Dog Treats. Natural, organic or no GMO – what is most important to you?
The difficulty that many conscientious well healed dog owners face is what to believe regarding dog nutrition. If you buy commercial dog food you are feeding your dog 70% grain or vegetables already (rather than the preferred meat option) … so why do such things as natural, organic or non GMO really matter?
Its because these terms are important to many human diets, and marketers have learned that if you put these terms on your dog food advertising campaign, make them an integral part of your branding, then they will sell more grain to the punters.
We look at a 2016 survey that Neilson made in America of dog owners. This snapshot is the main image in this article and is titled “Popularity of Natural Vs Scientific Claims.”
Ironically both of these terms are misnomers in the real dog nutrition realm.
The best dog treat trend to note over this research is that “Nature has overtaken science as a reason to believe. While consumers once trusted science to deliver the magic mix of vital nutrients for their pets, they’re putting more faith in nature these days. Just as with their own food choices, consumers increasingly prefer pet foods made in a kitchen over those made in a lab.” REF 1
REAL NATURAL means meat, offal, and bones. The dog food industry means natural as in raw or low additives. For instance, wholegrain grains are considered natural, even though they have never naturally been eaten in the wild, and unless pulverised and cooked in oil, dogs would not naturally eat.
REAL SCIENCE – would be what a dog is most suited (evolved) to eating, that would be meat. In the dog food world, much ‘science’ is misappropriated to confuse the owner into believing that grains have a great scientific reason for being added to dog food, rather than a commercial reason.
The second bar on the image above is “organic ingredients”. Again this has little consequence if we are talking about organic or non organic grain or vegetables. Always pick meat organic or not organic over any other food source. Because most people can’t afford organic meat for themselves, its unlikely you are going to buy true organic meats for your dog. At least in the traditional farmed animals area.
“Natural Digestive enzymes” – their research suggests that 63% of owners of dogs were interested in dog food that contains these things. Of course, people can buy ‘digestive enzymes’ to add to dog food too, but if you use meat in a dogs diet, or meat based dog treats, you don’t need to add digestive enzymes as a dog’s digestive system easily breaks meat down. If you have long term issues in eating 100% meat products it may have a genuine medical issue that needs vet intervention and medication.
What is a healthy dog treats or healthy dog food?
“Pet parents are focused on making healthy – not indulgent – choices. In spite of the booming U.S. pet treat market, most consumers feel that pleasing pets should take a backseat to pick healthy fare. In fact, 85% believe they can extend the lives of their pets based on the foods they feed them..” REF 1
The point of this statement is the line ” most consumers feel that pleasing pets should take a backseat to pick healthy fare”. 100% meat dried as a dog treat, of almost any variety, pleases the vast majority of dogs. If you use meat based dog treats there is no difference between pleasing and satisfying a dog and picking healthy fare. It is bizarre that this quote is set up like you have to choose one or the other!
I have written plenty of articles on bio availability, the nature of essential amino acids in a dogs diet. Affco tables and their purpose of creating high targets of nutrients without defining sources. And how much dog food is wasted when grain or vegetables are included in that source. The more “science” is included and claimed on dog food, it is usually to disguise the fact of how little meat is included.
I welcome the day when advances in human science and medicine create additives that truly extend a humans life, and they can be filtered down to the dog world. But until genuine science with very high repeatable results occurs, the best thing we can all do for our dogs is to feed them more meat. NATURAL (meat) still outranks pseudoscience any day.
REF 1 /www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2016/when-it-comes-to-pet-food-americans-look-for-best-in-class.html