DOG TREATS, allergies and all the artificial things additives, flavors and preservatives

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Did you know that when they make treats without these things – additives, they are collectively called Natural.  There are reasons why these additives are added, so we will take a look at why they are, and what they mean for your dog.

Firstly, the reason that most dog owners give for using natural treats isn’t always about the protein, or the positive values, its usually about avoiding things that might provoke allergies in their dogs.  These things are most common in ‘commercial dog treats’  ie treats made on a mass scale, mostly from grain or vegetable matter, rather than the meat they actually need.

It is true that dogs can be allergic to single ingredient meats like beef or chicken etc, but also high on the list are the grains like wheat, soy, corn.  The difference between these foods, is that meats can be given in dog treats as a single ingredient (so you know exactly what you are getting.

But you will rarely find a single ingredient grain or plant matter treat – because not only is it very unnatural to feed dogs high amounts of plants, but because unlike meats, when you use high amounts of grains, you usually need to at least add preservatives to maintain the shelf life,  and colour to make the bland unnatural grain look interesting (to a human).

Dairy products and eggs are also potential allergy culprits.

But this article is about the additives that are added to single or double ingredient treats on top of the core ingredient.  And more than that, you can easily see why dog treats matter here. NO Additives are by far the best solution. But even when used in small amounts, depending on the individual dog, they can have a major impact on your dog’s health.

We will look at the symptoms later, but now we will see what the common additives are. Namely artificial flavours, artificial colours and preservatives.

DOG TREAT main additives

artificial flavors.

Artificial flavor chemicals are added to single ingredient dog treats, or multi-ingredient treats, to increase the palatability of the treat.  That might seem like a great idea, because sure, we all want dogs to eat what we buy, we don’t want to waste money but perhaps that is the backwards way of looking at this.

Palatability is defined as the quality of being acceptable or agreeable to the taste of the dog. In the commercial dog food world, companies literally spend billions on finding ways to add chemicals to bland unnatural foods like grains, to make the dog at least try the food.  They will often include basic things like refined sugars and salt so that the dog will not want to stop eating.

The bad thing about this is that if the treat were natural, something they would easily eat, just by itself, like a single ingredient meat, not only do you not need to fool the dog into eating it, the core ingredient would actually be healthy for the dog.  A dog supplement if you will.

If you want to test the naturalness of a food for your dog, that is in a dog treat, try this mini experiment.

Make a mini pile of dried meat like beef, chicken, lamb or kangaroo, even flake.   Put these next to piles of the dried common grains used in dog food: wheat, soy, rice and corn.  The vast majority of dogs will eat the meat every time.

The reason that a dog mightn’t eat it, is that meat is included so little in most commercial dog food, and disguised with additives like sugars and salt and oils, that many dogs don’t actually know what 100% single ingredient dried meat dog treats smell or taste like.  YES, they are that removed from nature, because we have trusted the global billion-dollar companies to look after our dogs.

You can train your dog to eat carrots, broccoli and peas.  It will trust you as their mother doing what is right for them.  And sure, a carrot provides some vitamins, but its quality protein count is virtually non-existent next to the protein that they really need.


While the main additive that fools’ dogs into eating treats is the artificial Flavors, surely anyone can understand that if you can’t provide the real thing, if you need science to mimic it, they are only doing so to save money.  Give your dog empty calories.  Fool you and your dog into eating something they weren’t meant to.

And BTW, flavour is a low sense in dogs, one sixth that of humans, whereas the combination of their nose smell sense and brain area devoted to scents means that dogs are really driven by smell first, and everything else a minor second.  Food making companies have learned to first fool your dogs noses into trying the treat, then added other things to make the unnatural foods palatable, and be eaten to the level they can’t stop.

The dog “food scientists” –figured out how to override your dog’s natural instincts to have satiety (feedback to the brain telling the dog it is full).

ADVICE – steer clear of all artificial flavours, particularly the ones you don’t recognise or that are listed as a number on the label.  Your dog doesn’t need them, they need real meat-based food!