Natural Dog Treats

March 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Pets Go Green

Most dogs love treats. Unless you have a picky eater (yes, some dogs are very choosy about what they eat, but most are not), your dog is probably a lot like mine: he will gladly eat just about anything you offer him. Unfortunately most dogs can’t tell whether what they are eating is healthy or not. They can’t read the labels and they don’t do the shopping. So making sure your dog’s treats are healthy is up to you

Choosing healthy dogs treats is similar to choosing healthy food for you and your family. If you are already used to doing this, then you already know what to look for, and what to avoid, on the labels. Long chemical names are a big clue that you should probably avoid that product. And there are a surprising number of dog treats on the market that are made with mostly synthetic chemicals and additives. Even well known brand names often sell what is really junk food for dogs. So read the labels, even if you know (or think you know) the brand.

The easiest way to ensure that you’re buying healthy treats is to buy products that use natural or organic ingredients. Beef jerky treats, for instance, should indicate beef as the first ingredient. Not just “beef flavored” halfway down the list of ingredients. And the list of ingredients should be short, with very few or no chemicals added.

Look for treats that are made with no artificial flavorings or colorings. Some of the worst possible treats that you can give to your dog are those cheap, bargain bags of multicolored biscuits that are loaded with artificial flavors, artificial colors, and meat or poultry by-products. By- products can include all the parts of the cow or chicken that are thrown away when the animals are processed for human food. They are literally not good enough to eat. And if they’re not good enough for you and your family, why would you want to give them to your dog?

There are some additives that are actually healthy for your dog. Vitamins and minerals can all help your dog develop and maintain strong bones, muscles and teeth. Essential oils and fatty acids can ensure that he has a healthy coat and skin.

Natural or organic ingredients are always healthier and safer than synthetics. But made sure to read that label. Some manufacturers will include one natural ingredient just to be able to make the claim that the treat is natural. But the rest of the ingredients are pure junk. Your dog needs you to make sure that his treats are healthy.