The Skinny on Healthy Dog Treats and Unhealthy Dog Treats

It’s fun to reward your dog. Seeing their faces light up when you bring out a treat makes your face light up as well. In pet stores everywhere, there seems to be a different type of dog treat for every type of dog. With so many treats out there, which ones are healthy dog treats?

The Skinny on Healthy Dog Treats and Unhealthy Dog Treats article cover image

It is tough as a pup parent – especially if it has been a while since you had a dog. It has been almost 10 years in this house since our sweet border collie/black lab mix Suzie Q passed. So. Much. Has. Changed. Even if dogs themself haven’t.

The Skinny on Healthy Dog Treats and Unhealthy Dog Treats

The explosion of the internet and all the information on it was amazing – if not confusing. It is easier to see what is good or bad for your pup, who has researched topics and what their reports are, as well as warnings about recalls and toxicity.

Just today I saw a FREE post on a local Facebook group about giving away a bag of Ol Roy dog food from Walmart

Free to good home, six cans, pick up only, WARNING! Make sure your dog has eaten this brand before, this is believed to be the culprit of the GREAT shit fest of 2021. A time that will never be forgotten in history. Proceed with caution.

Doesn’t that make you want to just rush over and grab it? (LOL)
Here is the thing – out of over 2500+ dog foods on the market, only about 600 pass safety tests for your pooch.

What to look out for in dog food

  • First of all – let’s get rid of anything made in China. They have poisoned everything from their own baby food to drywall over the last few years. Why would you put your pooch through that?
  • Now, let’s get rid of anything that has either onion or garlic flavor added to their ingredients. Uber toxic – anything in the onion family.
  • Artificial colors come next – just nope!

Right there, you have eliminated about 1500 brands of dog food. Amazing, huh? And that is just dog food! We are really talking about TREATS today, but you can see how it can be important to know before you treat your pup.

You can learn more about dog food in this article: Dog Food Expose

Why Rawhide Treats are Bad

Rawhide dog treats are very popular. They keep the dog entertained for hours. Even pig’s ears can make a dog drool. Unfortunately, rawhide is not on the healthy dog treats list. In fact, rawhide has absolutely no nutritional value to speak of. 

They are full of preservatives and artificial colors which are unhealthy and could even cause an allergic reaction. A common sight for frequent rawhide chewers is the development of irritation and rashes on dog lips from the prolonged exposure to the rawhide’s chemicals. 

Rawhides cannot be digested and can even be contaminated with bacteria, including salmonella bacteria. When rawhide is ingested, it can cause digestive problems which could require the attention of a veterinarian.

Dogs love to chew

Rawhide satisfies a dog’s natural urge to chew and can help clean teeth and remove plaque. For a safer alternative to rawhide, non-toxic chew toys fit the bill. Twisted cotton ropes, rubber toys, and Nylabones are good alternatives and can keep the dog entertained. 

You can also use a large cow bone that some specialty stores carry. The bones are too big and tough for the dog to break and swallow, but are tasty enough to entice them to chew.

Train a dog to stop chewing things up!

Even better? You can buy cow leg bones at your local butcher shop for pennies compared to the pet shop and they are cut down a bit to be more manageable.

Get those SPORN chew toys here – as his “special offer” was over in 2018, LOL –> SPORN Marrow Bone – Chewable Nylon Bone

10 good vs bad treats for dogs
Click on this picture to get to the article with the FREE printable safe/not safe treat list

Healthy Dog Treats

Healthy dog treats that are edible should be high in vitamins and nutrients, low in fat, and should taste good for the dog. Vegetables such as raw broccoli, raw baby carrots, or raw red peppers can satisfy a finicky dog. 

Fruits such as pineapples, banana pieces, apples, and pears are dog favorites as well. Try them out and see which your dog prefers. Who doesn’t like things a little sweet?

For more protein-based treats, beef liver is a very popular choice. You can either purchase beef liver treats at the pet store or you can make some yourself. Just bake the beef liver in the oven until it’s crispy.

468x60 Nutrition Plan

Get your FREE printable dog treat labels!

That being said, I wanted to make sure you saw our custom printable labels for your doggie treat jars – it is a fun FREEBIE we have for you.

free printable dog treat labels

Homemade Dog Treats for Better Nutrition

Commercial dog treats in the pet store come in seemingly infinite varieties. They can be soft, hard, biscuits, rawhide, and everything in between. Unfortunately, their nutritional values can vary as well. 

While your dog would certainly enjoy just about any treat you give him, too much of a good thing can be detrimental to Fido’s health. Perhaps the best way to ensure that your dog gets a wholesome and nutritional treat is to make it yourself.

Homemade dog treats are every bit as good, if not better, than their commercial brethren. One of the most popular and easiest homemade dog treats to make is liver. Not only is liver very palatable for dogs, it is also packed with nutrition.

We have done a ton of homework on this and all of our treat recipes are safe for your pup!

Did you know I have an Etsy Store coming for Aussies and Service Dog fun things?

Liver Homemade Dog Treats

To make liver homemade dog treats, take some liver and slice it as thin as you possibly can. If you are at the butcher counter, you can explain what you are trying to do and they may slice it for you – for free. A dehydrator can work well with making liver homemade dog treats, you can also use an oven. Optimally, you will want to put the liver slices on some kind of rack so that it is exposed to air on all sides. 

A pan will work but only gets air exposure on one side. Set the oven to its lowest possible temperature. Bake the liver until firm and can be cut with scissors. Open the oven door occasionally to release the moist air and to keep the temperature from getting too high. The purpose of this exercise is to dehydrate the liver, not necessarily to cook it.

Once the liver is dry, remove it from the oven and cut it into slices using scissors or a sharp knife. If the liver gets wet or greasy while cutting it, you need to stick it back into the oven. If the liver is too hard to cut, it was in the oven too long. 

SUPER easy to do – and just one ingredient: Liver

No matter, though, as they are still edible. You just need to use something stronger to cut them. After cutting the liver, bake them again on baking paper or on a pan. Bake until it’s dry, not greasy, to the touch. Again, keep the temperature low. The end result should be a liver treat that’s dry on the outside and moist on the inside.

That is just one idea – like I mentioned – we have a bunch of great healthy dog treat recipes that are safe to make for your dog.

Other dog articles you may enjoy:

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