What’s Really In A Dog Treat? How Do I Know What Is Safe?

These days, it can be pretty hard to know what to look for when it comes to buying dog consumables. What should and shouldn’t be in them? How do I know they are safe? It can be downright frustrating and sometimes even scary. After all, buying the wrong product can literally kill your pet. That’s what happened to Veronica Glynn. Her cat “Kitty” passed away of liver failure due to melamine in her food. That’s when Glynn decided to do something to help prevent this from happening to other people’s pets.

So, after years of research, she founded One Dog Organic Bakery, a dog treat company focused on providing handcrafted USA-made treats from organic, USA sourced ingredients. We asked her a few questions on what you should be looking for when it comes to treat shopping.

Image source: OneDogOrganic.com
Image source: OneDogOrganic.com

What should dog owners look for in their treats?

VG:  Obviously you want to first make sure they are recognizable ingredients and if possible, human grade. Organic and GMO-free ingredients are also important because they have been minimally processed and do not contain harmful chemicals and toxins that not only affect our pet’s lives today, but years down the road.

Look for ‘free range’, ‘fairtrade’, ‘organic’, ‘locally sourced’ and ‘GMO-free’ on the ingredients panel.

Any ingredients they should stay away from?

VG:  Put it back if they ever contain BHA, BHT or ethoxyquin – all 3 are dangerous toxins but are still used in our pet’s food as preservatives.  A natural preservative is vitamin E, commonly referred to as mixed tocopherol or ascorbate. If there is ever anything on the ingredients panel you do not recognize or cannot pronounce, put it back. 

A label from a very popular, well-known “grocery store” brand of dog treats.

Commercial dog foods contain ingredients our pets would be much better without but the average consumer doesn’t recognize these dangers. Just like humans, the effect of these prolonged exposures add up over time and eventually manifest as health conditions like allergies or cancer. Then we subject them to even more chemicals to help them get healthy from their health conditions. 

You mentioned above about toxins in pet foods, is there any way to counteract that exposure?

VG: Our pets are subjected to a wide range of environmental toxins and heavy metals on a daily basis. Taking your dog for a walk subjects him to the chemicals your neighbors have sprayed on their lawns, then he licks his paws when he gets home, ingesting these harmful chemicals. And, as I mentioned above, commercial foods also contain them.

After years of research, veterinarians and researchers have found that supplements such as spirulina and chlorella can help remove these heavy metals and toxins from the body and begin to repair the damage. It also provides protection for future exposure while also working to reduce allergy symptoms, give an immunity boost and a natural source of energy.

Image source: OneDogOrganic.com
One Dog Organics Grain-Free Ginger Snaps with Spirulina. Image source: OneDogOrganic.com

We will be launching our new line of pet treats – One Dog Organic Bakery AllerG•Free – on Monday, January 11, 2016. A 3-in-1 formula that protects, defends and repairs with the power of organic bee pollen, organic chlorella and organic spirulina. An investment in your pet’s future, our treats work to help your pet look and feel their absolute best, both now and in the years to come.

How do some companies try to “trick” consumers with their labeling?

VG:  It is vital that the ingredients are not only made in America but also sourced. A lot of companies are using that loophole these days – they are making the product with ingredients sourced outside of the US, but because they are within the borders, they can use the “Made in the USA” designation. 

What about by-products?

VG: Depending on what your pet enjoys, you can opt for a animal protein product, but if you do, make sure it actually contains real, free range, animal protein and not animal by-products. Flour should also be used as such and not a by-product such as ‘wheat bran’ or ‘wheat germ’.

A well-known "grocery store" brand of dog treats.
A well-known “grocery store” brand of dog treats.

Are there specific ingredients they should look for for health benefits?

VG: It honestly depends on what the owner is wanting to “treat” with the treat. If the pup has a dry skin and coat, then they will want to look for a treat with flax, chia or coconut oil. If sore joints and inflammation are an issue, then glucosamine and even chia seed can help to alleviate joint pain.


One thing for pet owners to remember, while it is typically okay to feed your pet supplements such as chia seed and such, it is always smart to double check with their vet. Especially if the dog has a pre-existing health condition or is on medication. Sometimes supplements can interfere with medications or even cause adverse reactions. 

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