5 things to look for when choosing pet treats

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Indulge your pet more mindfully by selecting quality treats that support his health and the planet.

The saying, “you are what you eat” is as true for our dogs and cats as it is for us. It’s not surprising, then, that many devoted pet parents spend so much time researching the food their pets eat. After all, they’re members of the family – and they deserve the best! Even though they’re only consumed a few at a time, treats can have just as much of an impact on the health and happiness of our pets as their main meals.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of pet “junk food” on the market, which can have a detrimental effect on our furry friends. Not to mention that most treats are sold in packaging that’s not eco-friendly. So how do you make a more mindful selection for your companion? Indulging your pet mindfully means doing a little research and choosing treats with as many of the following qualities as possible!

1. Made with pristine, all-natural ingredients

Nutrition is the foundation of your pet’s health. Make sure his treats contain real food – including whole proteins, superfoods like blueberries and quinoa, and digestive aids like probiotics for a happy tummy. Stay away from cheap fillers like corn and potatoes, and additives like glycerin, which can cause digestive upset.

2. Monitored for quality and safety

Whenever possible, research the process that the manufacturer uses to ensure quality and safety. They should have a proven program in place that inspects the treats at regular intervals and frequently tests for toxins, pesticides, heavy metals, and dangerous microbes. If you can’t find this information on their website or packaging, contact them directly to find out.

3. Sustainably and ethically sourced

Choose pet treats with ingredients that are organic or near-organic (meaning they’re organic in every aspect other than name), sustainably grown, and sourced from farms and organizations that treat animals humanely. Not only is this better for the planet, it’s better for your pet, too! These ingredients are typically denser in nutrients, safer, and tastier than those that come from industrial and factory farms. And, don’t forget to look for sustainable packaging!

4. Created with a conscience

Does the treat manufacturer give back to other causes? Do they engage in fair trade practices that ensure a living wage, or take steps to minimize their carbon footprint? If they care about the health and wellbeing of the planet and the people they do business with, you can feel confident they care about your pet, too!

4. Thoroughly taste-tested

The truth is that none of these things matter if your pet won’t eat the treat. And there’s nothing worse than spending good money and then watching your pet turn up his nose and walk away. Check to ensure that the treats you’re choosing have been extensively taste-tested. While every animal is different, this will give you a good idea of whether your pet will find them tasty, too!

Mindfully indulging your pet may take a little extra effort, but the health and happiness he enjoys makes it all worth it! If you’re not sure where to start, look online for artisanal treats made by small, family-owned companies that are socially and environmentally conscious!