5 Natural Preservatives For Dog Treats

Some of the best natural preservatives for dog treats include Rosemary, dried egg whites, vitamin E, citric acid, and ascorbic acid. To get the most life out of dog treats, place them in a vacuum-sealed bag and store them in the freezer.

Whether you’re looking to make homemade treats for your dog or just want to know what ingredients to look out for in treats you’re buying, we’ve got all the information you need on natural preservatives for dog treats right here.

Natural Preservatives For Dog Treats

Natural dog treats don’t last as long as store-bought ones, but they’re much healthier and don’t contain synthetic chemicals that can be harmful to your dog.

Below are some of the most common natural preservatives people use for dog treats.

1) Rosemary

Rosemary naturally contains properties that prevent the oxidation and breakdown of foods, especially oils and fats.

Plus, it smells great, so it’s a joy to cook with!

2) Dried Egg Whites

Egg whites are naturally antimicrobial, so they can be useful in slowing down food spoilage.

3) Vitamin E

Vitamin E, also called tocopherols, is an antioxidant, which acts as a food preservative.

Vitamin E is also necessary for dog health, needed for:

  • shiny coat
  • cardiovascular health
  • good eyesight
  • muscular function

4) Citric Acid

Citric acid is found in citrus fruits and is a widely used natural food preservative in human and dog food.

Its high acidity makes it difficult for mold and bacteria to grow, keeping your food safe longer.

5) Ascorbic Acid

Ascorbic acid, a synthetic form of vitamin C, is an antioxidant with antimicrobial properties, making it a popular choice for preserving natural dog treats.

Because it’s a synthetic form of a naturally occurring vitamin, many people consider it to be natural. However, it’s a highly processed compound, usually made from GMO corn and processed with chemicals like acetone. For this reason, there are growing concerns that it may have long-term risks, though the evidence so far has been inconclusive.

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Although naturally occurring vitamin C is available, it doesn’t stand up to the high temperatures required to bake the treats.


Using preservatives alone isn’t enough to keep your dog treats fresh. It’s important to use care when storing them and keep them safe to eat for as long as possible.

Cool Completely

To make sure your treats don’t hold more moisture than necessary while they’re being stored, cool them completely (for several hours) before moving them into a storage container.

Moisture attracts bacteria, which will keep any trapped steam from raising the humidity in the storage container.

Vacuum Seal

Vacuum sealing treats are a great way to keep them fresh for longer since the lack of air will prevent growth of bacteria and mold, as well as spoilage of any fats or oils in the treats.


Warmer environments are breeding grounds for mold and bacteria, so keep your natural dog treats refrigerated to keep them fresh longer.

This will allow baked treats to stay good for up to 10 days. Treats with meat and broth should be tossed out after about 4 days in the fridge.


Freezing treats will keep them even longer than refrigerating them. They can be kept up to 6 months, although they may lose or change flavor after about 4 months.

Frozen treats are perfect for hot summer days, but you can leave the treat out for a bit to thaw before giving it to your dog.


Soft, chewy treats contain more moisture, so they go rancid more quickly than hard, crunchy ones.

If you have a soft, chewy recipe, try baking the treats a few extra minutes or leaving them in the oven once you turn the oven off to dry them out a bit more.

Shelf Storage

If you live in a cool climate, you can usually keep drier, crunchy baked dog treats in the pantry for a few days without needing to refrigerate them. This is only for treats that don’t contain meat products.

A good general rule of thumb to follow is if it were a baked good for yourself, would you want to eat it after it sat out for a few days, or would you be a little concerned about it? If you would hesitate, it’s best not to give it to your dog.

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Check the Label or Recipe

If you’re ever unsure about how to store natural dog treats, check the label if you’ve bought them somewhere or the recipe if you made them at home.

Usually, there will be instructions about how long they’ll last and whether they need to be refrigerated.

Preservatives and Ingredients to Avoid

It’s best to avoid synthetic preservatives in your dog treats whenever possible, as many of them are linked to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases in dogs.

Some of the most common synthetic preservatives to avoid are:

  • BHA
  • BHT
  • Ethoxyquin
  • Propylene glycol
  • Propyl gallate

Although many synthetic preservatives are commonly used in dog treats, that doesn’t mean they’re safe. Some that are allowed in America, like ethoxyquin, are banned in other countries.

Long Lasting Homemade Dog Treat Ingredients

There is an unending supply of homemade dog treat recipes to try online, and if you enjoy baking, you might be eager to try them all.

If you look at a few, you’ll soon notice a trend in the most frequently used ingredients.

Peanut Butter

Most dogs absolutely love peanut butter. Many dog owners use it as a training tool or distraction during unpleasant procedures such as nail clipping.

Fortunately, it’s also good for them, since it contains healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins.

Just make sure never to use low sugar or sugar-free peanut butter, as many contain sugar substitutes that can be deadly to dogs.


Pumpkin is great for dogs and is often recommended for dogs with digestive issues since it can have a binding effect on loose stool. It will also fiber for constipation.

Pumpkin contains potassium and beta keratin, making it a great supplement to add to a dog’s diet. Make sure the pumpkin is canned or cooked and doesn’t have added spices.

Dogs also love pumpkin, making it a perfectly healthy ingredient for dog treats.


Banana is a surprising ingredient in some dog treats. It’s high in potassium and many other vitamins, but it contains a lot of sugar.

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Make sure not to overdo it on banana treats to prevent blood sugar spikes and obesity. High sugar treats should usually be avoided altogether for diabetic and overweight dogs.


Carrots are another unusual choice in dog treats, but they’re a healthy addition which dogs often love.

Liver and Other Meat Products

While meat and meat products are more often associated with dogs than flavors like pumpkin and carrot, keep in mind that treats made from these ingredients tend to have a shorter shelf life.

That being said, common meat ingredients include liver, chicken, and beef.


Oatmeal is another food that’s good for dogs with digestive issues. It’s also an excellent alternative to use in treats for dogs with wheat or gluten sensitivities.

Oatmeal also contains vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

Limit Synthetic Preservatives

Although dogs aren’t usually known for being overly picky about what they’ll eat, it’s our job as humans to watch out for them and make sure they stay healthy.

This includes providing healthy, nutritious food and avoiding or limiting potentially dangerous ingredients such as synthetic preservatives. Try to use the more healthy natural preservatives in your dog treats.

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