Here Are The Dog Treats That Are The Healthiest For Your Pup

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Not all dog treats are created equal.

dog treats

Some may be hard on your pup’s digestion. And sometimes, it may be hard to realize until later. According to BarkPost, you’ll want to try your best to avoid treats that contain ingredients like sugar, soy, and preservatives. You’ve probably heard about grain-free food being preferred by many vets, and this is also very important.

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Grains won’t necessarily hurt dogs unless they have an allergy to them. But grains are mostly filler. Your dog won’t get any additional nutrition in dog treats if they contain wheat or corn. Again, every dog diet is different, and you’ll definitely want to check with your veterinarian if you want to go completely grain-free (or if you suspect your dog may be having adverse reactions to grains).

So which dog treats are safe?

So which dog treats are safe?

BarkPost has some excellent suggestions on dog treats worth trying. Some of its top choices are jerky-based treats. “Not only are they grain-free, but they have a ton of nutritional value and flavor — especially when you consider their small size!” BarkPost writes. “Jerky treats also have a tougher texture, which your dog will love chewing — and is great for their oral health.” So if your dog doesn’t love getting his teeth brushed (and who does?), a treat that requires more chewing may be in your best interest.

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Freeze-dried treats are also extra special. During the freeze-drying process, none of the actual nutrients are cooked out of the treats themselves. That means they’re healthier dog treats than many others. “The preparation processes are designed to ensure the elimination of potential food pathogens,” explains Campfire Treats, which sells natural dog treats. Usually, freeze-dried foods also have a great shelf life, which is convenient if your dog only gets treats on special occasions.

The best dog treats are made in the USA.

dog treats

International companies are excellent at making certain pet supplies, but as far as dog treats go, it’s safest to shop for made in the USA — and it’s all due to the ingredients. In order to cut costs, many dog treats made overseas include filler ingredients that might end up making your dog sick. “In 2007, there were several incidences of pets becoming sick or dying from contaminated pet food,” writes Steve’s Real Food. “Some pet food companies were attempting to cut production costs by using rice and wheat imported from China. There, the government doesn’t apply the same regulation for food quality as we do here in the USA.”

It doesn’t mean that all dogs will get sick, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Especially since with dogs, it can be hard to tell how they’re feeling. Overseas manufacturers aren’t looking to poison anyone’s pet. But they’re more likely to cut corners, especially if they won’t face any type of penalty for it. “Other countries have their own food safety standards which can be very different from those in the USA,” Steve’s Real Food continues. “They don’t face oversight or any civil or criminal penalties for breaking US laws and safety regulations.”

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The Dogington Post actually points to added sugar being one of the culprits of not-too-good-for-you dog treats. Apparently, the amount of sugar in some treats is more than you might think. And since dogs are attracted to sugar (who isn’t?), doggy parents might view their pups gobbling down a treat as, “They must like these, so I should give them more.” Dogington Post credits Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), for helping point this out.

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Some manufacturers of these dog treats don’t necessarily care about the health and well-being of your pet. They’re a business, so they care more about making money. And if they’re selling a treat that’s attractive to all dogs, they’re bound to have repeat business from dog owners who might not think twice about the nutrition label.

dog treats

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While humans are different from dogs, it doesn’t mean that they react to sugar differently than us. The Dogington Post notes that when dogs have too much sugar, they may avoid other foods that offer more nutrition. Dogs might also suffer from behavioral problems if there’s too much sugar in their system. Sugar, in general, is something everyone should try to avoid as much as possible.

dog treats

Unfortunately, sugar is a key ingredient in many of the dog treats you’ll find at the pet store. So next time you’re snooping in the aisle as I do, you may want to hit up a pet store instead to get more of a snack variety for your pooch. Some of the worst contenders include Canine Carry Outs Chew-Lotta, Snausages Snaw Somes Beef and Chicken Flavor, and Pedigree Jumbone Mini Snack Food for Small Dogs. All three list sugar or dextrose within the first three ingredients.

dog treats

Now you know more about the dog treats to avoid. What about the dog treats to buy? Luckily, there are experts who know a lot about nutrition, and they haven’t been afraid to share what their top dog treat choices of 2020 are. And many experts add human foods to that list. Yes, your dog is allowed to have people food on occasion, and it might be worth their while.

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New York Magazine talked to plenty of pet professionals, who added snacks like Gala apples, bananas, and cucumbers to their list of best dog treats. Bananas are especially good, since they’re low in calories but high on the good stuff, like potassium, fiber, biotin, and other vitamins. That said, you shouldn’t overdo it. For most dogs, a banana per day is more than plenty.

dog treats

Jiminy’s Chewy Cricket Treats with peas and sweet potato also made the list. Sure, crickets don’t sound very good for humans, but they’re actually pretty good for dogs. In fact, crickets are known to be the most easily digestible protein for dogs. The concept itself may be a little gross, but if it makes your dog happy, why question it further?

dog treats

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Ziwi Good Dog Rewards Air-Dried Dog Treats were also on the list, especially for dogs who have some food sensitivities. Not only are these gently air-dried, but they’re 96% meat. They’re made ethically and good for dogs of all ages. These are good for finicky pups and those who are trying to avoid grain products as much as possible.

dog treats

There are also great treats out there for anxious dogs. One of the best from the list was Zesty Paws Calming Bites for Dogs. They may seem a little pricey, but they’re a great dog treat to help your dog through separation anxiety or just general anxiety. Expecting fireworks tonight? Might want to break out the Thundershirt and stock up on these calming bites. They include melatonin, ginger root, and even valerian root to help put your dog at ease. Just note that these aren’t good for training — these are the type of dog treats you’ll want to use sparingly, as needed.



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