Our Approach To Healthy Dog Treats
The fact that we use only ingredients that bring a nutritional and health benefit to dogs is reflected in dogs reaction when presented with our treats. This is a fact, and one we have put our entire ingredient selection upon and built our unique production process system around. We have self built several unique machines to help make MeatSnax including our own purpose built low temperature air dryer. MeatSnax is made in small batches following each recipe formula precisely. Our treats smell very good to the human nose, but to dogs noses there amazing, helping to explain the reaction. Dogs know the difference pure and simple.
Irish Grass-fed beef
Is our first and foremost ingredient, sourced locally from one of Ireland’s premier meat suppliers Kepak. The cuts come from animals humanely slaughtered under the strict guidance of the Irish Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine. Our recipe calls for fresh meat including organ and liver, all rich in essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins.
Protein forms an important component in your dog’s diet. Dogs utilize the amino acids found in protein to build muscle tissue, hair growth and form new skin cells, whilst providing energy and helping to keep the immune system strong. Unlike fat and other nutrients protein needs to be replaced on a daily basis as protein is not stored up within the body, so it is needed to provide the important amino acids for the overall health of our pets. Depending on your dog’s age and activity level, daily protein requirements will vary.
The protein found in grass-fed animals is a healthy fully digestible protein. Fats from grass-fed animals are also healthy anti-inflammatory fats containing approximately two to three times the amount of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid compared to non-grass-fed animals.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
Alfalfa known in the Middle East as the “Father of all Herbs “is a member of the pea family and used as a herbal medicine for nearly 1500 years. Alfalfa is renowned as a cure for all inflammations, including arthritis and is thought to lower cholesterol it is also a blood purifier and bitter tonic, and contains the digestive enzyme betaine, making it a digestive aid as well.
Containing considerable levels of protein Alfalfa has long been utilised as a valuable fodder crop and nutritive herb, it is one of the richest sources of vitamins and trace minerals, such as calcium, beta carotene, potassium, magnesium, the vitamins A, B12, C,D,E and K. Rich in pigment chlorophyll which gives plants their green colour and also is an antioxidant.
Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
Is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning, and rich source of manganese, vitamin K, iron and fibre, it also supports the system with other minerals like potassium for controlling heart rate and blood pressure together with calcium to strengthen bones and teeth. Zinc, according to studies, promotes cell growth and is a stealth antioxidant protecting against free radicals. It helps keep blood vessels pliable, builds bones, and is an anti-inflammatory, potassium in black pepper helps improve the stomach’s ability to digest foods and promotes intestinal health and rid the body of toxins. Dr Michael Greger MD also found that a phytochemical in black pepper called peperine can increase the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%.
Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)
A common weed that happily grows in almost any uncultivated ground, medicine is viable from this valued root in first year plants only. Burdock is known for its ability to heal the skin and for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. The root contains cleansing constituents which include a bitter, crystalline glucoside lappin, the flavonol quercetin, volatile oils and tannic acid. Burdock is most valuable for skin conditions and should be used over a long period of time to remove any systemic imbalance, which is often the cause, it also stimulates the release of toxins from the body with a balanced mineral content. Part of the action of this herb is through the bitter stimulation of digestive juices and bile secretion, which aids digestion and appetite, and absorbs toxins from the bowel. Burdock root is high in carbohydrates and inulin, and very high in iron, magnesium, silicon, thiamine, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and chromium.
Burdock may interact with medications for diabetes. Burdock should not be given to pregnant or nursing dogs.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Chicory is a woody, herbaceous plant that has many health benefits. The root is an incredible source of inulin, in its raw state chicory roots contain by dry weight up to 68% inulin, a starch like polysaccharide. This naturally soluble dietary fibre is an important prebiotic source of fuel for friendly gut bacteria supporting the creation of life-sustaining chemicals in the form of short chain fatty acids which hold important roles in keeping the body healthy.
These include its ability lessen digestive problems, decrease arthritis pain, detoxify the liver and gallbladder, prevent bacterial infections, enhance the immune system while decreasing the odds of heart diseases.
