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Dog Treat Ingredients - The Good and The Bad

Dog Treat Ingredients - The Good and The Bad

Ingredients to Look for in Dog Treats

Choosing a healthy dog treat that meets your standards can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. Here are some of the best dog treat ingredients that are both safe and healthy: 

1. Almond Flour

Just like people, dogs can be intolerant to gluten which makes almond flour a great alternative to grain flours that tend to be highly allergenic. Not only that, but almond flour has more nutritional value compared to basic white flour, with high amounts of Vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, calcium, and iron. 

2. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is another healthy dog treat ingredient with tons of protein, healthy fats, Vitamin B, and Vitamin E. Just make sure that any peanut butter you’re giving your dog doesn’t contain xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener that’s actually toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, low blood sugar, and weakness. 

3. Carob Powder

Carob powder comes from the bean pods of the carob tree, making it completely natural and totally safe for dogs. Carob powder also comes with tons of health benefits and is a good source of Vitamin B2, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Carob powder also contains Vitamin B1, niacin, and Vitamin A. These healthy components contribute to improved digestion and lower cholesterol. 

4. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is considered a superfood for both humans and dogs alike thanks to its nutritional value and health benefits. Pumpkin contains high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, omega fatty acids, and fiber. Just make sure that any pumpkin you give your dog is cooked and unsweetened. 

5. Ginger

Ginger is a natural herb that makes a great dog treat ingredient. While ginger is well-known for its digestive benefits, it has so much more to offer. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with everything from arthritis and even cancer since it’s known to boost the immune system. 

6. Collagen

Collagen isn’t just a great skincare ingredient, it’s also a great dog treat ingredient for many of the same reasons. Collagen is a natural component in a dog’s bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, and fur. So when you supplement collagen in dog treats, it can improve your dog’s skin, promote digestion, relieve joint pain, and boost appetite. 

7. Flaxseed

Flaxseed comes from the seeds of the flax plant and is jam-packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that your dog needs to stay happy and healthy. Flaxseed also contains fiber and lignans which can contribute to improved digestive health and cardiovascular health, respectively. 

Ingredients to Avoid in Dog Treats

Now that you know which ingredients to look for in dog treats, let’s cover some ingredients that you should avoid: 

1. White Flour

Unlike almond flour, white flour is not ideal for dogs. White flour is highly processed to the point where it has little to no nutritional value. Not only that, but the consumption of white flour causes your dog’s blood sugar to spike and then drop. After the quick drop, your dog will become hungry again. When consumed in large amounts, white flour can contribute to weight gain and can eventually cause obesity and diabetes. 


Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are chemical preservatives that are commonly used in dog treats to increase the shelf life of the product. While these chemical preservatives are technically deemed “safe” by the FDA, studies on BHA and BHT have had concerning results. In fact, the results of these studies are so concerning that the state of California has added BHA to a list of chemicals known to cause cancer. 

3. MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor additive that’s used in both dog food and human food. Again, MSG is generally considered “safe” by the FDA but that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. Studies have shown that MSG can have adverse health effects, potentially contributing to health issues like obesity, neuroendocrine disturbances, and organ dysfunction. Another problem with MSG is that it’s hard to identify on nutrition labels, so be on the lookout for terms like hydrolyzed protein, protein isolate, texturized protein, and natural flavors that often include MSG. 

4. Meat Meal

While meat is a necessary component in a dog’s diet, you should be wary of products that feature unnamed “meat” and “meat meal.” These terms are usually an indication of byproducts that are left behind from other food production processes. These byproducts are then cooked down, processed, and dehydrated into a dry powder that’s added to dog food and dog treats. So if you want the best for your dog, meat meal is just not it. 

5. Artificial Colors

Artificial colors are often added to dog food and dog treats to make them visually appealing. However, artificial colors coming from food dyes like Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 have no nutritional value and are completely unnecessary in these products — especially when you consider the fact that your dog can’t even tell the difference! These colors and dyes have been linked to health issues like cancer, allergies, and hyperactivity. As a result, it’s definitely better to take a more natural approach with naturally-derived food colors. 

Bougie Barks: Healthy Dog Treats

If you’re looking for dog treats that have everything your dog needs and nothing they don’t, then you need to check out Bougie Barks. Bougie Barks dog treats only contain a handful of completely natural and healthy ingredients with no preservatives to speak of. With several delicious flavors to choose from, including peanut butter carob, peanut butter pumpkin, and peanut butter ginger, your dog is bound to love them as much as you do! 


​Can Pumpkin Help With Dog Diarrhea? | American Kennel Club

BHT and BHA | Made Safe

MSG In Dog Food Can Cause Brain Damage | Dogs Naturally Magazine


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