ingredients of lower-quality rawhides would shock you. Glue, formaldehyde, metal, and bleach have all been found on rawhide dog treat labels. Definitely a much higher risk product when compared to something like CBD dog treats. Remember, however, that there are good companies out there making reputable products. If your dog likes rawhide and will chew it as it should, check the label and the company reputation before you make your purchases.

Real animal bones

Whether you buy these real animal bones in the store, cook them yourself, or just like to toss your dog the remnants of your hunting expeditions, bone treats have become very popular. Like CBD treats for dogs, bone treats hit the market as natural products which are appealing to many pet owners. Unfortunately, real animal bones aren’t the best idea for your dog, especially if you aren’t sure about which bones you can and can’t give in the first place. Not all animal bones are created equal, and some may fracture and splinter as your dog eats them, sending dangerous sharp pieces into the digestive tract. These pieces can stab into the intestines and often need surgical removal. 

Animal horns and antlers

There’s a reason why mice chew on animal horns and antlers after they’ve been shed, and that’s to help wear down their teeth. If horns and antlers are that hard, it stands to reason they may not be the best thing for your dog’s teeth either. Unlike the chewy goodness of CBD dog treats, antlers and horns are as hard as hard can be, and many dogs chip their teeth on these pieces. Though less likely to splinter compared to bones, these types of treats can also pose a sharp digestive threat if they do make it into the intestinal track. The body doesn’t digest these treats as quickly as hemp dog treats, and again, this may all end up with your canine companion on the surgical table.

Cancer-causing ingredients

Sad to say, the United States is a bit behind when it comes to regulating the chemical additives in pet treats. While CBD dog treats and hemp dog treats offer natural ingredients, many companies don’t take that route. There are plenty of companies out there still using Red#40 (known in the UK as E129 – Allura Red) and Butylated hydroxyanisole, which is commonly cited as BHA or E320. These ingredients have been linked to cancer in dogs. How is cancer linked to digestion? Nausea and loss of appetite are sometimes the first symptoms pet owners will see when a pet develops one of these conditions.


One of the most popular sweeteners in human food has made its way into the veterinary world, but not without consequence. Xylitol is a sweetener you’ve probably seen on your own personal food labels, but if you look closely it may be on the labels of some of your dog treats. While research indicates there is a safety margin for xylitol use in pet treats, high concentrations of this ingredient are toxic to dogs. Dogs that ingest too many xylitol-sweetened treats may be at the risk for liver failure. At the very least, too much xylitol can cause indigestion.

What alternative pet treats are out there?

The most important take-away from this list of dog treats to avoid is label watching. There are plenty of treats on the market that are safe for your dog, but it is up to you to be diligent about what is in those treats.

You also know your dog better than anyone, and you know if he or she can handle the excitement of a rawhide or if they will try to gobble down the pieces before they are small enough to digest properly. 

Ultimately, dog treats don’t have to be expensive to be high quality. CBD dog treats and hemp dog treats are making their way into the market and offer a far better alternative for pets. 

CBD dog treats provide a way to reward your dog and do something good for their anxiety levels or joint inflammation. If nothing else, the best CBD dog treats will simply provide a tasty treat for your pet with some quality ingredients. 

Remember, products from Kitsie hit all the marks when you are looking for CBD dog treats and alternatives for grocery store go-tos. Kitsie stands behind all of their products and wants pet owners to have peace of mind when providing dogs treats.

Perhaps the best thing about CBD dog treats is they may help your dog with digestion, not hinder it. While studies involving CBD and digestive inflammation are primarily focused on human medicine, the research is promising. CDB may hold the key to helping people and animals suffering from inflammatory digestive conditions. What’s more, it may also help pets suffering from nausea.

If you’re wondering how CBD dog treats fit into the space where you want your dog to have a long-term distraction, consider incorporating them in an interactive toy. Bones may seem to offer hours of enjoyment, but so will special “think” toys that encourage your dog’s mind to be active while trying to obtain treats.

Written by Mead Johnston

Mead is an experienced dog trainer, writer, and lover of animals. She has always been surrounded by animals and had a passion for learning more about them every day. This passion grew tremendously when Mead brought home a Great Pyrenees x Golden Retriever named Mac in 2018. Mead has continued to learn more about dogs whenever possible and wherever possible, while also helping so many wonderful clients. Her goal is help her clients and their dogs become confident in their daily lives. As a dog trainer, she often helps clients who are starting off with a puppy or they might have an older dog that is presenting challenging behaviours. Mead believes in the all-natural uses of Pet CBD to help our furry loved ones live longer, happier and healthier lives.

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