Post FDA Report: 7 Safe Grain-Free Dog Treats That Don’t Contain Vegetable Proteins

The ingredients in the Orijen Original Freeze-Dried Dog Treats are below. There are no vegetable or potato “proteins” in these treats. Nor should there be!

Origen Original Dog Treats contents

Orijen Original Freeze-Dried Dog Treats ingredients

My last few articles focused on the June, 2019 FDA report on dry grain-free dog foods and their correlation with heart disease, specifically canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCA). Certain ingredients commonly used in grain-free foods as a substitute for the proteins found in meat, fish, and poultry were found to be correlated with DCA. These were primarily identified as various pea, bean, and legume proteins.

If you haven’t already started, you need to start reading the content labels of your pets’ foods, treats, and supplements. The FDA has not recalled DCA-correlated products, nor have most pet food companies changed their formulas so you need to watch out for vegetable proteins and, many vets suggest, potatoes and even sweet potatoes in your dog’s food.

Pet Mio Bites

Pet Mio Bites are a no-meat grain-free dog treat!

It is too soon to evaluate whether there are a significant number of non-legume grain-free dry foods for dogs, as most grain-free foods, perhaps with the exception of some single-source foods, do contain vegetable proteins. Veterinary dieticians are recommending that good choices for dry dog foods are ones with animal proteins as the first two or three ingredients with the addition of whole grains. Whole grains, they say, are nutritionally healthy for dogs, unlike processed grains. (See 3 Healthy High Protein Whole Grain Dog Foods – Post FDA 2019 Grain Free Study)

After finding that there are just a few high-quality, high-protein, whole-grain foods that do not contain harmful vegetable proteins, I started looking at grain-free dog treats.

Agh! I don’t want to name or shame the dog treats that you should probably dispose of… but, at least there are several healthy grain-free alternatives, some of which are recommended below….

Orijen Original Freeze-Dried Dog Treats

Orijen Original Freeze-Dried Dog Treats

As you see from the ingredients posted in the top image, Orijen does not use vegetable proteins or any other products except cage free poultry and fresh caught seafood in its ingredients. The company believes that between its naturally sourced ingredients and its minimal processing, your dog receives all the nutrients he needs without additives. Through its treats and food products, Orijen practices its WholePrey philosophy, providing dogs regionally caught pure proteins with minimal (gently freeze-dried) processing. The Orijen Original Freeze-Dried Dog Treats are among the highest in protein content (45%), but also high in fat (35%), so if you think your dog will love it (and she will!), check with the vet about the fat content.

Orijen makes a variety of single protein dog treats, like Free-Run Duck, Wild-Roaming Boar, Grass-Fed Lamb, and Kentucky Bison, but all are fairly high in fat, so please check with your vet before ordering the Orijen Dog Treats.

Ziwi Air-Dried Grain-Free Dog Treats

Ziwi Air-Dried Grain-Free Dog Treats

Another well-loved grain-free treat, Ziwi Air-Dried Grain-Free Dog Treats gets super high marks from dogs. They come in Beef, Venison, and Lamb recipes all sourced from farm-raised, free roaming animals in New Zealand. Ingredients are gently air-dried to retain all nutrients.

As an example, the Beef Recipe includes: 96% premium New Zealand Beef meat, including tripe, and Green Mussels, hand-selected vitamins and minerals, sea kelp, chicory, and parsley. Green mussels are exceptionally healthy, as they are rich in Omega 3’s and 6’s and especially for dogs with arthritis, but check with your veterinarian about fat content in the Ziwi treats.

3-6. Single Protein Freeze-Dried Treats

I really can’t say, nor do most customers, that one of the brands of single protein treats listed below is better than the next. They all have extremely good reviews. And there are more great brands that I don’t have room to mention. When purchasing single protein freeze-dried treats, make sure you confirm that there is only one ingredient in the treat by checking the ingredient section of the package. Also check the product’s sourcing and processing methods, and customer reviews.

Life Essentials Chicken Treats for Dogs

Life Essentials Freeze Dried Chicken

Single ingredient products are a great way to get what you want from your dog; dogs love them! There are many grain-free dog treats available that consist of one protein. I give my dog various Life Essentials and Pure Bites selections. They are 100 percent chicken, turkey, salmon, liver, or lamb, depending on your pup’s faves, and they tend to be very low in fat. (My dog has never turned his nose up to any of them!)

Vital Essentials Salmon Nibs

Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Wild Alaskan Salmon

One brand of single item dog treats that has several single ingredient freeze-dried choices is Vital Essentials.  Vital Essentials has some ‘boutique’ proteins like Rabbit Ears and Beef Tripe, so I would check with your vet before purchasing them as there is some controversy about feeding boutique foods to pets. (See Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, DACVN, on the subject of boutique or exotic proteins.)

Zesty Paws Raw Freeze-Dried Treats For Dogs And Cats

Zesty Paws Raw Freeze-Dried Treats For Dogs And Cats

Zesty Paws is a very highly rated brand of pet supplements that I use for my dogs and cats. We haven’t tried the Zesty Paws Raw Freeze-Dried Treats For Dogs And Cats yet, but the customer ratings are very high, as are those of the company’s health supplements.

Sojos Natural Freeze-Dried Raw Meat Dog Treats

Sojos Natural Freeze-Dried Raw Meat Dog Treats

Sojos Natural Freeze-Dried Raw Meat Dog Treats is also very well-liked and comes in pure beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, salmon and goat! 

PetMio Bites - Human Grade Dog Treats

PetMio Bites – Human Grade Dog Treats

PetMio Bites contain totally delicious non-meat contents. Mix them all together and they spell divine.

PetMio Bites - Human Grade Dog Treats

Well-loved and great smelling, the PetMio Bites – Human Grade Dog Treats are chewy and delicious – you can even try them yourself! They can be broken into smaller pieces if you want to make them last longer. These treats are great for your dog’s eyes, skln and coat, digestion, and immune system.

We consumers have to pay more attention to the ingredients in and processing of the foods that we and our pets eat. More and more pet foods are being recalled every year and, in addition to following the recalls, we now also have to reject dog foods that perhaps should be recalled because of their correlation to heart disease in dogs.

related reads:

Some Dog Foods Contribute To Heart Disease In Dogs: Ingredients To Avoid

3 Healthy High Protein Whole Grain Dog Foods – Post FDA 2019 Grain Free Study

New Study: Eating Raw Chicken Necks Can Cause Paralysis In Dogs

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