As a dog owner, you want the best for your furry friend. One way to show them your love is by giving them treats. However, not all treats are created equal. Some contain harmful additives and preservatives that can be detrimental to your dog’s health. That’s why in this article, we’ll review the best natural treats for dogs and provide a guide on what to look for when choosing treats.
What are Natural Dog Treats?
Natural dog treats are made with wholesome ingredients that are minimally processed and free from artificial additives and preservatives. These treats can be baked, dehydrated, or air-dried and come in a variety of flavors and textures. They are a healthier alternative to commercial treats that often contain fillers and by-products.
Pros and Cons of Natural Dog Treats
- Natural dog treats are made with high-quality ingredients that are good for your dog’s health.
- They are free from harmful additives and preservatives.
- They come in a variety of flavors and textures to suit your dog’s preferences.
- They can be used as a training tool to reinforce positive behavior.
- Natural dog treats may be more expensive than commercial treats.
- They have a shorter shelf life since they do not contain preservatives.
- Homemade natural treats require more time and effort to make.
How to Choose Natural Dog Treats
When choosing natural dog treats, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Ingredients: Look for treats that list real meats, fruits, and vegetables as their main ingredients. Avoid treats that contain fillers like corn, wheat, and soy.
- Quality: Choose treats made by reputable manufacturers that use high-quality ingredients. Check if they have been certified by organizations like the USDA or AAFCO.
- Texture: Consider your dog’s chewing ability when choosing treats. Soft and chewy treats are better for older dogs with dental issues, while hard and crunchy treats are good for younger dogs.
- Allergies: If your dog has food allergies, choose treats that are free from the allergen in question. For example, if your dog is allergic to chicken, choose treats made with a different protein source like beef or fish.
Alternatives to Commercial Natural Treats
If you prefer to make your own natural dog treats, here are a few recipes to try:
- Peanut Butter Banana Treats:
- Mash one ripe banana and mix it with ½ cup of peanut butter.
- Add 1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour and knead until a dough forms.
- Roll out the dough and cut into shapes.
- Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.
- Sweet Potato Chews:
- Slice sweet potatoes into thin rounds.
- Coat with coconut oil and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake at 250°F for 3 hours or until crispy.
- Chicken Jerky:
- Slice boneless, skinless chicken breasts into thin strips.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 200°F for 2-3 hours or until fully dried.
Step-by-Step Guide: How to Make Your Own Natural Dog Treats
Making your own natural dog treats is easier than you might think. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Choose a recipe: Find a recipe that suits your dog’s preferences and dietary needs.
- Gather ingredients: Purchase high-quality ingredients from a reputable source.
- Prep ingredients: Wash and chop fruits and vegetables, and cook meat if necessary.
- Mix ingredients: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and knead until a dough forms.
- Shape treats: Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to shape the treats.
- Bake or dehydrate: Bake at a low temperature or dehydrate until fully dried.
- Store treats: Store treats in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Comparison of Natural Dog Treat Brands
There are many natural dog treat brands on the market. Here’s a comparison of three popular brands:
- Blue Buffalo: Offers a range of natural treats made with high-quality ingredients like real meat, fruits, and vegetables. Their treats come in soft and chewy or crunchy textures.
- Wellness: Uses all-natural ingredients and avoids common allergens like wheat, corn, and soy. Their treats come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- Zuke’s: Made with all-natural ingredients and free from by-products, artificial colors, and flavors. Their treats come in small, soft, and chewy bites that are perfect for training.
Tips for Feeding Natural Dog Treats
- Limit treats to 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
- Use treats as a reward for good behavior or training.
- Avoid feeding treats before meals to prevent overeating.
- Always supervise your dogwhile they are eating treats to prevent choking or other hazards.
- Consider the size and texture of the treat when choosing one for your dog, especially if they have dental issues.
- Store treats in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to maintain freshness.
The Best Natural Dog Treats
After researching and reviewing various natural dog treat brands, we’ve compiled a list of the best ones:
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats: Made with real meat and no artificial preservatives, these treats come in a variety of flavors and textures.
- Wellness Soft Puppy Bites: Perfect for puppies, these soft and chewy treats are made with all-natural ingredients and do not contain common allergens.
- Zuke’s Mini Naturals: These small, soft, and chewy treats are ideal for training and are made with high-quality proteins and antioxidants.
- Greenies Dental Chews: These dental chews help clean teeth and freshen breath while also being made with natural ingredients.
- KONG Stuff’N Easy Treat: This treat can be used as a filling for KONG toys and is made with all-natural ingredients like chicken liver and peanut butter.
Choosing the right treat for your dog can make all the difference in their health and happiness. By opting for natural dog treats, you can ensure that your furry friend is getting the best possible nutrition without harmful additives and preservatives. Be sure to consider your dog’s dietary needs, preferences, and allergies when selecting treats, and don’t forget to limit their intake to avoid overfeeding.
- Are natural dog treats more expensive than commercial ones?
- Yes, natural dog treats may be slightly more expensive due to the higher quality ingredients used.
- Can I make my own natural dog treats at home?
- Yes, there are many recipes available online for homemade natural dog treats.
- Can I feed my dog natural treats every day?
- It’s best to limit your dog’s treat intake to no more than 10% of their daily calorie intake.
- Are natural dog treats good for dental health?
- Some natural dog treats, like Greenies Dental Chews, can help clean teeth and freshen breath.
- Can I use natural dog treats as a training tool?
- Yes, many natural dog treats are small and soft, making them ideal for use in training sessions.