Dogs are more than just pets. They are family members. And as such, we want them to live long, happy, and healthy lives. One way to incorporate healthy dog treats is to feed them nutritious and delicious treats that support their heart health.
But how do you know which treats are good for your dog’s heart? And what ingredients should you look for or avoid when shopping for dog treats? This post addresses these questions, provides insightful answers, and shares some of the best heart-healthy dog treats you can find online or at home.
What Makes a Dog Treat Heart Healthy?
The heart plays a crucial role in circulating blood throughout the body, providing cells with oxygen and essential nutrients. Removing waste products. The heart also regulates blood pressure and maintains a steady rhythm. To keep the heart functioning properly, dogs need a balanced diet that includes vital nutrients like protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some of these nutrients have specific benefits for the heart, such as:
- Protein: The building block of muscles is said to be protein, including the heart muscle. It also helps repair damaged tissues and supports immune system function. High-quality protein sources for dogs include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.
- Fat: Fat is an energy source and provides essential fatty acids for dogs. It also helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins and protects the organs. Some fats are better than others for the heart, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-arrhythmic effects. Fish oil is also abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed, hemp, nuts, and seeds.
- Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are another source of energy for dogs. They also provide fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels. Prefer complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates since they digest more slowly and offer longer-lasting energy. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains are all examples of healthy foods rich in complex carbohydrates.
- Vitamins: These are organic compounds that dogs need in small amounts for various metabolic processes. Some vitamins have specific roles in maintaining heart health, such as vitamin A, which helps prevent oxidative damage to the heart cells; vitamin B12, which helps produce red blood cells and prevent anemia; vitamin C, which helps synthesize collagen and protect blood vessels; vitamin D, which helps regulate calcium and phosphorus levels and prevent cardiac hypertrophy; vitamin E, which helps prevent lipid peroxidation and protect cell membranes; and vitamin K, which helps prevent blood clotting disorders.
- Minerals: Minerals are inorganic elements that dogs need in small amounts for various metabolic processes. Some minerals have specific roles in maintaining heart health, such as calcium, which helps contract the heart muscle and regulate blood pressure; magnesium, which helps relax the heart muscle and prevent arrhythmias; potassium, which helps maintain fluid balance and electrical activity of the heart; sodium, which helps regulate blood volume and pressure; iron, which helps transport oxygen in the blood; zinc, which helps heal wounds and prevent infections; selenium, which helps prevent oxidative stress and inflammation; and copper, which helps synthesize hemoglobin and prevent anemia.
Read also: Healthy Brain and Heart Pack
The Best Heart Healthy Dog Treats You Can Buy Online
If you are looking for heart-healthy dog treats that you can buy online, here are some of our top picks based on the ingredients, quality, and customer reviews.
- Pet Botanics Training Rewards Flavor Dog Treats: These treats, with their soft and chewy texture, are ideal for use during your dog’s training sessions or rewarding them for good behavior. The first ingredient in these products is real meat protein, and they incorporate a blend of botanicals, fruits, and herbs to provide vitamins, antioxidants, and other health benefits for your dog. They are also low in calories, fat, and sodium and free of corn, soy, artificial flavors, and preservatives. They come in several flavors: beef, chicken, and salmon.
- Wet Noses Organic Crunchy Dog Treats: These crunchy treats are made with organic ingredients certified by the USDA. They contain whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and seeds that provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids for your dog’s health. They are also vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of salt, sugar, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. They come in several flavors: apple pie, peanut butter and banana, pumpkin pie, and sweet potato.
- Pupford Freeze-Dried Treats: These products are crafted using only natural ingredients, all obtained from top-tier suppliers in the USA. They contain single-source protein from meat, poultry, or fish, providing high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids for your dog’s health. They are also grain-free, gluten-free, and free of fillers, additives, and preservatives. They come in several flavors: beef liver, chicken breast, salmon, and turkey.
- Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy Dog Treats: These soft and chewy treats are made with real meat protein as the first ingredient and are fortified. The products incorporate vital vitamins and minerals to support overall health and maintain your dog’s well-being. They are also low in fat and sodium and free of artificial colors. They come in several flavors, such as beef & filet mignon, chicken & cheese, and lamb & rice.
