I’ve written posts on dog food and dog toys not made in China. You can read those articles for my thoughts on everything from the 2007 melamine scandal that tragically resulted in the death of thousands of dogs and cats, and how the pet food industry initially put on the appearance of making changes, only to lie low for a few years (hoping that pet owners would forget—which they did) and ultimately returning to China like the proverbial dog returning to its vomit.
If you’ve got the stomach for it, go to X and search for “animal abuse China” and you’ll see horrors of how the government of China turns a blind eye to animal abuse (except, of course, in cases where they can pretend to care about it for propaganda purposes). Why would anyone in their right mind buy a product where even ONE iota of it went to fund this government?
Go Beyond “Made in the USA”
Because of the 2007 incident, pet owners have been more sensitive than most other industries in reading labels and looking for “Made in the USA”.
Here’s the problem with “Made in the USA”.
As we saw in my write-up on vitamins (for humans), China has a stranglehold on raw ingredients like vitamins and minerals for both human and animal food; if you’ve eaten processed food that’s “fortified” with vitamins, minerals, or preservatives, there’s a good chance that those came from China.
Bottom line, you can find a TON of products that say they’re “Made in the USA”, but that could easily mean that they get most of their ingredients from China and simply manufacture it in the USA.
That’s why for this list I did something extra. I looked specifically for brands that say that they are “Made AND Sourced” outside of China (since I’m based in the USA, most of the products I highlight will be made and sourced in the USA, but feel free to add your own findings in the comments).
Beware of brands that go out of their way to AVOID telling you their sources. Growing up, our dog Happy LOVED Milk-Bone. But I was sad to see that Milk-Bone, since being acquired by the J.M. Smucker Co., has moved some of their product lines to China. While they claim to continue to support American manufacturing, this is one category where there is simply no reason to continue to support brands that are this tone-deaf, especially when there are so many better alternatives from smaller brands that still care about you and your dog more than their quarterly earnings.
We need to reward these brands for caring about the integrity of their product AND for not treating us like fools.
Best Dog Treats Not Made OR Sourced from China
Of all the brands that say “made in” and “sourced from” the USA, Pet Factory’s Beefhide stands above the rest, with over 10,000 positive ratings. According to its Web site, it’s America’s leading manufacturer and distributor of beefhide products.
If you walk into a drug store or a pet store and see a bunch of old rawhide lying in a vat, avoid it. Sure, your dog will probably eat it up, but there’s no way of telling how long its been there, where it came from, or what it’s been marinated in.
Pet Factory is one of the few manufacturers in the United States that uses cattle hide raised in the USA and make all their products in the USA. It was founded in 1989 and today it produces all of its products in its factory in Illinois, which is GFSI-certified for food safety (I’d like to find one China contractor that can say the same).Their products contain no preservatives, are easily digestible, and their unique design help them last longer than typical cheap rawhide chews.
As with all rawhide you want to monitor your dog carefully. You need to choose a size large enough for your dog (giving a small sized chew to a big dog can be a choking hazard) and you want to mointor your dog (generally dogs will naturally soften the hide through their chewing action, but if you find that small, sharp pieces break off while your dog chews them, rawhide may not be for them).
The Honest Kitchen sources its ingredients from around the world, but they’ve made a commitment that since 2007 to eliminate all ingredients from China. It is a rare demonstration of an American company that made a promise and stuck to it.
Not only that, they’re transparent about their supply chain: 82% of ingredients come from North America, 8% from Europe, 5% from South America, and 5% from Asia (outside of China).
You may recall from my dog food article that The Honest Kitchen was targeted by communist Chinese trolls who accused them of “racism” for stating on their product packaging that none of their ingredients come from China. The bullying on them was so severe that they had to remove the phrase from their packaging (the next step would have been for the communist social warriors to pressure retailers into removing their product), but to their credit they continue to completely avoid China.
They’re also very affordable, proving that the claim of other dog treat vendors that not using China “would drive prices too high” is a complete lie.
While rawhide is an all-natural treat that dogs love, Earth Animal brings up a good point in their FAQs that even hide from the highest quality American cows must be treated with strong chemicals in order to be shaped and formed into chews. While the chemicals are washed out before it gets to the store shelf, it’s a risk that some pet owners may not want to take.
No-Hide Chews are Earth Animal’s brilliant way of simulating the feel, lasting power, and enjoyment of rawhide using 100% human grade food ingredients.
