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The Value of Organic Treats for Your Dog

 

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As pet parents, we all want to see our furry friends active, happy, and full of life. Ensuring their health and well-being is a top priority, and a significant part of achieving this comes down to the type of food we provide them. It includes their regular meals and, importantly, the treats we give them.

Regrettably, many conventional dog treats available in the market today contain artificial additives, fillers, and harmful chemicals that can negatively impact a dog's health over time. These include synthetic flavors and colors, chemical preservatives, and low-quality by-products that offer little to no nutritional value. Over time, these can lead to issues such as obesity, diabetes, digestive problems, and skin allergies.

High-value dog treats, particularly organic ones, offer a safer, healthier alternative. Organic dog treats are made from ingredients that have been grown or raised without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, or growth hormones. They are free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, ensuring a cleaner, more natural choice for your pet.

What Are Organic Dog Treats?

Organic dog treats are made from ingredients that have been grown or raised following strict guidelines set by organic certification bodies. These standards ensure that the ingredients used are free from synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, or growth hormones[1]. In other words, these treats are made from ingredients that are as close to their natural state as possible.

Moreover, organic dog treats aren't just about what they don't contain (i.e., harmful chemicals and artificial additives), but also about what they do contain. Organic ingredients are often richer in nutrients compared to their non-organic counterparts. For instance, organic fruits and vegetables tend to have higher levels of antioxidants, while organic meats are usually free from antibiotics and growth hormones, providing cleaner protein sources[2].

Benefits of Feeding Organic Dog Treats

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Enhanced Nutritional Value

One of the most significant advantages of organic dog treats is their enhanced nutritional value. Organic treats are usually crafted from high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients that provide a wealth of essential nutrients your dog needs for optimal health.

  • Protein-Rich

Organic dog treats are typically high in protein, which is a crucial component of a healthy canine diet. Dogs require protein for muscle growth and repair, skin and coat health, and immune function[3]. The quality of protein in organic treats is often superior because it comes from organically raised animals that have not been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones.

  • Healthy Fats

Healthy fats are another important component of organic dog treats. These include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which play a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat, supporting brain function, and reducing inflammation[4]. Organic treats often contain these healthy fats derived from high-quality sources like flaxseed and chia seed.

  • Fiber and Digestive Health

Many organic treats also contain a good amount of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and can help maintain a healthy weight in dogs. Fiber helps keep your dog full, preventing overeating and weight gain. It also promotes regular bowel movements and overall digestive health[5]. The gut health issue is a common pet insurance claim for dogs.[22] For example, the cost of treating gastroenteritis may be between $200 and $3000.[23]

  • Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants

Beyond proteins, fats, and fiber, organic dog treats often contain fruits and vegetables that provide necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These micronutrients support various bodily functions, including metabolism, bone health, vision, and immune function[6].

  • Natural Ingredients

Organic dog treats are made without the use of artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, which can sometimes cause digestive issues in dogs. These additives can irritate the lining of the gut, leading to symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea. By opting for organic treats, you're choosing products made from wholesome, natural ingredients, reducing the likelihood of digestive upset[7].

  • Hypoallergenic Options
For dogs with food allergies or sensitivities, organic treats can often provide hypoallergenic options. These treats are typically free from common allergens like wheat, soy, and dairy, reducing the risk of allergic reactions and associated digestive problems[11].

Lower Vets Bills

Feeding your dog a diet free from artificial additives and harmful chemicals is one of the most effective ways to promote their overall health and longevity. Organic dog treats can play a significant role in this, as they are made from natural, high-quality ingredients that contribute to a healthier lifestyle for your pet[24].

  • Avoiding Artificial Additives

Artificial additives such as colors, flavors, and preservatives are commonly found in conventional pet food and treats. These substances can lead to several health issues. For instance, some studies have linked certain food dyes to hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in dogs[12]. Artificial preservatives, on the other hand, have been associated with an increased risk of diseases, including certain types of cancer[13].

  • Reducing Chemical Exposure

Organic dog treats are made from ingredients that have been grown or raised without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, or growth hormones. This means that your dog's treats contain fewer residues from these chemicals, reducing their overall exposure[14]. Some research suggests that prolonged exposure to certain pesticides and hormones can lead to various health issues in pets, including endocrine disorders and even cancer[15].

