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What to Watch for When Shopping for Healthy Dog Treats

Written by: Michelle Toma Olson

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Time to read 4 min

We pet parents love to treat our pets. And why not? Our fur babies give us so much joy, love, and companionship that it makes us happy to make them happy! Luckily, healthy dog treats like ours at Farm To Pet can actually be good for our four-legged family members. 

 

Not only are treats valuable tools for training or reinforcing positive behaviors, but they can also be an efficient source of added nutrition. Of course, it’s up to us to be sure that what we treat them with is in fact good for them and that their overindulge buttons – which are usually on and dialed up to eleven! – are kept in check. We can do this by monitoring their caloric intake, both in quantity and quality, and by selecting only foods and treats that are healthy, nutritious, high quality, and age and lifestyle-appropriate. 

 

In our philosophy, the closest thing that a pet would eat in the wild is the goal for what to feed him. A quick trick is to scan a product’s ingredients – if it looks like a grocery list, with things like turkey, chicken fat, sweet potato, or banana, you’re on the right track. If it looks like notes from chemistry class, it is best to move along. Here’s more detail on how to spot and choose the right treat for your dog – or cat, for that matter!

Just Say NO…What to Avoid When Choosing Healthy Dog Treats

Dog Shopping for Healthy Dog Treats
Shopping for Healthy Treats

An essential part of identifying what makes a healthy dog treat is knowing what to avoid in a dog treat as well. Even though it makes us at our all-natural dog treat company shudder at the thought, some dog foods and treats contain unnecessary ingredients like those listed below – artificial preservatives or colors, sweeteners or fillers that have no nutritional value and in fact could be harmful to dogs. 

 

Preservatives

Topping the list are the preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), both of which have been said to cause cancer in lab tests, as well as propyl gallate and ethoxyquin. While healthy dog treats may contain natural preservatives like rosemary extract and ascorbic acid that are perfectly safe and help prolong the shelf life of pet treats and foods, this is not the case for these artificial offenders. Similarly, added colors have no place in your pup’s diet, so steer clear of products with words like red, blue, yellow or lake listed on the packaging.

 

Sweeteners and Flavors

As for sweeteners like corn syrup or sorbitol, they offer nothing to pet treats than taste, almost like tricking a dog into wolfing something down and us into thinking it’s a winner for dinner. Along the same lines is rendered or generic animal fat, used just for taste and adds nothing but unwanted empty calories to your pup’s diet. 

 

Fillers

Fillers are usually added to pet food and treats as cost-cutting measures. Meat by-products or meals are among the most common and usually include low-quality animal parts with very little protein or nutrition. While whole grains can be a beneficial part of a dog’s diet, processed grains or flour are meant to fill up your doggy’s tummy as cheaply as possible.

 

Unregulated Places of Manufacture

While some of these ingredients have been removed from many recipes due to progress in technology, processes and public awareness, this is only sometimes the case, especially with pet food and treats made in or imported from China. They can contain many of these chemicals and other contaminants that a consumer – or pet – would never even realize, so best to stick with options made right here in the US, like all of our products at Farm To Pet. Canada, Japan or the EU have safety guidelines more closely aligned with US requirements as well.

When to Say YES for Healthy Dog Treats

Dog with Farm to Pet Chicken Chip
Eyes for Chicken Chips

Healthy dog treats are the exact opposite of the above – they contain nothing artificial, chemical, or otherwise unrecognizable in nature! Instead, they are simple and simply made, providing pure nutrition to our prized pets.

 

Short Ingredient Lists

When our pets’ ancestors ate in the wild, it was one thing at a time – a bird, a squirrel, a fish. They didn’t need seasonings or complicated recipes, just unadulterated nutrients in raw form. Our domesticated darlings have come a long way, but their nutritional needs haven’t changed much. A healthy dog treat ingredient list will be short and easy to understand – some even one ingredient long, like our Turkey and Chicken Chips.

 

Natural Ingredients

Again, nature knows best when it comes to nutrition. Artificially processed or lab-created foods simply don’t pack the nutritional punch of natural whole foods. You should recognize most, if not all, of the ingredients on the label of a healthy pet treat or food, like chicken, salmon, potato, and whole grain. 

 

Sustainably Sourced

Sustainable ingredients aren’t just good for the environment – they are also healthier to ingest. Traditionally, farmed animals can create foods that are higher in fat and lower in nutrients than their wild-caught counterparts. Plus, sustainably-procured ingredients don’t endanger the supply of the animals they come from.

 

Good Nutrition

The best of healthy dog treats are low in fat and calories and high in nutrients. One of the most essential nutrients for your pet is protein, so an all-protein treat from a lean animal source like chicken, turkey or fish is a great option no matter your pet’s age or activity level. Your veterinarian can help you figure out your pet’s specific caloric needs, but our treats are 6-8 calories of pure protein apiece, so usually up to ten a day can be enjoyed by a medium sized doggo.

 

Good Reviews

This is the one part of our recommendations that concerns technology and not nature! One of the best parts of an online marketplace and community is that we can learn from other people with similar interests and concerns. If a product has a solid history of great reviews, chances are it’s a keeper – and vice versa. So when looking for a healthy dog treat, check out what other pet parents have to say about an option you’re considering. Here’s what they’re saying about our Chicken Chips – pretty complimentary if we do say so ourselves!

Golden Retriever with Farm to Pet Turkey Chips
Golden Retriever drooling for Chips

We hope this gives you an idea of what to look for – and not – when it comes to healthy dog treats. Our fur-riends deserve nothing but the best, whether for treats, food, or dog chews, and we’re proud to be committed to providing just that for your pets for years to come! 

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