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I understand that there are several hundreds of thousands of happy dogs that give the "greenie" seal of approval however as a society, we tend to be influenced by certain aspects of marketing. We have a tendancy to believe that a higher price is indicative of a better quality product. We also have a certain amount of faith; sometimes blindly and we do not question the company's claims to the virtues of the product. Many Vets sell greenies but they wont take them off the shelf for only a few deaths caused by greenies stuck in the oesophagus or intestine. I personally will not take the risk. Yes, it contains a protein but it's value on the food scale is questionable - IMO.

At least, the people who manufacturer it appear to be honest about how their product is produced. Here is what they disclose on their web site - see comments in green:

Greenies® Ingredients:

Processed wheat gluten (wheat protein), glycerin, natural flavor, powdered cellulose fiber, monosodium phosphate, monoglycerides of edible fatty acid, magnesium stearate and chlorophyll. - Not a single ingredient here that has has any nutritional value whatsoever! I am not convinced by a Vet's response to me recently about it being a protein. Wheat protein is this instance provides NO nutritional benefit!

Processed wheat gluten (protein): The wheat gluten used is concentrated by using hot water to extract the starch out of the wheat. What is left over is wheat protein. No chemicals are used.
-You cannot extract starch with hot water. What you get out of this is some kind of coagulated cake, consisting primarily of indigestible proteins and carbohydrates. This could actually be a great recipe for glue!

Glycerin: This is a 3-carbon molecule that occurs naturally in fats and oils. Glycerin is split from the three fatty acids of fats and oil. It is used as an ingredient and serves to allow the processed wheat protein to be molded into Greenies® physical form.
-Without glycerin, Greenies® would crumble and not provide the dental benefit that comes from chewing. The glycerin used in Greenies® is produced from vegetable (non-animal origin) ingredients. Glycerin is a natural substance that exists in plant and animal tissues. Sure, it does no harm, chemically, on its own - but it is a completely unnatural ingredient that can cause a lot of micro-biological processes that do not do much good - and it could most certainly lead to some chemical processes in the dog's gastrointestinal system that would be highly undesirable....

Powdered Cellulose Fiber: This is made from powdered plant material. It is cleaned, than ground into a powder. It helps the dog maintain firm stool. Cellulose is present in nearly all plant origin food. We use a purified cellulose so it is non-antigenic, meaning it will not cause allergic reactions.
-"Firm stool" means that this ingredient is completely indigestible. As all cellulose fiber is. It is no better than saw dust - which, by the way, is a common ingredient in kibble; for this very reason....

Natural Flavor: The ingredient used for the natural flavor is proprietary. However, we can tell you that it contains no beef protein and a very small amount of natural flavor is used.
- This is scary - so you are supposed to feed you dog something that contains a secret ingredient? What if it were heroin? Or a cancer-causing drug? Remember: for pet foods, there are no laws to protect your dog! ANYTHING is legal here! And it is common practice by the pet food manufacturers to add "palatability enhancers", which are nothing but addicting drugs.

Monosodium Phosphate: This is a source of phosphorous, which is a required nutritional mineral. You should not feed Phosphates without properly balancing with Calcium.
-I bet that they add this as a preservative and pH adjuster, not for the nutritional value - which is more than dubious anyway...

Monoglycerides of edible fatty acid: Greenies® contain fatty acids derived from vegetable oil sources. Such fatty acids are often derived from fats and oils that represent the other major part of fats when glycerin is split off.
"Edible fatty acids" could very well include saturated trans-fatty acids - which are outright dangerous to eat because of the long-term damage to the cardio-vascular system... When such fatty acids are "derived" from another source, heat is generally applied, and whenever that is the case, you get saturated trans-fatty acids. Chemically, this is completely unavoidable when heating natural fats.

Magnesium stearate: This serves as a lubricant in molding Greenies®. Magnesium stearate is used in production of nutritional supplements and pharmaceutical products as well as a lubricant in commercial baking of cookies and breads.
Yes, it is commonly used - and probably neither particularly harmful nor nutritionally valuable. But that is under the assumption that you eat a few milligrams in a pill - not several grams per treat, and several treats per day!

Chlorophyll: Naturally makes Greenies® green.
Chlorophyll does have an effect on odor. It is indeed a natural product that you can feed for that purpose. I have often used it to reduce the natural smell of a bitch in heat, so the neighbors' male dogs would quit howling all night - and it works 80% of the time. (It also works on people who have problems with "too much body odor" - it tastes horrible, though... and we're back at what is that secret ingredient that makes it taste good, despite the Chlorophyll?)

Now, you will notice that there are no amounts given in this "recipe". You cannot expect any manufacturer to reveal that. But we do not need it. From this list alone you can conclude that these treats are made of stuff that is largely indigestible; it consist of very little but unnatural ingredients in an unnatural form that under no circumstances should be added to a list of responsible and adequate dog food, not even in small amounts.

I have heard of horror stories telling of dogs that have got intestinal blockages from eating this stuff. I cannot say that they are true and confirmed, but I will say that it is certainly not something you can safely exclude from happening if you feed more than one of these green monster treats per day to a medium-sized dog.

Is the average dog owner a plain idiot or what? What the heck makes people buy crap like this for their dogs? Don't people care? Are they just swallowing anything that is presented on TV commercials as "truth"? I am totally stunned - I do not understand; there is not one single ingredient in those treats that comes even close to being classified as "nutritionally valuable". It is nothing more than chewing gum for people, just worse, because the dogs ingest it - and in far larger quantities....

And the very worst part: Many vets and veterinary associations recommend this product!


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 7, 2005 2:01 AM.

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