Discover why natural dog treats and chews are a wonderful choice for your terrier

Natural dog treats and chews are ever-growing in popularity. More and more people are waving goodbye to rawhide and treats full of chemicals and additives, instead choosing healthier options for the treat jar. 

As we enter the New Year and start thinking about making healthier choices for ourselves and perhaps shifting those holiday pounds, I thought it was a great time to explore why natural treats are a wonderful choice for your pooch. 

What are natural dog treats and chews?

Natural dog treats are exactly what they say on the tin, treats and chews made from entirely natural ingredients. That means no additives, fillers, or unrecognisable ingredients.

That said, the pet food industry has cottoned on to the fact that more pet owners want to choose natural and healthy treats. There are a plethora of treats and dog foods that market themselves as natural when, in reality, they are anything but!

How to be certain you are buying natural dog treats

Whenever you are buying dog food or treats, take a look at the label. You are looking for minimal ingredients that are all identifiable by a layperson! If the treats contain meat, you want to choose one that clearly states which meat is included and not a ‘derivative of’ or a ‘meat meal.’

For example, we stock ByBenji Biltong training treats and chews, so let’s look at the ingredients in ByBenji Training treats

Ingredients: Silverside of beef and a marinade of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary infused in Malt Vinegar.

Let’s compare that to these ‘natural’ treats from a popular dog food manufacturer, marketed as healthy, hypoallergenic, and naturally tasty.

Ingredients: Brown Rice 47%; Chicken Meal 38%; Maize; Chicken Fat; Chicken Livers; Seaweed

Maize is a filler ingredient that is said to be hard for dogs to digest. Chicken meal could be any parts of a chicken, ground down and cooked at high temperatures before being made into a powder form. 

Not all meat meal is necessarily bad, but it allows for hidden additives and less transparency around what exactly you are feeding your dog. You can read more about meat meals at All About Dog Food, a fantastic independent resource for anyone who wants to understand better what’s in their dog’s dish.

This simple comparison shows that by examining the label of dog treats, you are empowered to make an active and educated choice about what you put into your dog.

Gut health affects the behaviour, mood, and immune system of your dog. So being able to make informed choices about what your dog eats can have an incredible impact on their wellbeing.

Which dog treats to avoid and why

Dog chews are loved by humans and dogs alike, perhaps for very different reasons! But I think it’s safe to say that it’s valuable to have them available in a variety of situations.

Chewing is an excellent way for your dog to de-stress and wind down, it’s good for their dental health, and it keeps your terrier out of mischief for a while!  

When it comes to our dog’s dental health, we’re not all great at getting around to brushing their teeth. Dental chews are often seen as an easy way to look after your dog’s teeth between hygiene cleans at the vets or at-home brushing. But do you know what’s in the dental chews you give your dog?

They are not all created equal; let’s compare Soopa Dental Sticks with Pedigree Dentastix.

Soopa Kale and Apple dental stick ingredients: Whole potato flour, potato starch, veg glycerine, calcium carbonate, organic dried kelp powder, kale powder, apple powder, coconut.

natural dental chews for dogs

Pedigree Dentastix ingredients: Cereals, Derivatives of Vegetable Origin, Meat and Animal Derivatives, Minerals (Including 2.4% Sodium Tripolyphosphate), Vegetable Protein Extracts, Oils and Fats, Preservatives.

All About Dog Food scores Soopa dental sticks with a nutritional rating of 70% and Pedigree Dentastix with a nutritional rating of 10%. I think that’s a pretty clear evaluation of which dental chew to choose for your dog! 

If you’d like to read more about brushing your dog’s teeth and dental hygiene then take a look at my blog with Anna, a wonderful dog groomer from The Dog House, Leicester.

Ditch the rawhide

Rawhide used to be an incredibly popular chew to give to dogs; it lasts an age, is odour free, and is believed by many to be good for dogs’ teeth and gums.

In fact, it is an incredibly unnatural and dangerous treat to give to your dog. Let’s explore how it’s made.

  1. It starts off as cattle hide which is chemically treated to slow down the decay in transit. 
  2. The hide is then treated with highly toxic chemicals to remove the hair and fat which is attached to it. 
  3. It’s then treated with yet more chemicals to puff the hide.  
  4. Next it’s treated with bleach or peroxide to whiten it and remove the smell
  5. At this stage some rawhide has artificial colourings added to make them look appealing to humans
Photo: Rodney Habib

Not only are rawhides absolutely ladened with chemicals, but they are also a huge choking risk. While they start off tough and hard, once your dog’s jaw goes to work on it, it becomes soft and soggy. As it gets smaller, it becomes a soggy yet solid mass, which could block your dog’s esophagus or get stuck further down in their digestive tract.

