Treat Yo’self (Doggy Style)

The title of this blog post may lead you to believe we are either about to discuss how amazing Parks & Rec is or something a little more rated PG-13. But don’t worry – we’re keeping it G today. When I first brought Luna home, I had no idea what type of dog food and treats she would like, or which brands were best for her health. It didn’t take me long to figure out that she is quite literally the canine version of a garbage disposal, and I realized that it didn’t matter the flavor of the treats (for the most part). So after doing some research and taste testing (thx Luna), I have a pretty good rotation of dog treats that work for us.

When it comes to my selection criteria for dog food or treats, I focus on 2 things:

  1. Company Reputation. I am a big advocate for voting with your dollars. I will always be willing to pay a few extra bucks to know that I’m supporting a company with a good reputation of putting their consumer’s health first. If the company has poor quality or a bad reputation, I won’t support them even if their advertising leads me to believe they are trustworthy. I want the company I buy my dog’s food from to care about my dog’s health as much as I do. There was a point when I was purchasing a dog food brand that eventually was in the news for lying about their dog food ingredients, even though the ingredient list was pristine! When the news broke I vowed to not fall for that again. I also look at where the dog food is created, and aim for US made dog food/treats. Pet food companies are not legally required to disclose where their dog food ingredients are coming from, so be sure to do your research if this is important to you.
  2. Ingredients. I am already pretty anal about ingredients in my own food let alone Luna’s. I approach it the same way with her food and treats. If I can’t eat my dog’s food, its probably not healthy. I’m not a vet or an expert by any means, but I’ve done enough research based on Luna and how her body responds to various foods. For a while I thought she was allergic to chicken because she was getting a lot of hot spots; then I thought it could be grains or salmon oil. Honestly, who knows. While I’ve never done a formal allergy test on her for financial and practicality reasons, I figured I would eliminate those foods and see how it goes. This is where I started reading the ingredient lists more closely. Things I do not want in my dogs food: meat byproduct, corn syrup, and generic terms like “meat meal”.

Here is a list of different brands that are well-rated and is updated and monitored over time. This list comes from the website Dog Food Advisor which is comprised of a ton of data regarding dog food brands. The website editor is as passionate about this cause as I am and he gives an instructional summary on what you should be questioning if this is something you are interested in buckling down on.

If you want to get a little laugh, this exact subject was covered on SNL. I can relate. I’m pretty sure I’ve had this reaction before, drama included.

 

SOME OF OUR FAVORITES!

Zuke’s Mini Naturals (Peanut Butter). These were actually the first dog treats I bought for Luna. After a few training sessions with our dog trainer, I saw Luna was obsessed with these little guys, and they were small enough to not add up to a ridiculous amount of calories. They aren’t “high reward” treats due to their small size but good enough of a motivator for training practice. I now use these when we are on a walk or working on training at home, as opposed to putting them in a puzzle toy or rewarding her for just being cute. Limited ingredient list checks out, too! No corn, wheat or soy is used and the main ingredients are simply peanut butter and barley.

Plato Farmers Market Grain-Free Dog Treats (Duck & Vegetables). Alright so these treats are quite large, about an 1 in. x 3 in. and are the perfect size to stuff into a puzzle toy. The reason I love these treats is because of the ingredients: Duck, Sweet Potoato, Tomato, Carrot, Cerlery, Beet, Parsely, Lettuce, Watercress, Spinach, Green Pea, Salt, Zinc Propionate, Vitamin E Supplement, Coated Ascorbic Acid (Source of Vitamin C), Bacillus Subtilis (Dried Fermentation Product). That list is pristine IMO. They don’t smell very good, but its basically a salad for my dog, and she loves them. I’m in.

Wellness WellBites (Turkey & Duck). Luna LOVES these things! They come in small, soft squares that are easily torn apart to get your money’s worth. I like to put these in the Pickle Pocket to give Luna a little challenge. The WellBite recipes have no meat by-products, artificial colors or flavoring, preservatives,  and no corn, wheat or soy.

PureBites Freeze-Dried Beef Liver. Sounds gross, dogs go crazy for it. Even better? The ingredient list is literally only one item: beef liver.

Taste of the Wild (Southwest Canyon). This is the dog food we have been buying for the past 6 months and so far so good. Luna enjoys it, its not too pricey, and the ingredients are great. Just to name a few…”Beef, Peas, Garbanzo Beans, Lamb Meal, Canola Oil, Egg Product, Wild Boar, Ocean Fish Meal, Brewers Yeast, Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salt, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Raspberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract…”

Fruitables Skinny MinisThis brand has so many flavor combos, prices are really reasonable and the ingredients are great!

Pig Ears (any respectable brand). These can sometimes add up quickly BUT they are one of Luna’s all time favorites. She gets a pig ear maybe once a month when she’d being an extra good girl (maybe after a vet visit or a bath).

Other random faves for Luna include parmesan cheese, greek yogurt, and rice!

Note: I understand that cost is a big factor for some families, and by no means am I ragging on those who do not support the same brands as me. I merely would like to take the opportunity to share what works best for us since this is something I am passionate about.

What brands do you guys like? We are always interested in trying new things around here! 

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