- Blue Buffalo Health Bars Dog Treats: These crunchy treats are made with wholesome ingredients that support your dog’s health. They contain whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids, providing fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for your dog’s health. They are also free of corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. They come in several flavors: apple & yogurt, bacon & cheese, and pumpkin & cinnamon.
- Hill’s Grain-Free Dog Treats: These soft and chewy treats are made with natural ingredients that are grain-free and gluten-free. They contain real meat protein as the first ingredient and vegetables that provide vitamins and minerals for your dog’s health. They are also low in calories and fat. It is devoid of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. They come in several flavors: chicken & apples, salmon & sweet potatoes, and turkey & cranberries.
The Best Heart Healthy Dog Treats You Can Make at Home
If you prefer to make heart-healthy dog treats at home, here are some easy and delicious recipes you can try.
- Banana Oatmeal Dog Treats: These simple treats are made with only three ingredients: ripe bananas, rolled oats, and egg. They provide fiber, potassium, and protein for your dog’s health. For added flavor, you can incorporate peanut butter or cinnamon as well. To make them, you need to mash the bananas, mix them with the oats and egg, shape them into cookies, and bake them in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Carrot Apple Dog Treats: These crunchy treats are made with fresh carrots, applesauce, and whole wheat flour. They provide beta-carotene, vitamin C, and fiber for your dog’s health. You can add some honey or coconut oil for extra sweetness and moisture. To make them, you need to grate the carrots, mix them with the applesauce and flour, then roll the dough, use a cookie cutter to shape it, and proceed to bake. In the oven for 25 minutes.
- Salmon Sweet Potato Dog Treats: These soft and chewy treats are made with canned salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, and brown rice flour. They provide protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin A for your dog’s health. You can add some parsley or mint for extra freshness and breath-freshening benefits. To make them, you need to flake the salmon, mix it with the sweet potatoes and flour,
- Zuke’S Superfood Blend Dog Treats: These bite-sized treats are made with superfoods that provide antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for your dog’s health. They contain fruits, vegetables, and seeds rich in phytonutrients, such as berries, kale, pumpkin, and turmeric. They are also grain-free, gluten-free, and free of corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. They come in several flavors, such as berries & yogurt, greens & peanut butter, and pumpkin & turmeric.
- Salmon Sweet Potato Dog Treats: These soft and chewy treats are made with canned salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, and brown rice flour. They provide protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin A for your dog’s health. In addition, you can include parsley or mint for extra freshness and breath-freshening benefits. To make them, you need to flake the salmon, mix it with the sweet potatoes and flour, shape them into balls and bake them in the oven for 20 minutes.
Things to Look Out for in Healthy Dog Treats
When choosing dog treats that are good for your dog’s heart, you should look for treats that contain these nutrients in appropriate amounts and proportions. You should also avoid treats that contain ingredients that can harm your dog’s heart, such as:
- Some dog treats incorporate salt to enhance flavor and extend shelf life. However, too much salt can cause dehydration, high blood pressure, and fluid retention in dogs, leading to heart failure. Veterinary doctors recommended daily salt intake is less than 100 mg per kg of body weight.
- Some dog treats include sugar to enhance flavor and texture. However, too much sugar can cause obesity, diabetes, and dental problems in dogs, increasing the risk of heart disease. Dogs’ recommended daily sugar intake is less than 10% of their calories.
- Some dog treats incorporate fat to enhance flavor and palatability. However, too much fat can cause obesity, pancreatitis, and hyperlipidemia in dogs, increasing the risk of heart disease. Dogs’ recommended daily fat intake is 10% to 15% of their total calories.
- Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives: Many processed foods contain artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Some dog treats make them look and taste more appealing and last longer. However, some of these additives can cause allergic reactions, digestive problems, and behavioral issues in dogs, affecting their heart health. The best dog treats are those made with natural ingredients and minimal processing.
As you can see, there are many options for heart-healthy dog treats that you can buy online or make at home. By choosing treats that contain natural ingredients, high-quality protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, you can help your dog maintain a healthy heart and a happy life.