  • Preventing Obesity and Diabetes

High-quality organic treats tend to be more nutrient-dense and less calorie-dense than their non-organic counterparts. They also often contain higher levels of dietary fiber, which can help control your dog's weight by making them feel full faster and longer[16]. This can help prevent obesity, a condition that can lead to other serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease[17].

Environmentally Friendly 

Choosing organic dog treats not only benefits your pet's health but also contributes to a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future. Organic farming practices used in the production of these treats are generally more beneficial for our planet compared to conventional methods. Here's why:

  • Promoting Biodiversity

One of the key principles of organic farming is the promotion of biodiversity[18]. This means that organic farms tend to grow a variety of crops and raise different types of livestock, which helps maintain a balance in the ecosystem. These diverse habitats can support a wider range of wildlife, from beneficial insects to birds and mammals, promoting a healthier and more balanced environment.

  • Reducing Pollution

Organic farming practices reduce pollution by avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals commonly used in conventional farming[19]. These substances can contaminate the soil, water, and air, leading to serious environmental issues. By choosing organic dog treats, you're supporting farming practices that prioritize the health of the planet.

  • Conserving Energy

Organic farms also tend to use less energy than conventional farms. This is because they rely more on natural processes and less on synthetic inputs[20]. For instance, organic farmers often use compost and animal manure to enrich their soil, rather than energy-intensive synthetic fertilizers. This reduction in energy use contributes to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Supporting Sustainable Agriculture Practices

By choosing organic dog treats, you're supporting farming practices that prioritize long-term sustainability over short-term gains. Organic farming focuses on preserving the health and fertility of the soil, promoting animal welfare, and reducing reliance on non-renewable resources[21].

Prioritizing Your Dog's Health 

Feeding your dog organic treats is an excellent way to prioritize their health and well-being. While they may be a bit more expensive than conventional treats, the plethora of health benefits they offer makes them well worth the investment. Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog, and isn't that what every pet owner ultimately wants?

When it comes to the health of our beloved pets, every choice matters. Choosing organic dog treats is one simple yet impactful way to ensure your dog gets the nutrition they need without the harmful extras they don't. Your dog will thank you, not just with wagging tails and eager anticipation at treat time, but with improved health and vitality. And at the end of the day, isn't that the best reward of all?

References

[1] Allen, K., & Shiu, E. (2012). Feeding Fido: Changing consumer food preferences bring pets to the table. Journal of Advertising Research, 52(1), 102-115. doi:10.2501/JAR-52-1-102-115. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10454446.2012.715575

[2] Barański, M., Średnicka-Tober, D., Volakakis, N., Seal, C., Sanderson, R., Stewart, G.B., Benbrook, C., Biavati, B., Markellou, E., Giotis, C., Gromadzka-Ostrowska, J., Rembiałkowska, E., Skwarło-Sońta, K., Tahvonen, R., Janovská, D., Niggli, U., Nicot, P., & Leifert, C. (2014). Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Nutrition, 112(5), 794-811. doi:10.1017/S0007114514001366. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/higher-antioxidant-and-lower-cadmium-concentrations-and-lower-incidence-of-pesticide-residues-in-organically-grown-crops-a-systematic-literature-review-and-metaanalyses/33F09637EAE6C4ED119E0C4BFFE2D5B1

[3] Bosch, G., Zhang, S., Oonincx, D. G., & Hendriks, W. H. (2014). Protein quality of insects as potential ingredients for dog and cat foods. Journal of Nutritional Science, 3, e29. doi:10.1017/jns.2014.23. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26101598/

[4] Bauer, J. E. (2011). Therapeutic use of fish oils in companion animals. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 239(11), 1441-1451. doi:10.2460/javma.239.11.1441. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from https://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.239.11.1441

[5] Bosch, G., Beerda, B., Hendriks, W. H., van der Poel, A. F., & Verstegen, M. W. (2009). Impact of nutrition on canine behaviour: current status and possible mechanisms. Nutrition Research Reviews, 22(2), 180-194. doi:10.1017/S0954422409990146. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19079869/

