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Are Single-Ingredient Dog Treats the Best Healthy Dog Treats?

Written by: Michelle Toma Olson



Time to read 4 min

There are so many pet treats on the market today, all claiming to be healthy – and all with a different story or marketing spin on what makes them oh-so great. Of course, these marketing messages can’t be directed at the pets themselves, so they are directed at us pet parents, and do their best to appeal to what sounds and looks good to our human eyes. But what is best for our four-legged friends as opposed to our own personal two-legged preferences? In particular, single-ingredient dog treats like ours at Farm To Pet have become very popular lately – which pleases our team to no end! But why are single-ingredient treats so popular, and what makes them a good option as a healthy treat for your pet? Read on for some helpful info on how to choose the best healthy treats for your fur baby!

Dogs Hungry for Healthy Turkey Chips
Hungry for Healthy Turkey Chips

What Are Single-Ingredient Dog Treats?

Just like it sounds, single-ingredient dog treats are made of just one ingredient – usually one protein like chicken, turkey or beef, but they can also consist of one fruit or vegetable as well. 


Animal-based pet treat options are often freeze-dried or dehydrated to different consistencies like jerky or chips and can come from muscle meat like chicken breast or organ meat like beef liver. They can also encompass other parts like tendons or cartilage as with bully sticks or pig ears. As an aside, antlers from elk or deer are an example of a single-ingredient chew, a choice also growing in popularity as a healthy organic dog chew. You can learn more about elk antler chews at our blog post “Elk Antlers: A Doggone Great Organic Dog Chew.” 


When it comes to single-ingredient fruit and veggie treats, the story is exactly the same – only the source is different. Options include freeze-dried or dehydrated sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, green beans and more, all from plant sources. Also like animal-based versions, the key is that the ingredient list is as short as it can be – one item only!

Dog enjoying Elk Antler Organic Chew
Enjoying Elk Antler Chew

The Benefits of Single-Ingredient Dog Treats

Now that we have cracked the complicated code of what single-ingredient pet treats are – as if you didn’t know! – let’s look at what makes them such a good option for a healthy dog treat. 


Basically, it all comes down to simplicity. Simple ingredient lists make it easy for us pet parents to identify what is, and isn’t, in a treat or food. It means that we can be sure a treat or food doesn’t contain harmful or toxic additives or nutritionally void fillers. It also means we can easily eliminate allergens for our pets that have allergies, not to mention that single ingredients are less likely to cause allergic reactions than multiple ingredient recipes in the first place. In addition, single ingredients are good for older pets or those with sensitive tummies because they are easier to digest – again due to their simplicity. 


In fact, the popularity of single-ingredient pet treats is part of a larger overall trend toward what is known as “limited-ingredient” pet food. Sometimes referred to as limited antigen pet food, these recipes contain fewer components in order to minimize the risk of food intolerance and allergic reactions while also offering more unadulterated nutritional value. As pet owners become more savvy and demanding about what we feed their fur babies, this segment of the pet food market, often considered as the pet version of “clean” or “whole” food eating, continues to grow. Single-ingredient dog treats are a perfect complement to this clean and healthy way of feeding and treating our pets!

Dog Waiting for Healthy Dog Treats
Waiting for Healthy Dog Treats

How to Choose A Single-Ingredient Dog Treat

The first order of business when choosing a single-ingredient treat as a healthy dog treat for your furry pal is to identify the ingredients your dog reacts to most positively, both in terms of taste and concerning digestive or allergic reactions. If your dog is allergic to a specific ingredient, simply avoid it when choosing treats – even though he is less likely to react to a single-ingredient version of a particular food, there is no reason to chance it. 


If you’re lucky enough to have a pup with no intolerances or allergies, you can select a treat purely for taste. Run the gamut and see what she prefers, or shake it up and give your dog some variety and the element of surprise. If you don’t already know, you will decipher very quickly if you have a finicky eater or a more indiscriminate muncher on your hands!


However, the most important thing to consider when ensuring a single-ingredient option is indeed a healthy dog treat is the quality of the manufacturer or source of the ingredient used in the treat. For example, Farm To Pet uses only human-grade ingredients – yes, meaning the same chicken and turkey breast meat that we use in our chips could be found at your local butcher counter or grocery store. We also only work with farmers that follow humane farming practices, ensuring that the poultry we use were raised cage-free and fed a vegetarian diet free of hormones and steroids. Do your homework to find out where the ingredients come from when shopping for treats, whether animal- or plant-based. And if the manufacturer isn’t transparent or forthcoming with that information, move on to one that is. What goes into a food source is the number one determinant of the product quality it ends up in!

Dog with Farm to Pet Chicken Chips
Chicken Chips for Shaggy, the pup

The Verdict? YES, Single-Ingredient Treats Offer the Best in Healthy Dog Treats

The facts certainly show why single-ingredient options are a great choice for a healthy dog treat. Not only are they free from potentially harmful or artificial ingredients, chemicals and nutrition-free fillers, they also are less likely to produce adverse reactions from allergies or food sensitivities than multi-ingredient recipes. And, when you choose a single-ingredient pet treat, whether animal- or plant-based, from a reputable company that uses only responsibly-sourced ingredients like we do at Farm To Pet, you’re even more ahead of the game, ensuring that what you’re treating your doggo – or kitty! – to is a treat for his body as well as his taste buds!

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