Natural alternatives to rawhide

If we look at why people may choose to give rawhide to their dogs, then we can find natural solutions that meet those needs without the dire effects.

So, we are looking for a long-lasting dog chew that your dog enjoys, which is simultaneously good for their teeth and gums. In an ideal world, you may also be looking for a low-odour dog chew so that the process is happy for everyone in the room!

At Scruffy Little Terrier we stock some fantastic natural alternatives to rawhide. Beef honeycomb chews from The Collar Club get a big paw of approval from Barney and Sandy. They’re made from 100% beef tripe. No nasty chemicals and no hidden ingredients, they are a long-lasting healthy dog chew that will keep your terrier happy.

Beef Pizzles are another brilliant long-lasting chew which are 100% natural. While you may not want to think about where they come from, we are happy to be utterly transparent and tell you that they are, in fact, wonky willies! But don’t let that put you off. The dogs absolutely adore them, and they last ages. They do have a bit of a smell, so light a candle and enjoy the peace and quiet.

The health benefits of natural dog treats

Natural dog treats are an excellent choice for all dogs, but if your dog has a health complaint, then they can be particularly beneficial. Dog’s suffering from obesity, epilepsy, arthritis, allergies, pancreatitis, diabetes, and skin conditions can all benefit from adaptations to their diet.

Data gathered by the Pet Food Manufacturer Association found that ‘100% of vets were concerned about the prevalence of obesity in our pets. They discovered that 51% of dogs are overweight or obese’

Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association Report 2019

Natural dog treats and chews are often low fat. Since they exclude fillers like cereals and focus on 100% natural whole foods, they are a good choice for dogs who need a bit of weight control! 

For dogs who suffer from allergies, natural treats with a concise and clear list of ingredients make it easy to avoid dietary triggers. 

There are so many options that you should be able to find appropriate treats that won’t upset your dog’s tummy even if they suffer a host of allergies or intolerances. All of the treats and chews that we stock are grain-free, which can be a common intolerance among dogs.

Soon to join the Scruffy Little Terrier family of natural dog treats is Goodchaps, who make scrummy fish treats for dogs. Packed with Omega 3, these are a brilliant treat for dogs who suffer from arthritis or joint issues.

We also stock vegan dog treats and chews by Soopa. These treats are made with fruits and vegetables, and they are all low in protein and low in fat.  They are a fantastic choice for dogs suffering from diabetes, kidney or liver issues, or digestive problems. Check out this health chart to see which treats may suit your dog.

Low calorie dog treats help manage your dog’s weight

Is your dog overweight or heading in that direction? Natural dog treats are generally lower in calories, which can help your dog maintain a healthy weight. Since they’re not full of filler ingredients, most natural dog treats have the added benefit of being low calorie. 

It’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s weight and ensure that you are sticking to their daily recommended food allowance. If you look at your dog’s food packet, then there should be a recommended portion size based on your pup’s ideal weight. This is a daily allowance usually and not a meal allowance, so be sure to divide it by two so your dog doesn’t go the other way and pile on the pounds! 

Your dog’s treats and chews count towards their daily portions, so be sure to reduce their meals a little to compensate for your dog’s snacks. 

If you’re unsure what your dog’s perfect weight should be, then pop into your vets for a weight check and ask what their ideal target weight is. You may be surprised!

For more information on assessing your dog’s weight and how to manage it successfully, please take a look at this blog dedicated to the weight management of our dogs

The pawfect choice for our terriers

Our dogs benefit from having healthy treats and chews as part of their diet. Whether you’re training and trying to perfect your terrier’s recall or trying to help them wind down with a chew after a zoom fest, treats are a delicious and useful tool.

We all love the frantically waggy tail and expectant eyes that result from the rustle of a treat packet. When you choose natural dog treats, you can fully enjoy that gift of yum to your dog, secure in the knowledge that you are taking care of their health, their tums, and their every desire.

Never leave your dog alone with a chew and always have fresh water available, all that chewing is thirsty work! 

At Scruffy Little Terrier, we only stock natural, healthy dog treats, which have been approved by our chief taste testers, Sandy and Barney. Stock up on yummy, terrier-approved healthy dog treats here and make your pup’s tail wag. 

Let us know what your favourite treats are, do you love long lasted chews or handy training treats?

woofs & licks signature from Michelle Barney & Sandy

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