Understand What Makes A Healthy Dog Treat
We only want the best for our furry friends. Dogs provide us with companionship, comfort, stability, motivation, and often a good laugh when we need it most. If you’re reading this blog, we assume that you feel exactly the way we do. Why else would you be putting in the time to research what treats are healthiest for your dog? You want to be able to treat your pup while also being conscious of their health and happiness. You’re a great pet parent; that’s why you’re here!
When it comes to advice on healthy dog treats, we’ve got you covered. But before we can get into the meat of the matter (no pun intended), first, we want to help you understand what exactly makes a healthy dog treat.
Ingredients To Look Out For When Choosing The Best Dog Treats
The first step: Whenever you are considering a treat for your dog, flip the bag around and take a moment to peruse the ingredients list. You can print out our blog and use it as a checklist.
1. Do these treats contain any artificial colors? Artificial color examples could be:
- Red 40
- Yellow 5 & 6
- Blue 2
- Titanium Dioxide
Artificial colors are to be avoided when choosing a nutritious treat. Dyes are only put into dog products to make them more appealing to pet owners but provide no benefits to your pup. In reality, dogs have no preference for the color of their treats! Instead of artificial colors, look for treats that are colored naturally or not colored at all. For naturally colored treats, you may see something along the lines of beetroot, paprika, cinnamon, or turmeric.
2. Do these treats contain artificial preservatives? Common preservatives in dog products are:
- BHA - Butylated hydroxyanisole
- BHT - Butylated hydroxytoluene
- Propyl gallate
- Potassium Sorbate
- Sorbic Acid
- Phosphoric Acid
Artificial preservatives are chemicals put into food to make it taste different or last longer. They are certainly something you want to steer clear from, as they can cause skin and coat issues, irregular bowel movements, and more. Look for a natural preservative, such as dried cultured skim milk, cultured whey, or cultured sugars/carbs, such as dextrose.
3. Do these treats contain refined or artificial sugar? Avoid any treats that contain:
- Corn Syrup
- White sugar
Oftentimes, sugar is added to dog products to make them more appealing. However, sugar is not a necessary part of your dog’s diet, and it can cause health problems.
Now that we’ve gone over the bad let’s take a look at the good.
When choosing a healthy dog treat, it’s very similar to choosing a healthy human snack. You can always rely on whole food ingredients. Look for fruit, veggies, and meat. To give you an example of high-quality ingredients, we’re going to break down a couple of our products’ ingredient lists.
O.T.I.S. Bison Lung Ingredients
- This one is an easy one! Our bison lung is one ingredient. No added flavors, preservatives, or colors. It’s air-dried, easy to break into smaller pieces, and oh-so-delicious.
O.T.I.S. Wild Things Jerky Ingredients
- Elk, venison, or bison: In each of our jerky products, we use an alternative protein source compared to typical proteins such as chicken, beef, and pork. It’s known that dogs can potentially develop allergies to proteins they are commonly exposed to, which is one of the reasons why we chose uncommon proteins. The other reason is that they are sustainable and ethically sourced, and dogs love them.
- Flaxseed: Flaxseed has many health benefits, two of which are omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. We also use upcycled flaxseed, meaning we use a portion of the flaxseed that would otherwise be discarded. Instead of being discarded, we give the flaxseed another life, which aligns with our sustainability pledge.
- Elk, bison, and venison liver: Dogs love the smell and taste of liver.
- Coconut glycerin: Coconut glycerin is typically used to add moisture and help bind the treats so they hold their shape. It’s common for companies to use sugar during this process, but we didn’t want to add any unnecessary ingredients. Our coconut glycerin is USA-made, all-natural, and USP grade.
- Dried cultured skim milk: Dried cultured skim milk is used as a natural preservative. It’s a clean-label alternative to chemical-based preservatives.
- Mixed tocopherols: our mixed tocopherols are another clean-label, natural preservative.
- Rosemary extract: Rosemary extract acts as a natural preservative, as well as a delicious flavor additive.
Another tip: When checking the ingredients, take notice of the first 3 ingredients listed. This will be what the treat is mainly made out of. For example, above, you can see that our elk jerky’s primary ingredients are elk, flaxseed, and elk liver.
At O.T.I.S., we believe that dogs are family. We take pride in our mission, products, ultra-pure ingredients, and our honesty toward pet parents like you. You deserve to know what makes a healthy treat when making decisions for your furry family member. We hope our blog was able to give you valuable information, and we only ask one thing in return… Give your dog some extra love from us!