Let’s face it . . . Dog treats with hair or fur on them are pretty confronting – scary even. Like “what little shop of horrors did this thing come from”?? But the hairy bits in your dog treat selection might are supaw good for your pooch and their doggo digestive health. Dogs love munching on fur treats and they make up an important part of a balanced diet as well as being a natural dewormer.
Is animal hair in dog food a good thing?
Absolutely! Natural animal fur treats (think wabbit products, cow’s ear & cow hide) are an important of a balanced diet for dogs and promote optimum canine digestive health. In the wild, your pampered pooch would eat their prey . . . Fur and all. These ethically and sustainably sourced products (more on where they are from later in the article) are also jam-packed full of essential nutrients and healthy fats.
Fur treats are a natural de-wormer for dogs
One of the major benefits of fur dog treats is that they act as a natural de-wormer for dogs – goodbye smelly chemical treatments, the nutritious natural alternative is here! As your dog chews and consumes fur, the hair sweeps the digestive tract. Along the way, the pesky worms get trapped in the hair and leave the body in your dog’s faeces (you know, out the other end . . . Poo poo caca)! This might mean some weird bits in your doggo’s do-dos, but we can assure you it’s perfectly natural!
The process might sound a bit unpleasant to us hoomans, but your new worm free doggo will be happier than ever and will have enjoyed a delicious snack in the process. A serving of cow’s ear or rabbit can help to remove a range of parasites and dog worms including the main types of worms that commonly affect domestic dogs – roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms. To keep on top of worms fur treats can be added to meals daily or served on their own a few times a week. For smaller dogs we recommend cutting the treats into smaller pieces until you are able to gauge how quickly your doggo likes to eat them (we all know a scoffer) . . .
Is it safe for dogs to eat animal fur?
Definitely – the consumption of animal fur should be a natural part of a dog’s diet. Before dogs were domesticated they had to hunt for their food in the wild. Dogs would eat a range of different meats – essentially any that were available or could be caught – complete with fur attached. Dogs have evolved with fur being an essential part of their diet and eating fur is a natural process. Natural hunting behaviours are not possible for most domesticated dogs, so fur treats can help to fulfill this purpose – munching on and playing with fur is mentally stimulating for your dog as well as being great for their health.
Although our lucky pooches might enjoy carefully prepared bowls of the best quality dog meat, supplements and healthy additions (sometimes more care goes into your doggo’s dinner than your own, ammirite?!), this of course wasn’t always the case in the wild. Consequently, the diets of many pets today are lacking in the types of fibre that would be naturally consumed by dogs prior to becoming domesticated. Considering these primal requirements, fur treats are great for supplementing a balanced diet for dogs.
Depending on the size of your dog, a range of different products might suit you best – rabbit fur treats are ideal for both large and small dogs. Cow’s ears are great for larger dogs and smaller dogs that like to chew, while more delicate rabbit wafers (rabbit ears) are ideal for puppos and small pooches.
If your dog has any health issues relating to their digestive system we always recommend seeking veterinary advice before introducing new food and treat products. However, animal fur treats are perfectly safe for healthy dogs. As with all new foods, it is important to introduce animal fur treats to the diet slowly over a period of several weeks, slowly increasing portion size over time and allowing your dog to adjust to this new healthy way of snacking.
How often should I feed by my dog fur?
We recommend feeding at least two hairy bits per week for optimum digestive health of your doggo. For variety, consider alternating between cow’s ear and rabbit products – the cow’s ear fur is a little more coarse and offers a great digestive cleanse, while the rabbit hair is a little softer and is jam-packed full of additional nutritional benefits including healthy fats and essential vitamins.
In addition, fur treats can be divided into smaller pieces and added to your dog’s daily raw meat meal for optimum benefits and consistent cleansing of the digestive system.
Other benefits of feeding dogs animal fur
Just when you thought we had finished talking about poop, here we go again… Feeding your dog animal fur products, particularly if done on a regular basis, can help to create consistent, solid and healthy stools (no more gross runny poops). We recommend monitoring your dog’s poop after introducing them to fur to see if there are any changes (easy to do if you’re the lucky person that gets to poopa-scoop the yard). If you feed your doggo fur products daily you should notice solid, consistent poops.
While fur treats help to treat the digestive system from worms, they also promote general gut health, which in turn strengthens the doggo immune system. Fur is also a source of manganese, which is important for the development and maintenance of healthy ligaments. Last but definitely not least, fur treats are FUN. Don’t be surprised if your doggo bounds around the yard gleefully – rabbit hopper in mouth – and uses every opportunity to show off their new favourite treat.
Ethically sourced fur – where it comes from
The animal fur products in the Gully Road range are made from free range, grass-fed beef (processed on farm by Provenir) and wild rabbit carefully, sustainably and ethically sourced from regional Victoria.
Ethical Rabbit Treats
While there are some farmed rabbit products on the market we strongly believe the wild rabbit is only truly ethical way to source rabbit products for dogs. Rabbit farming has negative implications for animal welfare (think battery hens, but fluffy) and quite frankly it sucks in a range of different ways. You can read more at our previous post discussing sourcing ethical rabbit products here.
Rabbits are considered vermin in Australia and are a serious environmental threat in many rural areas, so humane processing of wild rabbits has many advantages. Rabbit products are also incredibly nutritious for dogs, with rabbit meat being high in vitamins B3 and B12, phosphorus, potassium and selenium. Wild rabbit is also low in fat but contains a fantastic balance of fatty acids and is richer in omega 3 than many other meats. Based on these balanced nutritional benefits, rabbit is the most biologically appropriate food for dogs.
Ethical Beef Treats
All Gully Road beef dog treats (including cows ear hairy bits) are sourced from Provenir – Australia’s only licensed commercial on-farm beef processing operation. These beef products are processed with the highest possible animal welfare as the upmost consideration. Rather than sending cows to an abattoir – a scary, stressful and drawn out process for the animals – Provenir brings the abattoir to the farm. This enables cattle to be processed in a stress-free manner in their own familiar environment. Our beef treats form an important part of our nose to tail philosophy and through ‘honouring the whole animal’ ensures that nothing is wasted.
Gully Road is proud to offer highest welfare and cruelty free dog treats. If you’d like to know more, read more about the story behind our highest welfare beef treats at a previous blog post here.
About the Products – Gully Road Furry Bits
We produce a range of dehydrated animal fur treats including;
Rabbit hide – Wild rabbit hide, locally sourced from Central Victoria. These are mostly fur and the skin’s quite thin – so they’re not a robust chew. Simply cut into strips and add one to your dog’s meal or offer as a quick treat every few days.
Rabbit paws – Wild rabbit forelegs, locally ethically sourced and dehydrated on our little farm. Ideal for smaller dogs.
Rabbit hoppers – Wild rabbit hind legs, ideally suited to medium or large breed dogs.
Cotton tails – wild rabbit tails, ideal for trialling the whole ‘feeding your dog fur’ thing or as meal additions for small dogs & pups.
Wabbit wafers – rabbit ears, ideal treats for small breed dogs or puppies
Cows ear with fur – Low temperature dehydrated and low odour, these are perfect fur treats for larger dogs and chewers.
Cow hide – much the same as cow’s ear, but larger in size and a little thinner.