Three years ago, my boyfriend and I adopted Bear, a 6-year-old German Shepherd/Akita mix. It was a little stressful at first, but with training and lots of love, Bear quickly became the best decision we ever made. My pup is my snuggle-buddy, my partner in crime, and my best friend. For many of us, our dogs are like our four-legged children—an integral and vital part of our families. I want to do everything I can to ensure Bear lives the longest life possible. One of the best ways I can do this is to make sure he’s eating a healthy, organic, non-GMO diet.

Label reading is just as important for our pups as it is for the rest of our families. Unfortunately, many dogs are dining on a diet heavy in GMOs. Whether it’s corn, soy, canola, or other major high-risk ingredients, GMOs have made their way into the majority of dog foods on the market today. Dr. Robert Silver, a veterinarian from Boulder, CO, says that Bt corn, which produces its own insecticide and is a major component of most commercial pet foods, “could possibly cause leaky gut, the gateway to chronic disease.”

In addition to the grain in dog food, unless the products you’re purchasing are Non-GMO Project Verified, the meat in them was likely raised on feed containing GMOs. Troy Knoblock, a hog farmer from Rock Rapids, IA, documented significant benefits when switching his herd to non-GMO feed. “…Drug treatments for sicknesses were cut in half, conception rates increased from percentages in the 80s to (the) 90s, and the size of hog litters increased.” Greater need for drug treatments in GMO fed animals translates to the likelihood of higher concentrations of drugs in their systems when they are butchered—which means synthetic chemicals ending up in our pets’ food.

If something isn’t healthy enough to go into my own body, I don’t want it going into Bear’s—thankfully, there are many organic, Non-GMO Project Verified dog foods for me to choose from. Check out the growing list of Verified pet products!

Treats are an important part of your pup’s life just as much as food. If you could ask them, they would probably tell you that treats are the most important part of their life. Luckily, you can find the Non-GMO Project Butterfly on loads of options—many of which can be found in your pet store, or even the pet section at your grocery store. Wet Noses makes a wide variety of treats in many different flavors which are Non-GMO Project Verified and organic. Bear goes absolutely crazy for the Peanut Butter & Molasses ones.

Another option that’s easier on the wallet, and fun if you enjoy baking, is to make your pup’s treats yourself. My go-to recipe uses a whole-wheat flour and rolled oat base, with rotating meat stocks and peanut butter, pumpkin, sweet potato, and/or cheese for flavor. Just be sure not to bake them for too long for older pups with sensitive teeth. Remember to warn your friends ahead of time too; I’ve had people dig into a fresh plate of them thinking they were peanut butter cookies! Luckily they just taste like a cookie without the sugar—I’ve tried them myself.

For more Non-GMO Project Verified dog (and other pet) food options, search the Verified product database. Whether you’re shopping for people or pets, always remember to look for the Butterfly so that ALL our loved ones get the best food possible.

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