Our country has gone to the dogs! According to a recent pet owners survey, there were close to 90 million dogs living in U.S. homes in 2017 – a whopping 20% increase over the course of less than a decade. Americans are welcoming fur babies into their homes more than ever before, and the doggy industry is taking note! Our dog-centric culture has spawned a myriad of products, services, and experiences to make bonding with your dog easier than ever before. From dog parks to doggie day spas, to dog couture – even the dog treats we give them– there is something unique and fun for every dog owner out there to enjoy with their fur baby.
Long gone are the days where dog food came only in a can, and just a handful of dog food manufacturers owned the market. Today’s organic, craft, and farm-to-table food trends have rapidly spread through the dog food and dog treat market as well! Every owner relishes in indulging their pooch – and what better way to do that than with delicious, tasty treats. Whether you use them to train your pet, teach him how to do tricks, or just enjoy rewarding them for all the love they give you, the dog treats market is more diverse than ever before – and with such a variety of treats available, you don’t have to break the bank treating your dog. However, with this explosion of new kinds of food and treats for your pup (just take a stroll down the aisle at your regular pet store to see what we mean), it may seem daunting to navigate through all of the options available.
The best treats for your dog should be dual purpose – something your dog truly enjoys snacking on (you’ll know if he wags his tail with joy and anticipation), but also does something good for your dog. And, much like the food we humans eat (or strive to eat), it all comes down to real, whole, quality ingredients.
Read the labels and look for ingredients that are fresh, pure, and as minimally processed as possible. Ingredients should be as simple to understand (and frankly, quite similar) to the ingredients you seek out from your own food sources. Since it is not uncommon for dog treats to require some level of preservation, preservatives should be naturally based (think Vitamin C and Vitamin E).
It’s hard to find a pooch that doesn’t salivate at a delicious meaty treat – these protein-based treats are one of the most popular kinds of dog treats on the market – and can be a great fuel source for your pet! Chewier treats often have dental benefits and can serve as a toothbrush for your pooch’s (not so) pearly whites. While these treats can be more expensive than cookie or biscuit-based treats, they should still contain simple, easy to understand ingredients. In the dog treat world, less is more, and your dog treat labels should reflect that – whether they are protein-based, grain-based or even grain-free!
When it comes to finding the right treat for your dog, you may have to do some trial and error to figure out what kind of treat really gets your dog’s tail a-waggin’. And while you may not be able to control or predict what treats they will love the most, you CAN do your part to make sure you purchase healthy, high-quality treats that are free from artificial colors, preservatives, flavors, and animal by-products.