Additives are usually seen as a bad thing in human food. And if you looked at commercial dog food, you would realize the same.

Not because the things they are adding are particularly bad, BUT because many of them can actually be found in single-ingredient healthy dog treats, that are far healthier for your dog, than the commercial dog food that many dogs are fed.

The secret about single-ingredient dog treats is that the “additives” are included in the one-ingredient treat. 

The additives in dog food are mostly included because they add a point of difference so they can charge you a lot more, for what is essentially a bag of wheat, rice, or sweet potato.

That shiny can or bag of dog kibble might have a lot of wonderful pictures of beef steak, leafy vegetables and coconuts, or blueberries but considering how far down the list the ‘additives’ like blueberries are, you will realize that they are included as TRACE ingredients, not in any meaningful amount.

And yes, that is precise ‘how they get you’.

Commercial dog food is typically 60-70% grain or plant matter, 30-40% meat, with a smattering of oil and vitamins and minerals.

So we now look at the additives included in dog food, and how you can get better and more in dog treats

Fruits are often shown on dog food packets. They are said to include such things as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

This all sounds great, but if the dog food was truly whole and complete just with natural foods (meat and veggies), then there would be no need to ADD vitamins and minerals (as separate ingredients in the ingredients list).

We accept that some dog owners are in love with the idea of feeding a LOT of plant matter to their carnivore dogs’ diet, but since it evolved from the wolf only 20,000 years ago this practice is called into question.

Currently, dog food is up to 70% plant matter and 30% meat/ offal. You would think that from the dog’s origins of coming from an ALPHA predator of the forest, dog food should be 30% of most vegetable matter.  There is NO healthy Reason why so much plant matter is regularly fed to dogs, EXCEPT for cost considerations.

Here is the funny thing about that.  If plant matter is included in such large percentages in dog food, to reduce the cost, wouldn’t you think that would be reflected in the price of kibble for instance?  Yet the fact that a 5-pound bag of kibble can cost more than 5 pounds of roast beef (raw) should have you understand that plant matter is used mostly to increase the profits of manufacturers, NOT to reduce the price to the consumer.

With Grain being one-tenth the cost of meat.  And Grain being included at up to 70% of kibble you should expect even kibble premium products to be MUCH CHEAPER than they are.

AND THIS IS WHY,  we always recommend buying 100% single-ingredient meat dog treats as a supplement to any dog that is fed mainly a commercial dog food diet.  The additive here should be the kibble, NOT the single ingredient pure animal-based treat !

Fiber is an important thing for humans and dogs, but dogs need a specific type of semi-fermentable fiber to feed the good bacteria just the right amount. NOT ALL fruits or vegetables provide that, hence why some dogs have a fructose overload and the resulting flatulence.

Anti-oxidants such as blueberries are great, but even if you dried half a punnet of them, by the time you removed the water, they would hardly weigh a fraction of a percent of the total packet.



Aafco says 5.5 % minimum amount of fat for the average dog. Linoleic acid is (omega-6 ) 1.1% minim.  The minimum ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 for growth and reproductive dogs is 30:1.  

This leaves the interpretation open to forums of how to achieve that minimum level.  A lot of people seem to like the idea of using coconut oil because it gives a nice shiny coat, but so do almost all oils.  There are many chemical components to every oil.  

You will also find that most dog food companies use Flaxseed as the Omega 3 source, and aim for a ratio of 7:1.  Considering that many science articles suggest that flax only converts about 5% to Omega 3, it’s easy to see how most commercial dog foods (especially pellets with flax in them) will blow that ratio out to 60:1 or more.

Since OILS typically have two and a half times the energy value of protein or carbs (sugars in veggies and fruits) – you need a minimum of 5.5% in dog food. It’s hard to fathom why people don’t just go for the highest amount, and best convert Omega 3 out there – animal sources like salmon oil, some other fish or kangaroo dog treats.

An added bonus is that if you use dried dog treats, like Omega 3  in oily fish, or kangaroo dog treats, then this single ingredient dog treat includes the omega 3 in them. You don’t have to add extra oil like coconut, with low Omega 3 amounts, which mostly adds energy from the oil at the expense of protein.

Collagen and chondroitin

Some people will go to the vet and get this as a medicine at a high price, to assist joint support for their dogs. These formulations might only include these as the active ingredients.  Whereas if you use shark cartilage or green-lipped muscle dog treats, you get the bonus of having glucosamine and chondroitin in high amounts, teeth cleaning, and extra animal protein.  Plus, shark cartilage has another 6 active ingredients in them, not just two.

Turmeric and curium

These are fairly powerful pain relief (or anti-inflammatory) with few side effects.  But since humans also use it for their pain relief, this has dramatically increased the price of these herbs for use with dogs.

Some people love the idea of CBD oil for their dogs, but overdosing on them will lead to lethargy and many other negative side effects.

So, these pain relievers can be great for low-level pain from things like chronic diseases like low-level cancers. But for most dogs, pain typically comes from joints and arthritis. YET if you use something like shark cartilage, it actually prevents the joint pain in the first place and increases the dog’s mobility and general happiness in life.

Why would you cover a pain, when you can eradicate it?

You will find that many of the plant dog treats out there, are made to maximize profit, and include many unhealthy or neutral additives. Single-ingredient dog treats that are functional and provide tested improvements to health, or just for their bioavailable protein boost, are clearly worth their money.

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Ankita Tripathy
Ankita Tripathy loves to write about food and the Hallyu Wave in particular. During her free time, she enjoys looking at the sky or reading books while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Her favourite niches are food, music, lifestyle, travel, and Korean Pop music and drama.

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