Dog Nutrition: What you Don’t Know about Dog Treats

It is our goal in life to ensure that the dogs that love us dearly are well taken care of—from the inside out. Unfortunately, the advertising industry encourages us to buy dog food, dog treats and other dog nutrition that isn’t actually beneficial for their disposition.

Many of us with dogs put extreme care into the decisions of what we put into our furry friends’ bellies and bodies, but the sad truth is that few of us put the same care into dog nutrition treats. So—what are the healthiest and most delicious treats? Well, we can tell you what they aren’t (then we’ll tell you what they ARE)…

The Rawhide Debacle

Rawhide is a common dog treat that is only just now being exposed for how dangerous it truly is. These dangerous treats made of cow—or horse—hide have high risks for contamination, and contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals from the processing of the hide (which over time build up in your dog’s body) and it can irritate your dog’s digestive tract. The biggest concern however is that many dogs can choke on rawhide, or the hide can become lodged and cause a damaging blockage in the throat, stomach or intestines.

So—rawhide is out. What else is there?

Dry Dog Cookies
The typical dog cookie we think of is a small brick-like object shaped into a bone form. This is the iconic dog treat—but it isn’t good for your dog as dry dog biscuits are primarily made of gluten (flour), sugar and preservatives.

Jerky
Jerky treats are popular step-up from dry biscuits, as they have dogs salivating at the mouth. But—many jerky treats are unhealthy as well. The low-cost options are generally made from flour, sugar and meat-flavoured chemicals. The higher-cost options have meat as one of the (many) ingredients, but these have come under fire for contamination in recent years for making dogs sick. Most recently, Time Magazine published an article about illness caused from imported jerky that caused illness in over 3,600 pets (primarily dogs), and another 600 deaths.

So—Now What?
What this means, is that to ensure you are giving your dog(s) safe, healthy and nutritious dog treats you should make your own—so that you know the ingredients. Or, if you don’t have tons of free time to waste—go with Greenbark Gummies—boutique dog treats from a company that cherishes its healthy ingredients like a teen girl treats lip gloss, or a child covets candy. Our all-healthy, all-natural products are not only 100% healthy—but also 110% delicious!

Dog Treats: What to Look for

Walking down the food aisle of any pet store can be a confusing experience, with the hundreds of different dog food and dog treats options all fighting for your attention—and of course their fancy labels don’t help. They all have  smiling dog faces on the package and all promote their ‘awesome’ ingredients—but, which one is best?

To help you demystify the process of dog treats selection, we’ve narrowed down the selection by giving you the top ingredients to look for (and some to run away from!).

Dog Treats: Ingredients to Look for
We’ve created a list of ingredients to look for, because looking at fancy-shmancy packaging won’t get you anywhere. Without further ado—here are the ingredients to look for (and as a general rule of thumb—the fewer ingredients the better and the more ingredients you recognize the better!)….

  • Meat & Fish

Meat and fish is always the best ingredient for dogs—but look for real sources and not ‘meal’, meat by-products, bone or ‘bone meal’ products. In our opinion fish is a leaner protein source that offers more health benefits, but any high-quality meat ingredient will do.

  • Moisture

OK—’moisture’ isn’t exactly an ingredient, but look for dog treats that have a reasonably-high moisture content, ideally 12% or higher. After all, how would you like to munch on Wheaties as a ‘treat’.

  • Fruits and Vegetables
    This includes: peas, carrots, kelp, sweet potatoes, etc.
  • Spices

When dog treats use spices for flavour, like garlic, rosemary, ginger, etc., they avoid using sugars, salts and artificial flavours. So, stick with foods and dog treats that use spices over sugar and chemical flavours.

  • Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a dog-friendly superfood that offers a nearly endless list of health benefits. The health highlights include being high in protein, all 3 omega-3 fatty acids, lipids, fibre and more. They are also a great source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc—and they help with detoxification while supporting joints, bones and muscles.

Dog Treats: Ingredients to Avoid

  • Artificial colours and flavours
  • Preservatives
  • Imported meats
  • Meat and bone by-products
  • High quantities of grains
  • Sweeteners
  • Artificial humectants
  • Low-quality grain products or un-named grain products

When sourcing high-quality, delicious dog treats that your pet will love, look for dog treats with the above ingredients. OR—take the guesswork out and go with our boutique dog treats, Greenbark Gummies, and let our chia seeds do the nutritional work.