Chicory is a very good source of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron-folic acid, and potassium, as well as vitamin A, B6, C, E, and K.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion the common weed we find growing in hedgerows, lawns, fields, popping up through cracks in pavements etc., like so many of the herbs we know and use today, there medicinal assistance goes back into prehistory. In Europe, it was used in remedies for diabetes, fever, diarrhoea and problems associated with the eyes, in Chinese medicine, dandelion has been used to treat appendicitis, inflammation, stomach ailments and problems associated with lack of milk flow in the breast. Dandelion was boiled in water by the Native Americans for, heartburn, upset stomach, kidney disease, swelling and skin problems, the leaves are used to stimulate the appetite; problems of the liver and gallbladder, the leaves are also used as a diuretic which help the body expel excess fluid.
Dandelion is a rich source of the vitamins, A, B, C and D, and a provider of minerals such as iron, potassium and zinc.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Fennel is calmative to expel gas, stomach cramping and intestinal colic, it’s activity in the digestive system is very similar to that of catnip, however, fennel tastes very different from any mint, its flavour is often preferred by dogs who dislike minty flavours, it serves as a gentle anti-gas and antispasmodic agent that can be added directly to the animal’s food, to bring symptomatic relief while care is taken to investigate the deeper cause of the problem. It is an especially good nutritional assistant for dogs with chronic indigestion which cannot be attributed to a specific disease entity.
Fennel also helps increase appetite, while freshening the breath by minimizing belching and through its antibacterial activity in the mouth. Fennel herb is carminative by nature, which simply means that it works to prevent the creation of gases. For this reason, it is a well-respected digestive health remedy used in many recipes created to help those with regular intestinal ailments.
Fennel is high in vitamin C, A, calcium, iron, and potassium, and varying amounts of linoleic acid.
Ginger (Zingiber Officinalis)
Ginger root is in the same family as turmeric, the spice and medicine used and known about in Asian, Indian and Arabic cultures for thousands of years. Ginger is well known as a digestive aid for upset stomach and nausea, but some lesser known benefits include more serious conditions such as osteoarthritis and even cancer. The health promoting perspective of ginger is attributed to its rich phytochemistry gingerols the bioactive molecules found in ginger have shown antioxidant capacity in several studies. Holistic practitioners have long been recommending this powerful root into the diets of pets with specific conditions, as well as for general health maintenance. Ginger has been used to treat pets for nausea, bloat, arthritis, heartworm and even cancer, by no means a full list of it beneficial properties, its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties help control the process of aging, and furthermore its antimicrobial, antifungal properties can help in the treatment of infectious diseases. Ginger is almost completely safe. In exceedingly rare cases, it is possible to experience an allergic reaction associated with anaphylactic shock. Obviously, if that occurs, you should not attempt to administer it again.
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
Milk thistle was prized as liver tonic by Roman emperors. It is one of the few herbs used in conjunction with conventional Western modern medicine. The active ingredient is silymarin, which makes up about 80 percent of milk thistle extracts and powders.
The uses for dogs are similar to those for humans. Milk thistle has demonstrated effectiveness in protecting the liver against toxins and stimulating growth of cells to replace those that are killed or damaged. Milk thistle is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Milk thistle is used primarily for treating liver diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver, but in dogs, it is also being successfully used in the treatment of diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It reduces inflammation of the liver and bile ducts that occur during IBD, and stabilizes red blood cells affected by diabetes.
Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Often considered to be a weed, most people would consider the growth or existence of nettles a nuisance. However nettle is actually one of the most versatile herbs when cut and dried as the constituents that cause allergic reactions are only active when the plant is alive!
