You try to purchase only "natural" dog treats and chews because you love your dog. But, how do you know if "natural" dog chews and treats are really natural? In many ways it comes down to how they are manufactured. For example, how do you know the additives in pet chews and treats are safe? Even a bigger question is why are manufacturers adding soaks, salts, washes, nitrates, sugars and many other preservatives to dog chews and treats?

100 years ago acceptable forms of meat preservation included smoking, salting, drying and saltpeter, and vinegar. Now the top ingredients are potassium nitrate, benzoate, benzene, potassium bromate (banned in the UK, Canada, European Union, Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, South Korea, Peru, China, India and Sri Lanka but not in the US), corn sugar, BHA, BHT. More natural stabilizers which could be used but rarely are include: Rosemary, Vitamin E and C, green tea extract, citric and ascorbic acids, sea salt, cranberry, and sage.

No matter what the additives most are included to prohibit change and increase profit. They are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-rancidity ingredients. Most manufacturers claim safety as the reason for the additives. But in the end, manufacturers are always balancing costs and profits. Most dog chew manufacturers process large quantities, want products to last forever on store shelves and want dogs to gobble them up so their humans purchase more. It's really not about putting safety of dogs' health first. Ultimately these additives are there to stabilize moisture content (which means removing as much moisture as possible) to extend shelf life which means more profit!

Some companies take a different approach which costs a bit more in terms of processing time with the goal of producing a healthier, tastier and higher quality product. For example, GREAT DOG CO. processes most of its products with natural wood smoke, dries its products to the point of low water activity but not too low to affect palatability - the ultimate pleasure of consuming treats and chews for dogs. GREAT DOG uses small batch processing without additives and uses time tested procedures to produce unique, healthy, single ingredient dog chews and treats. When a company markets itself and/or its products as natural, the first thing you should check is the ingredient list. If you see any of the hard to pronounce ingredients listed above, you'll know natural isn't an accurate adjective.

It would be best if everything you fed your dog was fresh, right out of the field. But heck, even we don’t eat so well. Nonetheless, you can increase the health of your dog by choosing chews and treats that are made in small batches without additives.