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The new year is in full swing, and while you may be sticking to your guns when it comes to a resolution to eat better, can you say the same for your beloved dog?
To ensure that your companion lives a long, active, happy, and healthy life their diet requires just as much consideration as yours. But just like you don’t depend on a local grocery clerk to provide nutritional advice, the same is true for your pet. So where do you turn? Veterinarians.
The issue is that far too many pet owners look to vets as the ones to heal and treat ailments, and that’s it. While that is their primary role, they are also an important resource for the prevention of a wide variety of maladies, those that can be mitigated through better nutrition.
The veterinary industry has long been vocal about the types of foods dogs should be consuming. There is no shortage of information available on that end. But what about treats, the rewards you give your precious pup for being awesome? You want peace of mind that those packs of goodies are not just tasty, but healthy. Below is a breakdown of what to look for when choosing treats for your furry family member.
Humans require good fats in their diet, and so do dogs. While they must consume a minimal amount of saturated fats (the bad kind) they do need essential fatty acids (EFAs) to achieve and maintain a healthy coat (and skin) and to support strong and pain-free muscles and joints.
Even if your vet has recommended a low-fat diet for your dog, the required fat must be of the unsaturated variety and deliver those important EFAs. When considering EFAs, look for treats that include Omega-3 and Omega-6.
A Balanced Vitamin and Mineral Profile
Let be honest, your dog isn’t exactly as germ conscious as you are. They’ve got their nose to the ground and are happy to lick and sniff whatever their heart’s desire. They get exposed to more microorganisms, and to protect their health they need a big vitamin boost. But this profile must be a balanced one, not just to protect them from microscopic elements, but to also give their vital organs, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tissues with the right types of organic compounds.
While your veterinarian will provide guidance to account for any vitamin and mineral deficiencies your dog may have, a balanced profile generally includes the following:
• Vitamin A?
• Vitamin B (including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12)?
• Vitamin C?
• Vitamin E?
• Vitamin K?
We know that’s a long list, but the great thing is that most of the above are naturally occurring in a wide variety of natural and healthy foods. From apples and bananas, all the way through to kabocha squash and quinoa you need dog treats with a list of ingredients that speak to all of the above.
While some essential antioxidants are also classified as vitamins, it’s important to address these compounds separately so that you know what to look for when choosing treats for your pet. They fight free radicals in your dog’s body. When left unchecked, free radicals can cause harm if their levels become too high and may lead to a number of multiple illnesses that afflict dogs as much as they do humans, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) is one that you need to look for. Veterinarians employ it as a supplemental therapy for both prevention and treatment of heart and neurological conditions in dogs. But because it also functions as an antioxidant, it is leveraged for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory conditions and some cancers. Of course, CoQ-10 is just the tip of the iceberg. A balanced antioxidant profile is necessary to mitigate the risk of a variety of health concerns while promoting a high quality of life at the same time. Look for dog treats that contain key antioxidants such as flavonoids, iron, kaempferol, quercetin, selenium, and zinc.
Once again we encourage you to read through the ingredients of any dog treats you buy to ensure they have a solid antioxidant profile.
Protein and Amino Acids
You want your dog to have strong muscles so that together you will enjoy hours of play. Strong muscles also help protect joints, mitigating the onset of pain as they advance in years. But protein and amino acids serve many other functions. In fact, the importance of them for the health of your dog cannot be overstated:
“Dogs cannot survive without protein in their diets. Dietary protein contains 10 specific amino acids that dogs cannot make on their own. Known as essential amino acids, they provide the building blocks for many important biologically active compounds and proteins. In addition, they donate the carbon chains needed to make glucose for energy. High-quality proteins have a good balance of all of the essential amino acids. Studies show that dogs can tell when their food lacks a single amino acid and will avoid such a meal.” (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine)
Dog treats that contain lean beef, skinless chicken breast, and eggs are instrumental in delivering essential proteins and amino acids.
All of the above veterinarian nutritional recommendations can be found within the ingredients of Chew Love Dog Treats (in varying capacities). We do recommend that your dog gets a health check from a trusted vet, as they can identify deficiencies, which will better help you choose the treats from within our store. We have a function that lets you identify threats by ingredient to help you find the products best suited to your best friend.