Treats and chews are a huge part of your pet dog’s daily life. Are dog treats healthy? YES, there are many good products, there is no shortage of commercial canine treats on the market today. They come in every possible shape, size, taste, smell, colour and texture. However, we must be careful when buying treats for our dog. The challenge is to make sure to buy safe, high-quality, species-appropriate dog treats in a sea of products claiming to be “all-natural” and “made in USA, UK or Europe”!
The following recommendations will help point you in the right direction to select the best healthy dog treats that are safe and wholesome for your furry family member. It’s not too late to choose your dog’s diet, opt for the natural choice and buy the healthiest dog treats for your pooch this year!
How to choose the best healthy dog treats
Your “best furry friend” is born a meat-eater, a carnivore, just like the wolves in the wild. In fact, nature has designed your dog’s body and digestive system to consume mainly meat to be in its healthiest condition. So, always try to find dog treats that are based on real high quality meat that has not been damaged by heat during the manufacturing process.
In this case, freeze-dried or air-dried products are the best at making sure all the good meat nutrients have not been compromised. In addition, other elements such as fish, fish oils, fruit, vegetables and seaweed are great additional dog treat ingredients that can boost the nutritional value of the dog treats you provide to your pal. Also, make sure to read the ingredients on the treats package well to avoid any ingredients that scientists consider as harmful for your dog.
Top natural ingredients to look for in a treat
Here is a list of the main natural ingredients that healthy dog treats may contain. We will discuss their benefit and how these ingredients will help your dog’s health.
The best meat ingredient is always pure human-grade meat. In fact, the healthiest treats are home cooked protein-only treats, such as cubed roasted chicken breast. But we all know that our lives have become too busy. So you really need to try to find the best healthiest meat based dog treats available out there. There are plenty of higher-end freeze-dried and dehydrated 100% meat treats on the market, but you still need to do research to identify sourcing and purity.
Fish & Fish oils
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for your dog’s growth and early development. In fact, Fish and fish oil are naturally rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are also important for brain and vision development. Fish is a healthy source of protein and is often included in your dog’s daily food as an alternative protein source.
Fruit & Vegetables
Adding fruits and vegetables to your pet’s diet will help make sure that your dog is getting plenty of essential nutrients. Fruits and Vegetables will provide vitamins and minerals that help your dog stay strong and healthy and boost its immune system. Pet treats also have a tendency of being high in calories, so fruits and vegetables can provide a healthier alternative.
Seaweed contains a great range of nutrients that are extremely beneficial for your dog. Among these are Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, iodine, and magnesium. Research has found that Kelp will restore the health of your dog’s skin and tissues. The seaweed Nori, has plenty of vitamin B12, which helps your dog’s cognitive abilities. On average, seaweed contains 25% protein and only 2% fat. That is great! Low fat and high in nutrients! This will help produce more energy, enhance your dog’s immune system, and support his endocrine glands, which are vital to the function of the thyroid gland.
What dog treats should not contain
We hear many horror stories in the news about big brand pet treat companies having to recall dog treats off the market because dangerous substances are found in their treats! So always keep an eye and ear tuned to keep up with this sort of news. First things first; Do not buy rawhide treats or chews! Rawhide treats are the worst offenders in terms of calories and have a number of other problems as well, which is why we will never recommend them. Also, always look at the source of the ingredients provided. For example, do not buy jerky pet treats imported from China! But, try to choose treats with products grown and harvested locally.
What dog treats are not safe for dogs?
A high quality healthy dog treat should not contain:
- Grains, soy or unnecessary fillers
- Rendered animal by-products
- Added sugar
- Artificial preservatives
- Unnecessary fillers
- Imported ingredients of any kind
- High-allergenic potential glutens
If you keep these criteria in mind, it will help you rule out the vast majority of commercial pet treats on the market.
So, when trying to choose the best healthy natural dog treats always read the ingredients. Some online research will go a long way! Many high-quality, human-grade pet food producers are usually smaller companies and might also provide treats. So if you already feed your dog a high-quality pet food you trust, see if the manufacturer also makes treats. Another great option is to shop online, especially if you have already done your research and know what you’re looking for.