The plant is comprised mainly of complex sugars and lectins. Nettle contains prostaglandins which have properties that support resistance to redness and irritation. Nettle leaf also contains high levels of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin and beta-carotene and high amounts of the vitamins A, C, D, and B complex. Nettle, is a rich source of beneficial phytonutrients such as chlorophyll, sterols, polyphenols, lignans, and gallic acid. It is also a diuretic, tonic and can also be applied to stop bleeding in open wounds. Nettle has been used for centuries to help treat stiff joints and aches and also helps to purify the blood and cleanse the liver and kidneys.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary has many benefits; it has a long association with the heart and is employed by herbalists to improve circulation and blood vessel health. Better blood flow explains improved nutrient and oxygen transport and waste removal, in turn improving overall health. In the digestive tract, rosemary reduces spasms and gas, which translates to reduce dog breath, since bad breath often originates from poor digestive function further down the tract rather than just a bacteria filled mouth. Rosemary will also counter infections in the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth down, as well as in the urinary tract, eyes and on the skin. Rosemary may also have cancer related applications, as it strongly reduces two drivers of cancer progression, oxidative stress and inflammation and may even reverse the resistance of tumor cells to chemotherapy. Rosemary is best not used medicinally during pregnancy, though small amounts found in food would not be expected to pose a problem.
However rosemary in its purified essential oil form which is much more concentrated is not appropriate for use in any person or animal prone to seizures, and absolutely not in high doses.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme is an aromatic perennial evergreen herb with culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. Thyme has antiseptic, anti-spasmodic and anti-bacterial properties. It is beneficial for the skin, the respiratory system, good brain function and gastrointestinal health, it has also been claimed to have anti-cancer properties. Thyme helps the body digest and process fatty acids and can generally aid digestion also treating flatulence. Thyme contains Vitamins A, C and K, iron, manganese, calcium, fibre and tryptophan.
Thyme is an antioxidant and its primary ingredient, thymol; helps inhibit fungal and bacterial growth.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric been a member of the ginger family, is a commonly used curry spice. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, carminative and cholesterol-lowering effects. It is also beneficial for the digestive system; the fact is turmeric has a long and wide history of uses, not limited to a beneficial food source.
Turmeric is used to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. It may also be useful in inflammatory conditions, studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems, receiving a lot of press lately for its health properties.
Curcumin the main active compound in turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is a very strong antioxidant. Antioxidants scavenge molecules in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can fight free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
In addition, curcumin lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. It also stops platelets from clumping together to form blood clots.
Organic Irish Seaweeds
The island nation of Ireland surrounded by its pristine rich waters contains an immense supply of a currently untapped natural resource, seaweed. In more recent years there has been gaining interest in this range of superfoods, truth be told the coastal people have using seaweeds in their diet, their animal’s diet and indeed as a fertiliser for their fields, as portrayed in the famous play by John B Keane, The Field. So it seems that seaweeds are regaining their popularity and rightly so, there is vast potential for these sea vegetables to assist in better health and nutrition for man, animal and soil, and yet we are only beginning to better understand and quantify through scientific analysis seaweeds properties.
The seaweed harvested in pristine Irish waters are in fact harvested by hand, a tough and labours task undertaking by families whose ancestors harvested in very much the same fashion, this, in turn, ensures that Irish seaweeds are harvested sustainably, hand cut and inspected for quality delivering a superior product for drying. Like our own low-temperature air drying process, our seaweed supplier dries their seaweeds at low temperature also, we source all but one of our seaweeds from the Connemara Seaweed Company, Noel and his harvesters produce some fantastic seaweeds for the food industry with a wealth of experience, dedication and knowledge. I was very lucky in our early development days to have had the guidance and vast knowledge at hand of one of the worlds leading seaweed experts Dr Stefan Kraan, whose input into the development of our treats was very rewarding, taking our treats to another level, something for which I am very grateful.
So what’s all the fuss about, what’s so fantastic about seaweed? Because seaweeds offer one of the broadest ranges of minerals of any food, containing virtually all the minerals found in the ocean, corresponding to many of the same minerals found in the blood system. Seaweeds are superfoods and are considered nutrient rich in amino acids, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients such as polysaccharides also called (fucoidans), lycopenes and carotenes. These sea vegetables are an excellent source of iodine, vitamin C, manganese and vitamin B2. They are also a very good source of Vitamin A, copper as well as a good source of protein, pantothenic acid, potassium, iron, zinc, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus, and vitamin B1.
Chondrus crispus/Carrageen moss
Himanthalia elongata/Sea spaghetti