Every dog loves treats and chews, and so do pet parents! They’re great ways to show your pup that you love them and are valuable training tools to reinforce and reward positive behaviors. But while dog treats are great for any pet-parent family, there’s a stark difference between sugary dog treats created with artificial chemicals and natural treats made with wholesome, organic nutrients and ingredients.
In fact, natural treats for dogs may provide you and your pup with several major benefits you’ll notice both right away and over the years to come. Today, let’s explore the benefits of natural dog treats one by one so that you know for sure why these treats are superior to their alternatives.
First and foremost, natural dog treats are often made with healthier, better overall ingredients compared to treats made with synthetic additives, hormones, and lab-made chemicals.
The ingredients that are in your dog’s treats can have significant health effects either in the short term or later down the road. For example, it’s commonly understood that natural or organic ingredients and food products are better for us. Dogs need vitamins and minerals just like people, including potassium, antioxidants (like vitamin A), calcium, and more.
So, it’s no surprise that top-tier ingredients are also better for our canine companions. The right ingredients can turn treats from tasty snacks into healthy snacks and training treats as well. In this way, natural dog treats can be great for training your pup, rewarding them for a job well done.
No or Fewer Hormones
As touched on above, many non-natural dog treats come with added hormones. Hormones are sometimes added to dog treats to increase their flavor, to force nutritional changes in the dog, to boost growth, or for other reasons. But here’s the truth: your dog doesn’t need any unnatural or synthetic hormones.
On top of that, hormones may be added as a byproduct (perhaps not intentionally). If the dog treats in question are not made with natural, healthy ingredients, they could be made with artificial ingredients that use hormones to grow more quickly, to resist pests and insects, and so on.
Regardless, hormones can do a number on your dog's biological systems and may even lead to health-related side effects later in life.
- Lead your dog to develop allergies or reactions to certain ingredients
- Change how they grow if you give them hormone-addled treats when they are puppies
- Affect how they behave in terms of their mood or energy levels
- And more
Suffice it to say that hormones are never a good idea if you can avoid them. Fortunately, natural dog treats usually come with no hormones whatsoever. Be sure to read the ingredient list on the back of any new package of dog treats so that your pup won’t accidentally ingest unnecessary hormones. If the first ingredients in the label aren’t healthy foods you recognize, especially if they are a range of fillers, keep moving.
Decreased Chances of Allergic Reactions
As a side benefit of natural dog treats, your dog will be less likely to experience any allergic reactions.
Why? Because many natural dog treats are formulated specifically with healthy ingredients that don’t usually cause allergic reactions in the first place. For example, some dogs are allergic to soybeans, so you may find dog treats made without soy just to be on the safe side. Common protein allergies may include chicken; some grains may also prove tricky for a dog to digest.
Additionally, some allergies in dogs are triggered by the above-mentioned hormones or synthetic chemicals added to many commercial dog treat products. If you pick natural dog treats, your dog will simply be less likely to have any kind of negative reaction.
Foods To Avoid
Keep in mind that people can eat a wider range of fruits and vegetables than dogs can. We all know about how chocolate is bad for dogs, but that isn't all.
These foods are also dangerous to dogs:
- Grapes and raisins
- Sweeteners like xylitol (found in some types of peanut butter)
Want to give your dog a slice of the good life?
Look for foods made with portions of:
- Natural peanut butter
- Pumpkin seeds (rich in vitamin C)
- Carrots (healthy doses of fiber)
- Sweet potatoes
A Brighter Bite: Dental Benefits
Some natural and healthy dog treats can also provide dental benefits for your pup in two major ways:
- They don’t usually have artificial sweeteners or tons of sugar to enhance their flavor, meaning your dog will be less likely to develop cavities from crunching down on these treats.
- If they are hard, the treats could help to scrape away plaque and bacteria on your dog’s teeth, complementing any tooth brushing routine you might have with your canine companion.
The second of the two benefits, of course, is only applicable to hard dog treats that they can really chow down on. Soft dog treats don't provide as many dental benefits, but they still might not have as much sugar as other commercial dog treats you can find at grocery stores.
This isn’t to say that dog treats alone can prevent your dog from getting cavities, gingivitis, or experiencing other dental problems. You still need to take your dog to the vet regularly to get dental checkups. It is also a good idea to brush your dog’s teeth using a designated dog brush and special toothpaste.
Even better, many natural dog treats could be better for your pup’s digestion. A lot of synthetic or chemically enhanced dog treats are made with synthetic additives or artificial ingredients. These might seem fine on the surface, but they can wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive system.
As canines, dogs have different digestive systems from us humans. In fact, their digestive tracts are much more sensitive and operate differently. For example, they have a shorter intestinal tract, and their food can be stored in their stomachs for longer than ours can.
All this means is that synthetic ingredients or chemicals can build up in your dog’s gut and lead to health problems or digestive issues. When this occurs, your dog may have to visit a veterinarian for emergency assistance or go on a medical treatment plan.
You won’t know whether your dog has digestive problems with artificially sweetened dog treats. But it’s a good idea never to find out by simply never giving your dog such treats in the first place.
Improved Long-Term Health
In the long-term, natural dog treats may provide your pooch with better long-term health because of their better ingredients and nutritional content. Once more, natural dog treats can’t replace a well-rounded, healthy diet. But they can complement it very well.
Especially in their first years of life, dogs need adequate nutrition to reach their full sizes, to maintain their youthful energy, and to feel loved and appreciated by their pet parents. <h2>Weight Management</h2>
What if your pup has a tendency to get chunky from time to time, or if you need to help your dog lose weight? In that case, natural treats are still the way to go since they are better for weight management.
Again, natural treats don’t have as much artificial sugar or empty calories as non-natural treats. They have more nutritious ingredients and fewer fattening ingredients.
Therefore, you can still give your dog natural treats without them packing on extra pounds, especially when you combine natural treats with a good exercise routine (i.e., taking them on long walks with a comfortable harness) and a good diet. Remember that treats should always be used in moderation.
Last but not least, natural dog treats may also provide benefits to the environment overall.
Simply put, many of the chemicals and additives in sugary dog treats are either made using non-GMO ingredients or non-sustainable practices. This destroys the environment and adds to the burden we humans already place on the planet.
Purchasing natural dog treats won’t turn back the clock or reverse global warming entirely. But it’s undoubtedly better for the environment than purchasing highly sugary dog treats made with unsustainable ingredients by uncaring corporations.
A Recipe For Success
All in all, natural treats for your dog may lead to tons of benefits for your pup, your wallet (since they may result in fewer vet visits), and the world at large. Because of this, there’s no reason not to try out natural dog treats ASAP, especially if you are purchasing treats for a new puppy you are planning to get in the near future.
Not sure where to find quality dog treats for your pup? Wild One offers all-natural, healthy baked treats in a multi-pack with several flavors to enjoy. With this kit, your dog will get the tasty, healthy treats they deserve with the flavors that continue to delight and surprise! Check out our natural treats today, and don’t hesitate to look to the rest of our Wild One online store for other puppy essentials.
Alert of Presence of Thyroid Hormones in Certain Milo's Kitchen Treats | FDA.gov
Pet Food-Associated Dietary Exogenous Thyrotoxicosis: Retrospective Study (2016-2018) and Clinical Considerations | Science Direct
Digestive System of the Dog | Washington State University