Finding healthy dog biscuits is not always easy, especially when you're not sure what you should be looking for and avoiding. Here's the basics, when searching for healthy dog biscuits you want to look for a biscuit that contains limited and natural ingredients. Many dog biscuits can include human foods such as carrots, pumpkin, green beans, broccoli and much more - These type of ingredients are great as they are low in calories. Homemade dog biscuits are especially beneficial if your dog has allergies, diabetes or other issues that affects their diet. Also, DIY dog treats can save you some money on what you spend on your dog in the long run.
If you're buying dog biscuits from a store, checking the ingredients is very important. Dog biscuits containing meat protein (such as chicken, lamb, beef, etc) should list it as one of the first ingredients. If it say's "meat by-product" this will mean it contains low-quality protein probably from a dubious origin. Many commercial dog biscuits can be high in fat and sugar, often with unnecessary fillers, preservative and artificial flavors. Click here for more information on how to read the ingredients that are on the back of your dog treats.
Unprocessed fruit, vegetables, and grains keep their vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants intact which is very beneficial for your dogs health. Don't be too concerned if you see 'rice' listed within the ingredients - as long as it is listed low in the ingredients, it is safe. Unless your dog has a reaction to grains, if so stay clear!
There is no reason why sugar should be in any dog treat, it's completely unnecessary for your dog's diet and nutritional needs. Look carefully at the ingredient list for sugar, bearing in mind that sugar may be listed under a different name such as; sweetener, sucrose, caramel, or corn syrup. Dogs that eat sugar on a regular basis are susceptible to tooth decay, allergies, arthritis, and obesity.
Salt is a required nutrient, but just like us human, an excess intake of salt can cause health problems to develop. Humans and dogs can develop the same problems due to an excess of salt such as; an increase in water intake, dry mucous membranes, restlessness, and heart problems. Salt can be listed within the ingredients as; sodium chloride, iodized salt or sea salt.
Many dog biscuits contain artificial flavors or colors which are totally unnecessary. Manufacturers add them to low quality foods to make them more appealing to dogs (and us)! For a healthy dog biscuit to be truly healthy, it should be devoid of all artificial colors and flavorings. The most common ones to avoid are propylene glycol, corn syrup, and monosodium glutamate MSG.
Preservatives extend the shelf-life of dog biscuits but again, there are healthy preservatives and ones to avoid. I would steer clear of anything that contains BHA, BHT, sodium nitrite and nitrate. Healthy options are vitamin C, vitamin E (mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols), rosemary extract, ascorbic acid, citric acid, cinnamon, sage, rosemary, cloves and honey.
Treats found in a refrigerator of a store have a shorter shelf-life but are usually healthier as they are usually free of harmful preservatives.
When you see the USA logo or 'Made in the USA' displayed on a pack of store purchased dog biscuits, you at least know where they came from. Not that it means that its healthier but at least you know the country of origin. You should ALWAYS stay away from any treats that have been made in China.
Unlike us humans, most dogs don't have a sweet tooth. Dogs are more motivated and driven to fragrant treats, such as liver treats or peanut butter treats. Fragrant treats have a stronger scent to them - sometimes the stronger the better! Making your own healthy dog biscuits allows you to get creative with the flavors and smells! Knowing the ingredients you put into your dog's treat, allows you to give your dog a healthy boost and you some peace of mind.
These treats are so simple and quick to bake. They are especially great for people too, try serving these with a dip instead of tortilla chips. It's a treat that you and your dog can share. Me and my dog 'Lady' regular share these on the sofa - She's addicted!
*DO NOT GIVE THIS TO YOUR DOG IF THEY HAVE TROUBLE DIGESTING LACTOSE*
Pumpkin is great for dogs that have an upset stomach. It also helps improves your dog's coat and immune system. So if you dog suffers from a sensitive stomach, this recipe would be safe and perfect for them.
Blackberries: These are packed with antioxidants to fight free radicals in your dog, and they also have plenty of fiber, vitamins and omega-3.
Strawberries: These are packed with antioxidants. They boast high in fiber and provide a lot in vitamin C. Strawberries contain enzyme's that can help whiten your dog's teeth. Do not feed your dog large amounts of strawberries, even though the sugar in natural, too much can be bad news.
Blueberries: These are packed with antioxidants; fiber and phytochemical blueberries boast provide the same benefits for your dog's body that they give yours.
These dog delicious cookies are made with baby food and are healthy and very simple to bake! No matter what flavor your dog loves, you can adapt these cookies to suit your dog's taste buds. If you're not sure where to begin with flavors, try sweet potato and chicken. With so many varieties of baby food available, it is simple to create lots of different flavors for your dog. Avoid baby food that contains artificial preservatives, onions or onion powder.
Not everyone has time to make their own healthy dog biscuits, which I can understand. When buying dog biscuits from a store, ensure you check the ingredients and keep in mind the ingredients you want to avoid. Dog biscuits that contains protein such as chicken, lamb etc., ensure it's listed as one of the first ingredients.
Make sure you always check that the "best before" date is at least six months away. This means that the dog treat biscuits were made recently. Biscuits that contain BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin are likely to have a "best before" date that is as much as two years past the manufacture date.
Many dog biscuits can contain additives and nasty meat byproducts, which can contribute to your dog suffering from obesity, diabetes, and many other illnesses and diseases related to an unhealthy diet. For more information, please check out my Healthy Treats Page.
There any many recipes which allows you to make healthy dog biscuits for your dog, and the best part about making them at home - you know what ingredients are going into the biscuit. If you have a dog that suffers from allergies or digestive problems, this is extremely important! An added bonus is that it's inexpensive to make healthy dog biscuits in the comfort of your own home. Feel free to try any of my recipes, I can ensure you that the ingredients you will need to make these treats at home are already in your cupboard.
Alternatively, if you would rather buy some already made, we show you the healthy options and what to avoid in store bought brands to ensure you are getting a high quality healthy dog biscuit for your dog.