So what should you look for in a healthy dog treat?
No added sugar
It may appear under different names, such as sucrose, caramel, or corn syrup, but whatever the sweetener, it’s unnecessary for your dog’s nutrition. In fact, eating it regularly can cause hypoglycemia, tooth decay, arthritis, obesity, nervousness, cataracts, and allergies.
No added salt
The ingredient may also be listed as sodium chloride, iodized salt, or sea salt. Salt is a required nutrient, but like in humans, excess intake of salt can cause health issues, such as an increase in water intake, heart rate, and hemoglobin concentration, as well as dry mucous membranes and restlessness.
This ingredient is often added because it is a cheap substitute for meat protein, but unfortunately, it offers fewer health benefits and also is a common allergen for dogs.
Corn is another cheap meat replacement with less nutritional value. It’s not a complete protein source and when used exclusively has been shown to result in muscle loss for dogs.
Ideally, you want a treat that is entirely grain free. In nature, dogs are meat eaters — they need protein. And those who eat grain in high amounts often suffer ill effects, such as irritable bowel syndrome, over time.
Dairy products are a common cause of food allergies and sensitivities. If your dog is experiencing symptoms, you should talk to your veterinarian about whether or not eliminating dairy from his diet makes sense.
Gluten is a binder, which means it helps bind food together, but unfortunately, it offers little nutritional value.
Made in the USA
While this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, it’s something worth considering when selecting a dog food. Why? Because some other countries may not hold the ingredients in their dog food to as high a standard.