We often get asked "What is the healthiest treat for my dog?" (or cat, or ferret). When it comes to treating (or feeding) our pets we stand by the 'fresh is best' mentality granted it also ticks a few other boxes. These relate to country of origin, additives, processing method and quality of ingredients. Each pet is different so even if you get the freshest, best quality treat made out of local beef but your dog is allergic to beef then automatically this is no longer healthy for your dog.
To judge how healthy your pet's favourite treats are you can ask yourself these questions.
Does my pet have any allergies or foods they cannot eat? (example; some pets cannot eat kangaroo meat as it is too rich)
How fresh is this? Has it been sitting around for month on end?
Where is the country of origin? (sometimes manufacturers try hide this with abbreviations or small fonts. PRC is often written to disguise the fact that the treat is actually from People's Republic of China. The origin of the ingredients is a big factor as different countries have different laws around food safety.)
What additives, preservatives and extras are in it? (The healthiest treats have no added extras. Many sub-par treats include a whole range of nasties which include colours, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, flavour enhancers, emulsifiers, thickeners, stabilisers, salt, sugar and any word that seems like is should live in a lab).
How has it been processed? (The best way to preserve meat without additives so it is shelf stable is dehydration. Safely done at around 70 degrees Celsius some treat manufacturers do it at an even lower temperature to retain extra goodness. This takes time as you would imagine cooking the same meat at a lower temperature will take more time. Many big companies process their products at a higher temperature which is cooking instead of dehydrating. This saves them time and they can get more treats out quicker. When meats with bones are dehydrated at low heats under 75 degrees Celsius they remain safe for consumption without the increased risk of splintering. If you get a bone from a company that cooks their bones at a higher heat then the risk of splintering is very similar to that of a bone from your home cooked Sunday roast.
What quality are the ingredients? (Not all ingredients are equal. When reading the ingredient list the first ingredient makes up the highest percentage of the treats and works the way down to the lowest. Ideally you will have single ingredient treats that are 100% meat and bone but if you do have made treats opt for those with the least amount of ingredients and preferably those made with locally sourced ingredients.)
- Can my pet eat this? (example; is it a choking hazard for them? can they eat this bone with their teeth? etc)
- What does my pet need out of their treats? (What size should they be? Do they need to long lasting chews?)
Using these questions you can find yourself the healthiest and best suited treat for your pets!
After years of confusion we have constantly evolved our treat range and now stock Simple Nibbles which are our very own packed to order treats. When you order online we pack them up fresh for you and ship them right away. You can find them below with other great treats from Aussie and New Zealand suppliers.