Natural vs. Commercial Dog Treats: What's the Difference?

Natural vs. Commercial Dog Treats: What's the Difference?

When it comes to pampering our furry friends with treats, the options are plentiful. However, the choice between natural and commercial dog treats isn't just about flavor or price; it's about the overall health and well-being of your pet. In this blog, we will explore the key differences between natural and commercial dog treats, focusing on ingredients, health benefits, and potential drawbacks.

1. Understanding Ingredients

Natural Dog Treats

Natural dog treats are made from whole food ingredients that are minimally processed. These treats are typically free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. The ingredient list on natural dog treats is straightforward, often including real meats, vegetables, and healthy fats, similar to those found in human-grade foods.

Common Ingredients:

  • Real meats (chicken, beef, lamb)
  • Vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes)
  • Healthy fats (coconut oil, flaxseeds)

Commercial Dog Treats

Commercial dog treats are widely available and often less expensive, but this cost saving can come with the inclusion of less desirable ingredients. These treats can contain a variety of artificial additives and fillers that do not provide nutritional value and may even be harmful over time.

Common Ingredients:

  • Meat by-products
  • Grain fillers (corn, wheat gluten)
  • Artificial colors and flavors (Red 40, Blue 2)

2. Nutritional Value

Natural Dog Treats

The primary advantage of natural dog treats is their high nutritional value. These treats support health with vitamins, minerals, and essential fats naturally found in their ingredients. They are often crafted to support specific aspects of a dog's health, such as dental hygiene, joint health, or coat quality.

Commercial Dog Treats

On the other hand, commercial dog treats might not offer the same nutritional benefits. Due to high levels of fillers and low-quality ingredients, these treats can contribute to calorie intake without providing substantial health benefits. They may also lead to weight gain and related health issues.

3. Impact on Health

Benefits of Natural Treats

  • Allergy Management: Fewer artificial ingredients mean fewer triggers for dogs with allergies.
  • Digestive Health: Natural ingredients are easier on the stomach and help maintain a healthy gut.
  • Overall Wellbeing: Quality ingredients contribute to better health and more energy.

Risks of Commercial Treats

  • Obesity: High in empty calories and low in nutrients.
  • Dental Problems: Sugars and hard-to-digest ingredients can lead to poor dental health.
  • Behavioral Issues: Some additives may affect a dog’s behavior or mood.

4. The Worst Commercial Ingredients

When purchasing commercial dog treats, it's important to avoid certain harmful ingredients:

  • BHA and BHT: Chemical preservatives linked to cancer risk.
  • Propylene Glycol: Used to maintain moisture, it's also found in antifreeze.
  • Ethoxyquin: A preservative often used in pet foods to prevent spoilage, linked to various health problems.

5. Making the Right Choice

Choosing between natural and commercial dog treats depends largely on your priorities such as budget, availability, and your dog's health needs. While natural treats are generally healthier, they may also be more expensive and less accessible than commercial options.


In conclusion, the choice between natural and commercial dog treats is significant for the health of your pet. Natural treats offer clear benefits in terms of ingredient quality and nutritional value but may come at a higher cost. Meanwhile, certain commercial treats can be convenient and budget-friendly but might compromise on health with undesirable ingredients. Always read the ingredient list carefully and choose treats that best suit your dog’s dietary needs and health conditions.

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