You are a responsible dog parent. How do we know? You’re reading this article! Responsible dog parents do their homework. They read about the best ways to take care of their furry family and the best food and treats to feed them. 

But reading labels can be tricky. Most of us know to look for high-quality protein sources and to avoid products with artificial ingredients. But, what if you want to address a specific health goal? 

In this article, we’ll highlight some of the top functional ingredients in dog treats. So, no matter your dog’s health goal, you’ll know which ingredients are best for them.

Functional ingredients provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Their purpose is to improve the way the dog’s body works in order to support a healthier life. Whether you want to proactively maintain their health or reactively manage a concern, choosing treats with the right functional ingredients can make a difference.

What are functional ingredients in dog food and treats?

Functional ingredients provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Their purpose is to support the way the dog’s body works in order to promote a healthier life. Whether you want to proactively maintain their health or find a wellness solution, choosing treats with the right functional ingredients can make a difference.

Here are some of the most common health goals for dogs and the functional ingredients that support them.

Glucosamine Hydrochloride : A natural compound found in cartilage, glucosamine helps promote the production of collagen and connective tissues that support joint function. Glucosamine is often paired with chondroitin.

Chondroitin Sulfate: Also naturally found in cartilage, chondroitin supports healthy joints. 

New Zealand Green Mussel (Perna canaliculus): A type of shellfish native to New Zealand, green lipped mussels are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and good sources of vitamin b12, minerals selenium, iron, iodine, magnesium and calcium.  

MSM: Methylsulfonylmethane is an organic sulfur compound to support healthy connective tissue and joint function. 

Turmeric Root: This yellow spice contains a powerful compound called curcumin. Turmeric is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin c, vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. 

Boswellia Serrata Extract: This extract from the resin of the Boswellia Serrata tree may help maintain the structural integrity of joint cartilage. 

Salmon or Salmon Oil: Wild-caught, cold-water fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Flaxseed Oil: Flaxseed is high in omega-3 Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA), which metabolizes into EPA and DHA in dog’s bodies to support the maintenance of healthy skin.

Biotin: This vitamin, also known as vitamin H or B7, helps support healthy skin and coat.

Zinc: This mineral is important for collagen synthesis. It helps support skin health and strong, shiny hair.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant that is necessary for the health of many organs and body systems, including supporting healthy skin and coat.

Vitamin E: Powerful antioxidant vitamin E helps support the immune system. 

Salmon Oil: A valuable source of omega-3s as well as inherent antioxidants and vitamins. 

Bovine Colostrum: Colostrum is an antibody-rich fluid that mothers produce for their newborns right after delivery. Supplied by cows, bovine colostrum helps maintain dogs’ immune systems — and digestive systems, because 70% of a dog’s immune system is in their gut.

Superfoods: Nutrient-packed fruits and veggies, like spinach, carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, and blueberries, are excellent sources of antioxidant vitamins and minerals. 

Honey: Honey has antibacterial and antiviral properties, and it provides a great source of antioxidant vitamins and minerals like vitamin B, C, D, C, and zinc.

Probiotics: Probiotics are supplements containing live, beneficial bacteria, also known as “good bacteria,” that naturally live in dogs’ intestines. They include lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and enterocococcus. Probiotics support the balance of bacterial flora in the intestines by adding good bacteria.

Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin: These superfoods are rich sources of fiber, which gently aid digestion and provide dogs with a satisfied full feeling. Both are packed with vitamins and minerals, like vitamins A, C, E, potassium, and iron.

Ginger: Soothing ginger provides multiple vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, and vitamin C.

Coconut Oil: Creamy coconut oil has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that support good oral health.

Zinc Hydrochloride: Supports dental health. 

Seaweed or Kelp: Provides many vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, that promote healthy gums and strong teeth.

Spearmint Oil: This natural essential oil works to freshen your dog’s breath.

Parsley: A favorite herb in many dishes, nutritious parsley helps freshen breath. 

The next time you’re shopping for dog treats, consider what you want those treats to do for your dog’s health. With functional ingredients, they can do more than treat their taste buds; they can support their whole body health.

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