Any pet owner will agree that a dog’s health should be on their list of top priorities. That’s one of the reasons why you can’t just give them any type of dog treats or dog food. To know which treats are suitable for your dog, start by checking the ingredients listed at the back of every packaging. You can’t just rely on whatever your dog likes. It has to taste good, and it has to be beneficial for your buddy.
So, what should we look for in dog treats? First and foremost, they should be natural or organic. Unhealthy treats, like unhealthy foods for humans, can result in unwanted weight gain. Also, over time prolonged consumption of chemically processed treats causes diseases.
Keep an eye out for allergens. Just like humans, dogs are also susceptible to food allergies. Symptoms can be, but not limited to, skin irritations, ear infections, and diarrhea.
With that in mind, here’s our short guide on how to select dog treats for your four-legged friend.
How To Identify Healthy Dog Treats
Dog treats that are labeled as natural or organic are lining up the market shelves. But how can you tell if it’s the real deal? Like processed human foods, when there are certain words in the nutritional facts section that you can’t pronounce, it’s more likely that the dog treat came from a laboratory. Seeing the word “organic” doesn’t mean all dog treats are equal because they don’t contain the same amount of natural ingredients.
Pet Honesty advises to keep a mental note of the following:
- 100% Organic means every ingredient is natural and contains no artificial colorings and chemicals.
- Organic means that it has 95% natural ingredients, and a small percentage may contain artificial ingredients.
- Brands that have “made with organic ingredients” means only 70% of the ingredients are truly organic.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials enforces proper and transparent labeling on animal food packaging to make it easier for pet owners.
Aside from going organic, you can give your pet artisanal and homemade treats as healthy alternatives. Many pet owners are sharing recipes for natural meals and treats all over the web. Some companies also offer dog treats that are from lean meats and vegetables. Don’t be alarmed if you see freeze-dried ingredients. Freeze drying is a natural method of preserving food and is safe for both human and animal consumption.
Benefits Of Natural Treats For Your Dog
Now that you’re aware of the fact that organic and natural treats are best for your pup, here are some benefits it can provide for your dog:
1. Defends The Body Against Sickness
Similar to humans, all dogs, no matter their size and level of activity, need the right kind and amount of nutrition. However, dog’s bodies are not as resistive as human bodies, and they quickly get sick from unfamiliar materials entering their system.
This is why dogs need wholesome nutrition that’s also hormone-free. Treats made from animals raised with body-altering hormones and antibiotics should be avoided at all costs.
Keeping your dog hooked on treats with animal meat ingredients that are not free-range may eventually develop their resistance to medication. Specific dog treats with chemicals also lower the body’s defense mechanism against allergies. Watch out for low-quality treats as they may also include other parts of the animal that’s not 100% lean meat.
When picking pet treats, go for 100% organic as much as you can or prepare the dog treats yourself, so you’ll know exactly what you’re feeding your pet.
2. Improved Brain Health And Appearance
Humans have a saying that “you are what you eat.” This is also applicable to dogs. Subjecting your pet to standard treats may manifest health conditions that’ll show later on. Synthetic preservatives, dyes, and genetically-modified ingredients can profoundly affect your pet’s outer appearance. Skin rashes, itchy ears, a dull coat of fur, and over-shedding are among the many workings of unhealthy dog snacks.
Treats with coconut oil and salmon oil are brain boosters. If you’re training your dog, learning tricks becomes easier. Giving your furry friend natural options comes with beauty boosters, too. These healthy oils also encourage a shinier coat.
If you’re making the treats yourself, use almond butter instead of peanut butter. Almond has three times more Vitamin E, which is good for your dog’s skin as well.
3. Better For The Tummy
Avoid treats with high-fat content since they’re also harder to digest. Dog treats that cause the hardening of stools make it difficult for dogs to poop. These may even damage the rectal lining and cause bloody feces. Flatulence, vomiting, and watery stools are signs of a sensitive tummy.
Choosing natural dog treats ensures good gut health and ease when dogs are defecating. If healthy dogs need natural ingredients, the more it is for dogs that have digestion issues.
Dog food and treats that have an ample amount of fiber make digestion easier for your dog. Vets recommend psyllium husk fiber, beet pulp, and inulin as sufficient sources.
4. Stronger Dental Health
Rotten teeth and bad breath are not easy to mask, especially on dogs.
Weak teeth and gum health include cavities, swollen pockets, lesions, tartar, and a rotten smell that you can catch a whiff of every time your dog is nearby.
Aside from brushing your dog’s teeth, you can also give them treats specifically for dental health. Choosing solid food over wet food is even better because it helps scrape off the residue from the teeth.
5. Efficient Weight Control
Remember that dog breeds differ in size. Smaller dog breeds, compared to large dog breeds, need fewer calories. Both sizes also have a specific quantity recommended for them.
Some treats can contain as much as 75 calories, which are not suitable for pets weighing less than 10 lbs. At best, small dogs around that weight only need up to 40 calories per pound. Large dogs at 50 lbs. can consume as little as 20 calories per pound for a day.
It’s easy to give in and spoil dogs with whatever you see and think is healthy. However, you must still exercise vigilance, as not all dog food and treat makers comply with what’s truly good for your dog’s health. Pet owners also make the mistake of feeding table scraps, and anything cheap. Pet responsibility comes at a price anyway as it is more costly to have a sick pet.
True dog lovers have their dog’s general well-being put first. There are affordable treats that are healthier than the standard bunch, and you can always choose to make them yourself. Seek advice from your local veterinarian to make sure you’re choosing the best for your pet.