Why All Dog Treats Aren't Created Equally

A golden retriever licking their lips outside

As a dog parent, it’s so important that you know what to avoid in dog treats. Dog treats are pretty similar to human foods — whether you’d like to believe it or not! Just like you’re careful about the food you consume, you should also be aware of dog treat ingredients to avoid.

A lot of people don’t really pay attention to the ingredients that are in the food their pets eat. They see the “dog” on the label and think that makes it perfect for their furry companion. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

There are plenty of treats on the market that are specifically made for dogs that are unhealthy and potentially even dangerous. Knowing what to avoid in dog treats ensures that you don’t accidentally give your furry family member something that could harm them.

Take rawhide, for instance — a treat and toy that people gave their dogs for years. Something that was used for years is now advised against due to health concerns by experts. Times change, and so do the demands of pet parents everywhere. We want healthier, safer, and cleaner options for our loved ones!

Ingredients to Avoid in Treats

The first thing to know when making a decision is that all dog treats aren’t created equally. Just because a treat is a big name doesn’t mean it contains quality ingredients — some of the ingredients on this list of what to avoid in dog treats may be found in popular treats sold at your local store. Unfortunately, some of the big-name brands cut corners and use lesser quality “filler” ingredients. Ingredients such as corn, wheat, or other grains are often used as fillers to make production costs cheaper.

A puppy chewing on a treat

Artificial colors and additives are also dog-treat ingredients to avoid. You might think your dog wants a brightly colored treat, but really your pet isn’t attracted to colors the same way you are. They don’t need colors to enjoy their treats. They also don’t need dangerous preservatives. In fact, some European countries have banned the use of these ingredients in food products due to their cancer-causing properties. When considering what to avoid in dog treats, make sure you triple-check the label if you see unfamiliar ingredients. You can never be too careful!

Lastly, while it might look like a “natural” option, animal bones can be a hazardous treat for your pet. There are quality animal bone-based products on the market, but even these have the potential to cause health concerns. Animal bones can splinter and cause gastrointestinal issues for Fido. Larger bone fragments can break off and choke the animals chewing them. Yikes! If you choose these animal bone options, make sure you supervise your pet closely to make sure they aren’t injured.

What to Look For in Dog Treats

A bag of Premium Chicken Jerky Dog Treats

Now that you know what to avoid in dog treats, you might be wondering which ingredients are both tasty and healthy for your pup. The best advice is to think about how you’d like to eat. Do you want food that contains a bunch of unfamiliar ingredients, or would you rather have food with simple, whole-food ingredients? When looking out for dog treat ingredients to avoid, choose dog treats with simple ingredients — especially ones you can pronounce!

For instance, Emmy’s Best Pet Products offers Premium Chicken Jerky Dog Treats. There’s only one ingredient in these treats: chicken! Our Premium Chicken Jerky Dog Treats are simply dehydrated slices of whole chicken breast that are USDA-rated, which means they were intended for human consumption. Not all dog treats can claim that. Besides knowing what to avoid in dog treats, you should also consider how the treats were processed. Dehydration is one of the oldest natural forms of preservation and doesn’t require any artificial chemicals.

An image describing the benefits of Premium Chicken Jerky Dog Treats: just one ingredient (100% USDA Grade A chicken) no fillers, no preservatives, no additives, and no need to refrigerate

When shopping for dog treats, just keep it simple! Look for whole food ingredients that you would enjoy eating yourself. Single-ingredient treats such as our Premium Chicken Jerky Dog Treats, or Elk & Venison Topper are the best options. They’re clean, preservative-free treats with no added colors, flavors, or chemicals. Check our pet blog for more expert tips, including additional information on dog treat safety and what to avoid in dog treats. Shop all of our high-quality dog products to keep your pup happy and healthy!