[6] Heinze, C. R., Freeman, L. M., Martin, C. R., Power, M. L., & Fascetti, A. J. (2012). Concentration of select nutrient biomarkers in healthy dogs fed a commercial raw meat-based diet. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 240(5), 532-539. doi:10.2460/javma.240.5.532. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from https://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.240.5.532

[7] Carciofi, A. C., & de-Oliveira, L. D. (2008). The Natural Way For Dogs And Cats: Natural Treatments, Remedies And Diet For Your Pet. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=BhMh-1AeScIC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=organic+dog+treats+digestive+issues&ots=SgeOAbuquj&sig=-UerizXy3aFwiPw_l5fl75C7XAo

[8] Lauten, S. D. (2006). Nutritional risks to large-breed dogs: from weaning to the geriatric years. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice, 36(6), 1345-1359. from https://www.vetsmall.theclinics.com/article/S0195-5616(06)00105-7/fulltext

[9] de Godoy, M.R.C., Kerr, K.R., & Fahey, G.C. (2013). Alternative dietary fiber sources in companion animal nutrition. Nutrients, 5(8), 3099–3117. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5083099

[10] Sandri, M., Dal Monego, S., Conte, G., Sgorlon, S., & Stefanon, B. (2017). Raw meat based diet influences faecal microbiome and end products of fermentation in healthy dogs. BMC Veterinary Research, 13(1), 65. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-017-0981-z

[11] Mueller, R. S., Olivry, T., & Prélaud, P. (2016). Critically appraised topic on adverse food reactions of companion animals (1): duration of elimination diets. BMC Veterinary Research, 12(1), 210. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-016-0849-7

[12] Stevens, L. J., Kuczek, T., Burgess, J. R., Hurt, E., & Arnold, L. E. (2011). Dietary sensitivities and ADHD symptoms: thirty-five years of research. Clinical Pediatrics, 50(4), 279-293. https://doi.org/10.1177/0009922810384728

[13] Fiolet, T., Srour, B., Sellem, L., Kesse-Guyot, E., Allès, B., Méjean, C., ... & Hercberg, S. (2018). Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort. BMJ, 360, k322. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k322

[14] Bauer, J. E. (2011). Therapeutic use of fish oils in companion animals. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 239(11), 1441-1451. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.239.11.1441

[15] Takashima-Uebelhoer, B. B., Barber, L. G., Zagarins, S. E., Procter-Gray, E., Gollenberg, A. L., Moore, A. S., & Bertone-Johnson, E. R. (2012). Household chemical exposures and the risk of canine malignant lymphoma, a model for human non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Environmental Research, 112, 171-176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2011.12.003

[16] Freeman, L. M., Chandler, M. L., Hamper, B. A., & Weeth, L. P. (2013). Current knowledge about the risks and benefits of raw meat–based diets for dogs and cats. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 243(11), 1549-1558. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.243.11.1549

[17] Schlesinger, D. P., & Joffe, D. J. (2011). Raw food diets in companion animals: A critical review. The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 52(1), 50–54. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3003575/

[18] Hole, D. G., Perkins, A. J., Wilson, J. D., Alexander, I. H., Grice, P. V., & Evans, A. D. (2005). Does organic farming benefit biodiversity? Biological Conservation, 122(1), 113-130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2004.07.018

[19] Reganold, J. P., & Wachter, J. M. (2016). Organic agriculture in the twenty-first century. Nature Plants, 2(2), 15221. https://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2015.221

[20] Pimentel, D., Hepperly, P., Hanson, J., Douds, D., & Seidel, R. (2005). Environmental, energetic, and economic comparisons of organic and conventional farming systems. BioScience, 55(7), 573-582. https://doi.org/10.1641/0006-3568(2005)055[0573:EEAECO]2.0.CO;2

[21] Battaglia, R., & Prandini, A. (2020). Organic Pet-Food: Features and Trends. Animals, 10(3), 392. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030392

[22] Williams, E. (2020). The Most Common Pet Insurance Claims. Retrieved from https://www.usinsuranceagents.com/pet-insurance-claims/

[23]  Andrea F. (2023). How Much is an Emergency Vet Visit? https://money.com/how-much-is-an-emergency-vet-visit/ 

[24] Andy B.. (2023). How much does a vet visit cost? https://betterpet.com/costs-of-veterinary-care/