What Does Natural Dog Treat Really Mean?

Dog treats have come a long way since the first commercially manufactured dog biscuit was introduced. Around 1860, James Spratt, an electrician from Ohio, visited England and reportedly saw a group of dogs eating discarded hardtack, the tough biscuits carried on ships. Spratt was inspired to create biscuits just for dogs. Before then, pets were receiving unbalanced meals of scraps from their owners' tables. Spratt's Patent Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes featured a combination of wheat meals, vegetables, beetroot, and “the dried unsalted gelatinous parts of Prairie Beef”. These new dog biscuits were considered to be the first step toward a more natural and wholesome treat for dogs.

Before long, Spratt’s dog biscuits faced competition from other products, like Dr. A. C. Daniels' Medicated Dog Bread and F. H. Bennett's Malatoid Dog Biscuits a.k.a the Milk-Bone. In 1908, the F.H. Bennett Biscuit Company advertised their Malatoid biscuits as a supplemental dog biscuit made with wheat, vegetables, meat and added vitamins and minerals. The company started producing the dog biscuits in the shape of a bone and added milk as an ingredient, resulting in its new name - the Milk-Bone dog biscuit. These dog biscuits were simpler and healthier than many of the commercially manufactured dog treats on the market today.

Over the years, more and more dog biscuits and treats have been introduced, with new shapes, colors, and flavors. These natural treats gradually transformed into unhealthy sweets loaded with excess fat and calories. We can see the impact of this change in the rising obesity rates of dogs in America. As the pet food industry grew, it became necessary for the Food & Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state feed control officials to implement regulations on the processing methods and quality controls used by pet food manufacturers. Despite the fact that dog treats are supposed to meet the same safety standards expected for foods for human consumption, most dog treats lack true natural ingredients.

Today, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that all animal foods are “safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled”. However, more and more canine diseases have been linked to ingredients found in certain dog foods. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns pet owners that pet food can be contaminated with potential harmful bacteria including Salmonella and Campylobacter. They recommend to “avoid feeding your pet in the kitchen to prevent getting germs found in pet food on people food". Unmistakably, mainstream pet food offerings are not by any means natural!

Moreover, pet food product manufacturers are not required to have pre-market approval by the FDA. The FDA considers ingredients such as meat, poultry and grains to be safe – this might include by-products. Even other substances like flavorings, preservatives, and processing aids may be generally recognized as safe (GRAS), and may be approved for use. It is clear that pet owners looking for natural dog treats need to read the labels carefully and investigate the true nature of the ingredients stated.

Pet owners today understand the importance of a balanced diet for dogs, with the right amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals. There are no by-products in Pet Bistro’s dog treats! Pet Bistro’s BarkScotti™ are real natural dog treats, backed by a straightforward list of whole foods like organic quinoa, wild blueberries, flax, honey, and almond flour. Other natural ingredients in BarkScotti™ includes safflower oil, lemon juice, vanilla, and baking powder. These fresh treats are oven-baked to flavorful perfection in the USA using human-grade ingredients. Pet Bistro’s dog treats are dairy-free, grain-free, meat-free, and gluten-free.