Kmart shoppers warned over 'dangerous' Christmas dog treats

Dog lovers have been urged to avoid some of Kmart's festive pet foods.

Aussie pet owners have been warned about the dangers of ingredients found in Christmas-themed dog treats sold at Kmart, which experts say range from unhealthy to potentially deadly. Pet Drs Therapeutic Pet Care raised the issue while going through the budget retailer's selection of festive dog gifts.

Pet Drs' Grace Thadani gave Kmart's dog toys the thumb's up but said food items such as a 25-piece Dog Treat Stocking contain "some of the worst ingredients" for furry friends, including wheat, dextrose, sugar, soy and rawhide, the latter of which can cause choking.

Kmart Christmas-themed dog treats
Kmart's Christmas dog treats contain some controversial ingredients. Source: TikTok/@petdrs

"Please do not give it to your dog," Thadani urged while holding up an ANKO Rawhide Dino Bone in a recent TikTok video. She also said ANKO Dog Christmas Cookies "might look cute" but "there's not one good ingredient in that".

Kirra Graham, director of Pet Drs, told Yahoo News Australia that while she's a "Kmart lover", she considers the store's dog treats too unhealthy. "I know some people will argue that it's just 'one treat' but there are so many small brands out on the market that provide high-quality options that are safer for our pets," she said. "Obesity is one of the most common diseases among pets and unfortunately treats like this do not help the cause."

"Dogs are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and tolerate small amounts of fruit and vegetables. I can guarantee that a dog would prefer eating a delicious dehydrated beef treat over a treat made of wheat," she told Yahoo.

Rawhide 'one of the worst things'

"In regards to rawhide — this goes out to anyone selling rawhide, — these treats are probably one of the worst things ever created for dogs," Graham explained. "Rawhide is particularly dangerous as it is a by-product from the leather industry. The skin of the animal is removed, washed and soaked in chemicals, then gets separated. The first layer goes to the leather industry and the second layer makes up rawhide. From there, it is again soaked in chemicals, dyes and preservatives, with formaldehyde being a common one used."

Graham said rawhide is not beneficial for dental or gut health and should be avoided at all costs. "You'll notice that the end product of rawhide is quite hard. Once this gets chewed by the dog, it becomes chewy, making it prone to blockages and choking."

Grace Thadani and Kirra Graham with dog in Santa hat
Grace Thadani and Kirra Graham of Pet Drs have spoken out about the dangers of rawhide. Source: Supplied

Vet backs up rawhide claims

Dr Emma Wilkie, emergency veterinarian for SASH (Small Animal Specialist Hospital) in Sydney, said while most of the ingredients listed in Kmart's dog treats are safe, she agrees they're not nutritionally complete or "healthy" and should be likened to junk food in humans.

"The exception to this is rawhide, which poses a risk of choking or oesophageal obstruction, because of its slipperiness and difficulty for some dogs to break it up into small pieces. It's advised that pets should be monitored when being given rawhide treats, just in case they have any difficulty," Wilkie explained to Yahoo.

Kmart addresses health concerns

Responding to the claims made in the Pet Drs video, a Kmart spokesperson told Yahoo, "Our pet treats are designed to be treats. As with all pet products, we can encourage owners to make informed choices based on what is suitable for their pet." Meanwhile, usage instructions on the rawhide items state that "long lasting treats require responsible supervision to ensure adequate chewing".

More Christmas dangers to dogs

The bigger concern at Christmas, according to Wilkie, is pets ingesting ingredients that are toxic for dogs such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, garlic and onions. "If your pet has eaten any of these products, get in contact with a veterinarian for advice on the next steps forward," she advised.

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