Zukes Dog Treats Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Ingredients!
About the Company
Zuke’s started making natural dog treats in 1995. The company website says their philosophy is, “We believe that what’s good for humans, is good for pets.” Their parent company, however, is nowhere to be seen. It seems like they're a small, privately owned company. If you're hiding who you are now by emphasizing old stories, it's a good sign there's something wrong.
Zuke’s Is Part Of Nestlé Purina PetCare
In 2014, Nestle bought Zuke’s as part of their expansion into the natural pet products market. Nestle, under its subsidiary Purina PetCare, is the second largest pet product manufacturer in the world and the largest in the United States. Some of their significant brands include:
- Chef Michael's
- Fancy Feast
- Just Right
- Mighty Dog
- T Bonz
- Tidy Cats
- Waggin’ Train
- Whisker Lickin’s
Nestlé Purina PetCare itself has only been around since 2001, when Nestle began gathering pet food companies, starting with Ralston Purina, which it bought for $10.3 billion. Despite opposition from consumer advocates with anti-trust concerns, that was quickly followed by a merger with the Friskies PetCare Company.
By 2005, pet products became Nestlé's second most profitable division, after pharmaceuticals. They not only have operations in North America, but also in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and Oceania. Although the Zuke's website says they make all their products in the United States or in New Zealand. Purina PetCare’s headquarters are in St Louis, Missouri.
Reviews on retail sites for this company's treats are positive, especially the Zuke's Mini Naturals Dog Treats reviews. They are the most reviewed Zuke’s treat on Chewy.com, with 5 stars and over 300 reviews. My own Zukes dog treats review is based on some questionable ingredients and on my continuing distrust of large pet food conglomerates like Nestle Purina.
Where can I buy Zukes dog treats? That’s an easy question to answer, using the company website’s Find-A-Store Tool but they are also available on Chewy.com.
Zuke’s formulas don’t use corn, wheat or soy. There are no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors either. They’re also made without by-products. The company website says none of their ingredients come from China either.
The Zuke’s website also says their, “quality control and safety standards exceed the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards for pet food.” They test all their finished products and throughout manufacture for pathogenic bacteria like salmonella and E. Coli. The grains are checked for aflatoxins too. All their facilities are Safe Quality Foods Certified as well.
Zuke’s makes a lot of options for different dietary needs. There are grain-free and gluten-free treats, plus some that are GMO-Free. Some formulas feature high-protein or alternative proteins. There’s some products specifically for sensitive digestion or limited ingredient diets too. They make other products for weight control, puppies, seniors and different sized dogs. There’s even a limited number of vegan products.
Not all products have meat as the first ingredient, and some are quite high in carbohydrates.
These treats are all-natural but still use some questionable ingredients.
Zuke’s Product Line
Zuke’s makes quite a few dog treat lines:
- Naturals® (Mini, Puppy, Tiny) - 12 Recipes
- Enhance Functional Chews & Healthy Treats (Calming, Digestion, Endurance, Fresh Breath, Mobility, Shiny Coat) - 12 Recipes
- PureNZ™ (Bites, Cords, Cuts, Steaks) - 12 Recipes
- Hip Action™ - 3 Recipes
- Jerky Natural Bites™ - 3 Recipes
- Lil’ Links™ - 4 Recipes
- PowerBones® - 3 Recipes
- Z-Filets® - 3 Recipes
Flavors and protein sources include:
- Fruits & Berries
- Peanut Butter
- Sweet Potato
Zuke’s Dog Treats Reviews of Ingredients
Most Popular Dog Treat: Zuke's Mini Naturals Roasted Chicken Recipe
First of all, these moist mini treats start with chicken as the first and main ingredient. Ground rice, ground barley and malted barley are the main carbohydrates. Next on the list is vegetable glycerine, a sweetener, not to be confused with other types of glycerine that are sometimes left over by-products from biofuel, high in wood alcohol.
Tapioca is next, which isn’t one of my favorite starches. It’s higher on the glycemic index, which is already higher because the recipe uses white rice. After that are natural flavor, cherries, sunflower oil and salt. Lecithin is an emulsifier and natural preservative, but it’s often from soy, so it’s a bit suspect.
The next ingredient, phosphoric acid, links to reduced bone density. Then there are rosemary and turmeric, healthy spices. Sorbic acid, ascorbic acid and mixed tocopherols are natural preservatives, but sorbic acid is irritating to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Ascorbic acid can be irritating to the stomach too. Finally, there is vitamin E supplement and zinc propionate.
- Crude Protein (min) 10%
- Crude Fat (min) 7%
- Crude Fiber (max) 2%
- Moisture (max) 30%
- 3,640 kcal/kg, 3.19 kcal/treat
Zukes Dog Treats Recall History
Are Zukes treats safe? The company website proudly states that there’s never been a Zukes dog treats recall, since they started making dog and cat treats in 1995. Unfortunately, their parent company’s reputation isn’t as good.
- 2013, recalled some Purina ONE Beyond dog food for salmonella.
- 2012, sued for death of pet after eating Waggin' Train treats. The Food and Drug Administration received more than 900 reported illnesses or deaths from the use of Chinese chicken products.
- 2013, Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek dog treats found to have trace amounts of antibiotic residue by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. They are temporarily taken off the market, leading to a $6.5 million settlement in 2014.
- 2015, class-action lawsuit against Purina for toxic ingredients in Beneful brand of dog food, eventually dropped because they all were FDA-approved.
- 2007, recalled some products, including Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy, after widespread contamination of ingredients from China. Chinese wheat gluten was contaminated with melamine.
- 2005, recalled all of its dry pet food made in La Encrucijada, Venezuela for verified contaminants causing illness.
What can keep Zuke's dog treats safe when Nestlé Purina PetCare had so many issues in the past? Just because an ingredient is approved by the FDA, that isn’t any guarantee it isn't harmful. I wish it was! The all natural label doesn't automatically mean it's healthy because even natural ingredients can be linked to problems. That’s why it’s important as a dog lover to look up anything you don’t recognize and read Zukes dog treats reviews, like this one.