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Not all dog treats are the same—some are definitely better for your pooch than others, but if you’re not sure how to tell the good from the not-so-good, there are a few things you can look out for.
Here they are...
What you want to find in a dog treat
100% natural ingredients
Natural is always best. The more a food is processed, the more likely that valuable nutrients and vitamins will be altered or lost during the process. While treats should never provide the majority of your dog’s nutritional intake, it’s still worthwhile opting for varieties which include natural ‘whole’ ingredients that provide more valuable nutrition.
Grains are not only a common trigger of allergies in dogs, but they can also be responsible for causing a bacterial imbalance in your dog’s gut. Their high carbohydrate content also makes it easy to accidentally overfeed your pooch, exceeding their daily energy requirements and causing them to gain weight.
Dog treats tend to have a high calorie content, with fat often being the biggest culprit. While you do need to include fats in your dog’s diet, their nutritional needs should be met through their regular meals alone. Any additional fat simply isn’t needed.
Ingredients which offer additional health benefits
Treats are also a great opportunity to sneak a few extra ingredients into your doggo’s diet to provide some additional health benefits. From shark cartilage and mussels to veggies, ginger and flaxseed, there are plenty of healthy ingredients you can find in good dog treats that are super tasty but can also benefit your pooch’s health!
What you won’t find in good dog treats
While most dogs will happily chow down almost any treat you serve up, some ingredients we can consume without any issues can be highly toxic for dogs. A few ingredients you would never find in good dog treats include chocolate, milk, dairy products, grapes, macadamia nuts and xylitol (often used in peanut butter).
Artificial preservatives and colours
It’s not uncommon for dog treats to include artificial preservatives to extend their shelf life, or colours that supposedly make them appear more appetising—but they don’t need them! Natural preservatives like Vitamin C and E are effective alternatives to the nasty artificial ones, and most dogs’ appetites tend to be stimulated by smell more than appearance, so the addition of artificial colouring isn’t necessary.
Dog treats which include lots of ‘filler’ ingredients such as corn, rice, wheat or soy don’t provide much nutritional value, but they do add a lot of extra calories to your pooch’s diet. If you want to keep their weight in-check, it’s best to steer clear.
Dog treats which use meat by-products are generally poorer in quality compared to the whole meat alternatives.
If you find dog treats with added salt or sugar, just say no—they’re not great for general health, and there are plenty of super tasty treat alternatives that are much better for your pooch. Always examine the ingredients and origin of the types of dog treats you feed your dog, no matter how delicious they appear.
Looking for all natural dog treats without the added nasties? Check out our range of tasty dog treats.