Raw Dog Food: Yay or Nay?

The raw dog food diet is contentious amongst dog owners, vets and feeding experts. It is highly debated as it can be extremely healthy—but also dangerous. In raw dog food testing, of 196 tested samples they found 15 instances of salmonella and 32 instances of listeria monocytogenes. The same testing company tested 190 samples of dry exotic dog food, 190 samples of jerky treats, 120 samples of semi-moist dog food and 120 samples of standard dry dog food. In all those tests they didn’t find a single incidence of either forms of bacteria (in the same testing there was 1 instance of salmonella in dry cat food).

Opponents of the raw dog food diet point to these studies and the danger that these common forms of bacteria pose to dogs and recommend people stay away from raw food for dogs. Proponents of the diet however think that its nutritional value far outweighs the possible dangers of the raw ingredients—which are mitigated when the owners treat the raw ingredients with adequate care.

Raw Dog Food: How to Eliminate Food-Borne Illnesses and Bacteria

If you are one of the many people who simply can’t overlook the nutritional benefits of raw dog food (and the benefits are huge), then be sure to follow these tips below to ensure the food’s safety:

Be careful not to infect yourself as you make the dog food, which can happen if you accidentally ingest it or contaminate a surface, object or clothing in your home with the bacteria. Also, wash your hands thoroughly after handling food, for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Clean your dog’s bowl between each use, with hot water and soap. Use a safe disinfectant after washing for optimal results.

Buy your food’s ingredients from reputable stores.

Wash and disinfect your ingredients prior to use and then ensure they don’t come in contact with other ingredients that haven’t yet been disinfected.

Use a natural disinfectant for surfaces and ingredient cleaning, by mixing a solution of vinegar (which kills 80% of germs) and hydrogen peroxide.

Keep all your meat ingredients frozen until immediately before use—and then thaw them in your sink or microwave (not your counter).

If your pet doesn’t eat the entire serving, refrigerate and cover the remaining food and ensure it is eaten with the next food serving.

Follow the above tips and you’ll keep levels of dangerous bacteria down, while encouraging proper nutrition for your dog.

As a final note: support your healthy raw dog food diet with equally-nutritious snacks, like our Greenbark Gummies—which are filled with nutritious ingredients like fish, chia seeds and other all-natural ingredients.

Dog Treats: Which Ones are Nutritious AND Delicious!

Dog treats are readily available in your corner store, major pet store, boutique pet shop and/or via online retailers. You can literally buy them anywhere. But—where should you buy them—and which ones should you purchase?

Unfortunately million-dollar marketing and branding campaigns, and fancy packaging hide the real facts about dog treats…

Readily-Available, On-the-Market Treats
Many treats available at retail stores and pet food stores are the McNuggets of the dog treats world. This means they’re delicious, but not nutritious (actually—they offer negative nutrition). For example, raw hide treats have high incidences of bacteria and wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive tracts, dry dog biscuits (you know—the ones that are shaped into bone-looking patterns) are just wheat, sugar and preservatives—and jerky treats have high incidences of poor ingredients and contaminated ingredients.

So—Which Dog Treats are Nutritious AND Delicious?
The simple answer is that small, boutique treats are the most nutritious and delicious options available on the market. And on top of that pile of treats is Greenbark Gummies. We use carefully-selected ingredients that are high-value nutrition for your dog. Our top-quality nutrition comes from using the following high-value food ingredients:

  • NutriChia—our own blend of high-quality Chia seeds that packs a huge nutritional punch.
  • Omega-rich fish and fish oils
  • Nutrient-rich peas
  • Kelp
  • Natural flavourings, including: rosemary, ginger, and garlic
  • Green tea extract
  • Alfalfa
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health
  • Chlorophyll
  • And more…

All of our treats are specially formulated for your dog’s specific health. This factor is important when you consider that companies put hundreds of millions of dollars into specific dog food formulations—while still entirely bypassing the dog treats market. Our special formulations include: a skin & coat formula, a blend for healthy digestion and a formula for dogs suffering from hip & joint issues.

The Nutritious AND Delicious Dog Treats

Greenbark Gummies are both nutritious and delicious—just ask your furry friend. Our treats are scarfed down quickly, but they still provide nutritional support for hours. For more information on our dog treats, check out our tab above for our proprietary Chia seed formulation and/or our product listings.