I especially love the transparency on their site with regards to sourcing. The vast majority of animal proteins and plants are sourced right in North America. Only a handful of specialized products are sourced from elsewhere, and nothing from China.
As with rawhide, these treats are highly digestible. As with all chew toys and treats, make sure to buy the right size for your dog and to monitor your dog to make sure he or she is chewing all the pieces and not swallowing them whole.
Lucky Premium Treats sells a number of dog treats, but their most popular are their Chicken Wrapped Beefhide Treats. It’s an ingenious product which uses a combination of beef hide and restaurant quality chicken breast, all from the USA. That’s it. No chemicals, preservatives, or fillers.
As with all the products on this list, they state clearly that all their products are sourced in the USA. The products are so natural their Web site says that their (human) employees have tried them themselves!
While not quite as transparent about their sourcing as some of the other sites above, Carolina Prime does state clearly on their site that their products are both sourced and made in the USA.
Their Salmon and Sweet Tater Treats is one of their best-selling products, and it’s made with fish and potatoes—no chicken or beef for dogs that have protein sensitivity.
Despite their appearance, they’re soft and crumbly, so they can be broken up and used as individual treats with no choking hazard.
This brand escaped my attention when I wrote up my article on best dog food. I just went and corrected that.
This is a brand based out of New York that makes holistic dog food and treats. I love how on their Web site they don’t dance around the question—they state unequivocally that no ingredients used are sourced from China. For that alone, they’re worth your consideration.
While they’re more known for their dog food, their treats are
Every now and again I come across a dog treat that I kind of want to try myself. These Meat Stick treats by ETTA SAYS! fall into that category. They kind of remind me of Slim Jims for dogs—they’re made in a USDA human grade facility and use 100% USDA approved meats sourced from the USA. You can easily break them to use in training dogs.
Here’s another brand that features 100% natural, 100% human grade ingredients. In fact, the only ingredient is chicken, cane sugar, vinegar, and rosemary extract. Their chickens are raised cage-free on family farms in the USA.
9. Kona’s Chips
Kona’s Chips is another great option for a chicken jerky product that’s made in US facilities using USA chicken.
I added Kona’s chips mainly because of an article they posted on their Web site: Busting the Myth that the Pet Food Scare from China is Over. It’s a chilling account of how big American brands care more about maximizing profit with an “acceptable” risk of legal action for harming people and pets, rather than avoiding harm in the first place.
Last but not least, there’s Riley’s, which puts right in their Amazon listing that their ingredients are “USA Sourced”. Their chicken strips are their best-selling product, but they also offer other products like sweet potato strips, turkey tendons, and my personal favorite, waffle-shaped chicken.
This is one of those categories where there’s happily an embarrassment of riches. Why? Because there were enough consumers who
There were lots of brands I found that said “Made in the USA” that didn’t make the cut, simply because they didn’t bother to clearly document on their Web site where they sourced their products from.
Here are some that might have made the cut on any other list, but there were so many strong contenders. While I’m not 100% sure, there’s a decent chance none of these went through China. I would suggest considering one of the brands above to be 100% sure, but you probably can’t go wrong with these.
- Grace’s Organic Dog Treats are clearly marked as sourced AND made in the USA. They didn’t quite make the cut because I couldn’t find as many online reviews as the other options above. One of the problems is that they don’t appear on Amazon even if you search Amazon for their brand name! This is the sad reality of how Amazon works—they deliberately manipulate search results to point to products that have the highest margins for them. If you’re a happy customer of Grace’s Organic, you can help them out by leaving a positive review.
- Good and Fun – Made in Cambodia. A whopping 51,000 positive reviews (and counting). I left them off only because there were so many good made in USA options.
- Alfreschi Turkey Tendon – Made in Vietnam. Another highly popular product that I may have put in the top of they were a little more transparent about their country of origin (they’re made in Vietnam with turkey sourced from the USA).
- Bocce’s Bakery – Made in USA. I wanted SO much to put this in my “best of” list having bought these from Shake Shack, but their Web site or their Amazon listing doesn’t say anything about where their ingredients are sourced.
- Dogswell – This is another very popular and highly reviewed brand, but my issue with them is that they say “Made in the USA” without divulging any of their sources. They’re probably okay, but I would consider one of the other brands first.
- Cloud Star – Another promising brand that says “Made in USA” but doesn’t divulge sources.
There are a lot more. If you’ve come across a dog treat brand that sources and manufactures in the USA, please share it in the comments!
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