Calories in natural dog treats
Just as you should avoid snacking on empty-calorie, nutrient-deficient junk food, your dog should not fill up on junky snacks either. When compared to low quality dog treats, dog treats made with more natural ingredients have a much lower calorie count. In fact, a study performed in Padua, Italy and published in the Veterinary Record in Dec 2017, shows that the feeding recommendations printed on the packages of commercially available processed dog treats are too high.
In this study, it is suggested that the feeding amounts for these commercial dog treats should be adjusted downward, especially if your dog is spayed, neutered, doe not get much exercise or is overweight or obese.
On the other hand, dog treats with natural ingredients have less calories so you can put your mind at rest that these treats do not sabotage your effort to keep your dog fit and healthy.
Remember that dog treats with natural ingredients usually have less calories.
Top dog treats recommended by veterinarians
Providing the best treats for our dogs may be tough. However, these days you can find many commercially available all-natural healthy dog treats formulated without grain, animal byproducts or GM ingredients. Here are a few all-natural dog treats that are recommended by veterinarians.
These biologically appropriate freeze dried dog treats are one of the best around. This is true mainly because they are made of 100% ranch-raised beef, wild boar and lamb that are raised in Canada. The Orijen Regional Red Dog Treat, 42.5 g are gently freeze dried without cooking at high temperatures and without preservatives. That means all the nutrients and amazing flavours of the fresh ingredients are preserved fully.
|Fresh Angus beef liver 19%, fresh Lamb liver 17%, fresh Wild Boar liver 14%, Pork liver 13%, boneless Angus beef 13%, boneless pork 12%, boneless lamb 12%. Fresh and Preservative-Free||Available in 42.5g or 56.7g||6kcal per treat|
These top quality grain free healthy treats contain natural ingredients from USA which are designed to make the treats hypoallergenic for dogs with sensitive stomachs. The ingredients are freshly prepared duck and pumpkin. This means a healthier happier doggy! There is nothing else and is backed up choice by the Hill’s brand. There are no additives, no flavourings, no preservatives, no sugars and absolutely no grain to bulk up the food cheaply. Treats are soft and sweet, so suitable for any pup or adult teeth!
As you see I’m a big fan of Hill’s and there is a good reason for it 🙂 These Fruit and Veg Dog Treats are extra Low Fat by being completely vegetarian. They are great to use as a repeat reward treat without worrying about giving too much calories whilst training. These treats include healthy apples & oatmeal that are great for your dog’s coat and skin. Apples are a natural antibiotic & helps cleanse the blood, while oatmeal will help optimize your dog’s metabolism.
These treats are a good choice for picky eaters. Your canine will bark: That’s my favorite treat!
The peanut butter will help sweeten your dog’s breath. These fruity snacks provide more vitamins than other choices and enhance the anti-oxidant content in your pooch’s body. You can give these as treats, or else, why not sprinkle a handful over your dog’s meal to add the fruit & veg bonus that is often missing from their diet.
These Billy + Margot Popcorn with Seaweed treats are healthy for your dog!
Popped corn is a very low calorie food. In reality, it is the salt, butter, caramel and oil that people add while cooking that makes them unhealthy. So this company has devised a way to cook popcorn that makes it healthy for your dog! These air popped popcorn with are oil free, gluten free, low in fat and calories and have no preservatives! Unlike human brands, there is no oil or unhealthy seasoning in this popcorn to make sure they are extra healthy. All you need to do is Shake the packet well before using to mix the seaweed bits. The seaweed is SeaHorse Atlantic that grows in the wild waters off the south west coast of Ireland free from pollutants, so it is rich in a variety of minerals, vitamins and trace nutrients.
|Maize (Corn), seaweed||Package 20g||74kcal per 20g bag|
You need to think that, giving your dog treats when reinforcing a behaviour will not only affect your dog’s behaviour but also its health! That is why you need to make sure you buy the best healthy natural dog treats possible. We hope that with this article, we have helped you do just that!
If you have any questions, drop me a line or leave a comment, I’ll be happy to hear from you.