Look For The Good Stuff:

1. Real ingredients

This little rule of thumb is as simple as your dog’s treats should be. If the ingredient is something you can pronounce and define, you’re on the right track. Things like produce, types of whole grains (as long as your dog has no allergies), natural peanut butter, and meat are good things to see on your pet’s treat bag.

2. Whole ingredients

However, seeing the words “wheat” and “duck” on the panel doesn’t necessarily mean you’re free and clear. For instance, “wheat” is better than “wheat flour,” which is better than “wheat germ,” according to The Whole Dog Journal. The latter two examples signify different degrees of processing, which brings food farther from its natural state and increases chances for the food to become contaminated. Likewise, when looking at protein sources, steer clear from meat meals and by-products.

3. Organic ingredients

Why would you reward your pooch with something that’s laced with chemicals and antibiotics? Stick with something that’s as good for her body as it is for her tastebuds!

4. Products made in the USA / Canada

You’ve probably heard about foreign jerky treats and rawhides causing deaths in dogs. Make sure your pup gets the good stuff, sourced and manufactured domestically, or even better, locally!

Avoid The Bad Stuff

1. Artificial ingredients

Chemicals are sometimes added to our pet’s goodies as preservatives. Some specific ingredients to stay away from include BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, potassium sorbate, sodium nitrate, and calcium propionate, according to The Whole Dog Journal. Also, look out for artificial colors. Who cares if your dog’s beef treats are the perfect shade of red?

2. Chemical humectants

Be aware of these additives, too. “These are used in some pet (and human!) foods to keep them moist and chewy, and to prevent discoloration in preserved meats,” explains The Whole Dog Journal. These ingredients include propylene glycol and glycerin.

3. Salt and sugar

Humans love things that are salty or sweet. But for our canine companions, even small amounts of these flavorings can be detrimental to their health. There is really no need for dog treats to contain either of these ingredients. But if there’s a treat your pup goes crazy for that’s slightly sweetened, make sure it’s from a natural food source, like honey or molasses, suggests The Whole Dog Journal. After all, treats should only be given sparingly, anyway!

4. Treats that are high in calories and fat

It can be tough enough for us humans to stay fit—think about how challenging it can be for our dogs! They are smaller that us (usually), so calories and fat make even more of a difference in their bodies. Not to mention, they don’t have a choice as to what they eat and they get what we give them. Make sure your canine stays at a healthy weight, because no pooch chooses to be heavy.