According to a past report by the FDA, there has been an increase in illness and death complaints associated with dog and cat treats. The report by FDA indicated more than 6,200 dogs were involved and only 26 cats.
While treats are a way to make dogs happy, they can easily get them sick if they contain the wrong ingredients. So, one way to determine what your dog eats is by making healthy homemade dog treats.
Although homemade treats may seem quite daunting to prepare, they are worth it, especially if you want a healthy, happy dog with a constant wiggle.
With homemade treats, for instance, you decide what ingredients go into your dog treat and you also get to control how much of each component the dog eats. It is an excellent way to help your dog stay healthy while enjoying the treat they like best.
Most importantly, they are safe, so you don’t have to worry about your newly-purchased dog treat showing up in the latest dog food recall list.
Let’s now see how you can choose the right ingredients for your homemade dog treats.
- Organic Ingredients
Go organic with your dog treat ingredients. Natural ingredients are produced without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Therefore, using organic ingredients means less chemical exposure, less allergen exposure, and reduced-calorie content for your dog treat.
Inspectors scrutinize organic ingredients before they are made available for sale. So, ensure that you check that the ingredients you purchase are certified as organic and that they don’t contain ingredients your dog is sensitive to.
2. Use Natural Sweeteners
Sweeteners should not be used in dog food since taking too much sugar over time can lead to diabetes and weight gain. But here we are talking about treats, something they may not eat every day. So, it’s just right to add a little sweetening. And in that case, use natural and food-based sweeteners like honey and applesauce.
Avoid artificial sweeteners by any means because some artificial sweeteners like Xylitol are toxic to dogs.
3. Natural Preservatives
If you are going to store your dog treat for later use, then you will need to add preservatives. Avoid using chemical preservatives in any form as they are dangerous to your pet. BHT can cause kidney damage to your pet, while BHA is listed by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment among Known Carcinogens and Reproductive Toxicants.
It is advisable to avoid adding preservatives to your homemade dog treats, but if you are going to use them, just go for natural preservatives. Preservatives like Vitamin C and E are safe and the best option for your dog treats.
4. Whole Food Ingredients
Whole food ingredients are purer and contain all the vitamins, minerals, and many more nutrients compared to processed foods. Besides, they have fewer chances for contamination as opposed to processed foods. For instance, it is better to use ‘oats’ than ‘oat flour’ and ‘wheat flour’ should be preferred to ‘wheat bran.’
The more the ingredient is processed, the higher the chances of contaminating it. Additionally, using whole oats in your dog treat will give it a fiber boost and add chewiness.
Gluten is mostly found in grains of most plants like corn and wheat. Most dogs are allergic to gluten, and it is an ingredient that offers very little nutritional value to your dog treat. In humans, gluten causes indigestion problems, which gives a good reason to avoid including it in your dog’s treat.
Dogs require fats in their diet to stay healthy. Low-fat levels can lead to health issues like itchy skin and a dull coat. You should, therefore, ensure your homemade dog treat contains 10-15% fats. You should go for healthy fats and oils like beef fat, salmon oil, and coconut oil.
Rendered fats are low-quality fats that should not be used for your homemade dog treat. Such fats come from unidentified animals and may contain toxins. Avoid low-quality fats and oils have nondescript names like animal fat, fish oil, and vegetable oil.
7. Toxic Ingredients
There are known toxic ingredients that you should never include in your dog’s treat. Some of these include; raisins, onions, apple seeds, grapes, garlic, and chocolate. You should also consult your veterinarian on the ingredients that you may want to use if you are not sure of their toxicity.
The surest way to know what gets into your lovely dog’s tummy is by making healthy homemade dog treat. It is essential to check the quality of ingredients that goes into making your dog treat as they will eventually determine the quality of your dog treat.
Hopefully, the guide will help you express your love to your dog by making use of quality ingredients to make a quality and healthy homemade treat for your dog.