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US dog treat trends 2022, and what’s heading to Australia … now!

Stanley awaits a treat

The truth is that we could have analysed any of the dog treat or dog food trend articles over the last five years or so, and we would have read similar information. The trend is for ALL natural products that actually benefit your dog. Which is great news.

But it becomes somewhat murky what some companies are calling ‘natural’.

As dog owners are becoming more educated on the best options for their dogs, they are increasingly looking for treats of substance, not just a cool brand. We look at the leading trends, and what they can mean for you and your dog.

HOW often do pet owners get treats?

  • In the US, one-third of owners’ purchase three to five packages of treats per year
  • 20% of owners buy one to two, while 25%  purchase six to 10 packages per year.

Functional dog treats to help treat or prevent a health condition.

The increase in demand for functional treats are for the benefits of “support (for) the immune system, gut health, and even skin and coat support are growing in popularity.” Ref 1

With up to 80% of immune cells being located in the dog gut. A nourishing diet is vital to improving a dogs’ wellbeing.

Some websites will suggest feeding a whole array of vegetables to your dog for this purpose. Ironically the only vegetables that my dog seeks out is eating grass when they are feeling sick.  Some Veggies provide fibre and vitamins and minerals, but commercial dog food is over stocked with these minerals and vitamins already – when adhering to aafco guidelines. What dogs really need is animal-based protein, and a LOT of it.

The best way a domestic dog can be healthy is to eat meat-based products. That is because the protein in meat is the most bio-available for their carnivore system. This means their bodies break down and use that kind of protein most efficiently.

When eating meat, dogs don’t have to send more acid to their stomach to break down the protein (because they are geared towards digesting animal protein (bio available). And when they have stripped the protein back to the amino’s quickly, they can best combine them into useful chemicals to do maintenance and cell growth, muscle growth, brain growth in the dog’s body. Things that carbs (sugars) are not able to do.

Most dog foods and dog blogs talk about adding oils to their food to boost the shininess of a dog’s coat. Oil will do this superficial act, but with fat being 2.5 times the KJ amount of protein or carbs, you want to use the right oil, and sparingly.

You want to use the oil that actually provides a functional benefit to your dog. The only two oils mentioned by aafco are Omega 6 and Omega 3.

We have written an in-depth articles about what the best oil is for your dog (to gain highest levels of Omega 3),  but spoiler, our roo and fish treats are rich in a natural source of omega 3 for this very great benefit to them.

The trend of “premium products” and “no filler”

our dog park friends at play“[Consumers] are looking for more premium products, with more premium claims – chews with functional ingredients that serve a purpose in the pets’ nutrition, and no “filler” ingredients,” Ref 1

Which is one of the main reasons I created our company in 2011.

Functional ingredients are those that serve a specific health purpose for your dog. People are realising that premium means functional dog treats, AND now should mean SINGLE meat ingredient for them. That is the nexus of the highest functional value that has “no filler”.  There is no reason why premium, functional and no filler (single ingredient) shouldn’t be incorporated into the ONE treat. Get SPECIFICALLY what you pay for!

“These treats can act as a supplement for a dog’s diet and provide nutritional support that may be missing in a dog’s overall diet. “ Ref 1

If a dog food, and expensive dog food, with high advertising spend is classed as “whole and complete” or balanced, what could possibly be missing you might ask.

“whole and complete” or balanced simply refers to a dog food meeting the corporate by proxy designed American dog food standard, nothing else. As long as Australian dog food meets their minimum standards in a table, it gets that tick.

And at 18% minimum protein aafco standard, (from ANY source) – dog food is exceptionally lax with its interpretation of what carnivore dog should be getting for useful protein

It turns out that 30% of the most questionable ‘animal’ source can boost almost any grain or vegetable to get over the line for the woefully inadequate 18% protein value. Much of most dog food is NOT bio available grain or vegetables.

Simply put, what is “missing in a dog’s overall diet” even the MOST expensive dog food labels, is usually MEAT protein, let alone single ingredient (like a straight cut of jerky), where the dog also gets primal joy from ripping this NATURAL treat apart.

FUNCTIONAL DOG TREATS SUMMARY

“They are seeking a daily dental chew … to help fight dangerous tartar and plaque or stinky breath, or they are looking for a great low-fat training treat …, or they seek treats that not only taste great but can also offer supplemental health benefits too like (hip & joint, skin & coat, etc.)” ref1

There are many other FUNCTIONAL objectives that specific treats, can assist with, but in summary, I will point you to those mentioned above as some of the main trends, that we can assist you with:

daily dental chew

https://www.healthydogtreats.com.au/product-category/dental-stix/

These are single ingredient treats that will provide exceptional nutrition, and during the shredding of the meat, will provide a great clean to their teeth.

low-fat training treat

While you can have low fat training treats, buyer beware.

Low fat treats are usually used for dogs with a major obesity issue, or a pancreatitis issue. We and most vets consider low fat under 4% – since most dog food is around 10%.

If you have an exceptionally low fat ‘treat’ it can either be very low in meat, high in filler ingredients, or meat that has been massively rendered, leaving the protein of highly reduced value to your dog.

LOW FAT:  https://www.healthydogtreats.com.au/product-category/low-fat-dog-treats/

TRAINING TREAT:  https://www.healthydogtreats.com.au/product-category/training-treats/

Training treats tend not to be exceptionally low fat (just the regular healthy value), because their main function is to smell exceptionally great, taste great and be in a small format so they are eaten  quickly and not add too many KJ during the training period.

Of course our training treats are meat based – there is no reason adding a higher percentage of carbs than dog food already does.

CONCLUSIONS

The US and Australian treats trends to be in the same direction. Single ingredient quality meat treats.

But be aware one of the highest selling treats a brand name ‘dental stick’ usually has little or no meat or nutritional value in them. Empty kilojoules. Why not use an actual natural, healthy, single ingredient dental stick dogs have eaten for thousands of years?

Likewise vegan treats are the OPPOSITE of natural and healthy for a carnivore dog.  Adding a lot of extra grain or vegetables is never the beset option for your dog.

PREMIUM should always mean single ingredient, high quality animal-based treats – anything else is sub-par and about profit NOT your dog.

 

REFERENCE

Ref 1  Keeping Up with the Latest Dog Treat Trends

By Jen Goetz  ( petbusiness website)

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