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Wellness — February 27, 2012 7:12 pm

Go Healthy: Organic and Nutritional Treats for Your Dog

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With so many dog treat options on the market, it’s no surprise that dog owners can feel overwhelmed in the dog food aisle. If keeping your pooch healthy and fit for years to come is on your agenda (as it should be), then it’s time to say goodbye to processed food and chemical-laden treats. These homemade and store-produced organic treats are a fool-proof way of keeping your pup healthy .

Why go organic/healthy?

- Organic dog treats can reduce skin ailments and allergies. If your dog has allergies or skin conditions, organic food may provide your pooch with the necessary vitamins and ingredients they need to combat future outbreaks.

- Organic dog food is free of artificial colors and flavor enhancers, chemical additive and toxic pesticides. With quality protein and grain sources, your pup’s nutrition, as well as their immune system, will improve.

- Organic food doesn’t contain bulk filler or unnecessary additives. A few rolls on your precious bulldog can be cute, but when your dog suffers from diabetes, organ failure or hip dysphasia, it becomes a serious issue. Just like their human counter parts, pups display more energy when they are fed nutritional food.

- Organic grains and proteins (minus the chemicals and artificial substances) can make your dogs food more digestible. Oats, barley, whole grain foods, grade-A turkey, and chicken can make your pooch’s digestive system work seamlessly.

Tips & tricks to get your dog to eat healthy:

- Dog biscuits are much like cookies. They can be customized for each dog’s personal preferences and dietary needs. They are also easy to make and more affordable than the majority of commercial dog treats.

- Remember that many of the foods humans eat are harmful for dogs. Among the most common are chocolate, nuts, onions, garlic and avocado. Keep your recipes simple and stick to food you know are pet-friendly.

- Like humans, dogs have sensitive stomachs. Don’t let Toto gorge on a new treat; instead, feed him a little portion each time to slowly ease him into the foreign flavor.

- Dog food can be labeled “USDA Organic” if it meets USDA National Organic Program. This means that at least 95 percent of the food’s ingredients are organically grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

- If a dog food contains at least 70 percent organic ingredients, it can be labeled as “Made with Organic Ingredients.” Keep an eye out for this label when shopping for healthy dog food.

- Dog food boutiques are becoming more popular as the need for fresh pooch food grows. Stores such as Three Dog Bakery bake fresh dog treats everyday with organic ingredients. Birthday cakes can be ordered for your pup and you won’t have to worry if there is something harmful in it.

- The treats at Three Dog Bakery can be consumed by humans, too! The flavors include oatmeal and range to cute little cupcakes and decorated cookies. (FYI: the apple-flavored pooch food actually tastes like sugar free apple jacks). Don’t try to make a whole meal out of these pooch precious treats, but use them as a quirky snack for you and your pooch to enjoy together.

- Pussy & Pooch, another shop in Southern California that caters to the needs of fresh and healthy dog food, has a “Pawbar” where they whip up a specially cooked meal for your dog while you wait. Think of it as a café for pooches with a price that doesn’t break the bank.

Organic Dog Treat Companies

- Zuke’s provides healthy, natural treats for both dogs and cats.

- VitaLife treats are made with high-quality, natural ingredients.

- Milk-bone provides wholesome and healthy treats for your pup.

- Fruitables gives your dog nutritious and organic treats.

As always, read ingredients before you give it to your pup. When in doubt, stop into your local vet and get the specifics on what your dog needs to stay healthy. If you are a home dog boarding host, be sure to ask the dog’s owner what foods their dog should be eating while they are away.

Forget the kennel! Board your dog in a real home with DogVacay.com. Search trusted and insured pet sitters near you starting at $15/night.