Giving our dogs treats is almost as fun for us as it is for our four-legged friends. After all, showing our affection and appreciation for their loyalty and good behavior is a wonderful way to strengthen the human-animal bond.
Of course, any dog owner who’s helped their pooch shed excess weight knows how quickly all of those tokens of friendship can add up. Even though the word “treat” implies an indulgence, there’s no reason you shouldn’t opt for healthy snacks for your dog (at least most of the time!), so we’ve compiled a list of the healthiest natural or organic dog treats. For pet parents whose fur child is on a grain-free diet, we’ve also included a list of just-as-healthy, just-as-natural grain-free treat options that dogs love.
Are natural dog treats the same thing as organic dog treats?
Even though both are usually considered to be healthier options than snacks without either of these labels, natural dog treats aren’t exactly the same as organic dog treats. Organic food — whether for people or pets — is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Organic Program. In order to be certified organic, all of the plant-based ingredients need to be grown pesticide-, genetic modification (GMO)-, and artificial fertilizer-free, while animal-based components must come from creatures that were fed organic diets free of hormones and antibiotics.
Natural food is significantly less standardized than organic fare. It must be made only from unprocessed or minimally-processed plant and animal material, but it is allowed a certain amount of chemical additives for manufacturing purposes.
Should I feed my dog natural or organic treats?
Even though they’re more expensive than other goodies on the market, spending a little extra on natural or organic treats goes a long way toward protecting the health of your dog. Just like with your own diet, feeding your pet high-quality food will enhance his physical and mental health.
Should I feed my dog grain-free treats?
Some of the most common grains used in dog treats include corn, wheat, and oats, but many pet parents opt for grain-free snacks. Our canines’ ancestors didn’t eat grains, so their bodies couldn’t digest them properly. Even though domesticated dogs’ bodies are now equipped to process grains and gluten, some people choose to eliminate these ingredients from their companions’ diets.
Some dogs are also allergic to grains, so if your pet has food sensitivities, this food group may be a culprit. If you think your pooch has a grain allergy, switch out his food and treats for a week or so to see if his symptoms — like itching and sneezing — improve.
Best Natural or Organic Dog Treats
Best Natural or Organic Grain-Free Dog Treats