Having existed on our shelves since 1908, Milk-Bones continue to steal the hearts of dogs across the nation. I mean, what pet owner is unfamiliar with this iconic brand?
However, a few crucial questions have been raised over the years:
Does being the most common treat on the market mean that it’s healthy for our dogs? Is it okay for puppies to be eating Milk-Bones, too?
I have heard these concerns echoed across the households of enough dog parents to understand that these facts need to be presented in one place!
So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about your pup and Milk-Bones.
What Is in Milk-Bones? Do They Have Dairy?
In short, the answer is yes! These treats are called Milk-Bones for a reason.
Just like with us humans, milk is an excellent source of calcium for our precious companions, so it makes plenty of sense for the Milk-Bone company to include actual milk in their treats.
The Primary Ingredients
Milk-Bones contain the three big M’s: milk, minerals and meat products. They also contain wheat flour and wheat bran as the two primary ingredients.
In addition to their original treats, the Milk-Bone brand has created a snack specifically tailored to puppies.
The recipe doesn’t differ too much from that of the original, but these puppy treats do include nine extra sources of vitamins and minerals for your growing babies!
Potential Problem Ingredients
A big concern over the past few years is the presence of BHA in Milk-Bones. BHA, standing for Butylated Hydroxyanisole, is a food preservative commonly used for dog treats and food.
While BHA has shown to be generally safe in low doses, many pet owners are skeptical.
A few cases have shown BHA leading to the development of cancerous tumors and liver or kidney damage in some dogs. Better safe than sorry, I suppose!
Many dog parents are also not fond of the inclusion of artificial food dyes in Milk-Bones since some dyes have been proven to negatively affect the behavior of dogs.
At the end of the day, it’s the owner’s choice as to what their dogs can eat, but it’s still important to monitor their reactions to the food. Always keep a close eye on your pups, folks!
Are Milk-Bones Bad for Puppies?
Milk-Bones are not inherently bad for puppies! As with all good things, you just need to make sure they’re fed in moderation.
As previously mentioned, it’s incredibly necessary to pay close attention to how your puppy is reacting to the foods he eats. Has he been experiencing abnormal vomiting, diarrhea or itchiness? Does it correlate at all with something that he’s eaten?
Since Milk-Bones contain both dairy and grain, they’re a fairly high-risk treat for dogs with food allergies.
Puppies are especially known to have notoriously finicky stomachs, so consider this my way of begging you to please keep track of their behavior around food!
How Many Milk-Bones Can I Give My Puppy?
It’s essential that you carefully watch how much food your puppy eats. Generally, treats shouldn’t take up more than 10% of your dog’s daily diet.
With Milk-Bones specifically, the company recommends giving your puppy 1-5 treats a day or one treat per every 2 pounds of weight.
In my opinion, the recommended amount they provide for the puppy Milk-Bones seems a bit too much.
However, the best way to judge what’s right for your dog’s diet is to regularly check on his weight gain! Puppies are complicated since they’re constantly growing, but at the end of the day, their weight will tell you whether or not they’re on the right track.
Is There a Healthy Alternative to Milk-Bones?
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Absolutely! For puppies, it’s ideal to shoot for treats and food that are natural, grain-free (in some cases) and made with limited ingredients.
Personally, when my dog was still a little pup, he had an extremely sensitive stomach, and it was impossible to figure out what was setting off his problems. Until I switched him to grain-free food.
So, take it from me.
If you want to preemptively avoid unnecessary trips to the vet while simultaneously providing your dog with a healthier lifestyle, start him off on these all-natural diets right from the get-go. It may seem like a pain now, but trust me, it will be worth it!
Here are some of our favorite alternatives to Milk-Bones:
Wellness Grain-Free Soft Puppy Bites
One treat dog parents can’t seem to get enough of are the Wellness Grain-Free Soft Puppy Bites.
While they obviously won’t provide your puppy with that signature crunch we have come to know and love from Milk-Bones, they won’t mind it one bit.
In fact, I can guarantee your dog will gobble these things down in seconds, especially when you’re in the midst of training!
Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Natural Treats
Another popular snack right now is the Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Natural Treats. These are much more similar to Milk-Bones, even retaining that fun, signature bone shape.
If you can opt for a healthier, near-identical product, why wouldn’t you?
Certain Fruits and Veggies
Lastly, you can always look up safe, healthy treats that your dog can eat from right out of your kitchen!
This one is my personal favorite because it’s such a special occasion to be able to share food with your dog (mine is a big lover of apples, watermelon, carrots and baked sweet potato).
While you want to be careful about training your dog to be accustomed to eating human foods, it’s more than okay to give him some fruits and vegetables every now and again!
Li-ran is the Founder and Executive Editor at PuppyTip. He is a holistic pet parent and believes that dogs can teach us more than we could ever teach them. He also loves cooking, especially for his dog, Richie!