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Natural Foods Merchandiser

5 functional—and natural—dog treats

Natural pet food sales remained strong during the recession, in part because pet food marketers appealed to owners’ desires to keep their best friends healthy. And like their owners, pets are getting a healthy dose of fortified foods and beverages formulated just for them.

Expect to see plain canned or bagged kibble increasingly replaced with premium food choices that promise an array of functional benefits, such as digestive, urinary tract, joint, bone, immune system and skin support.

Functional dog treats, in particular, have arrived full force. Mintel reports that most new product launches are dog snacks and treats, as these items have taken on an increasing number of roles. No longer just a training reward, treats deliver functional health and wellness benefits and are directly competing not only with dog food but also with pet supplements.

Bonus: All these treats were "tested" on the author's dog for a resounding four-paws up.

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