3. Is there a difference between 'natural' and 'generic' treats?
According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) the term “natural” is any feed or ingredient “derived from plant, animal or mined, unprocessed or subject to physical, heat, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation, but not subjected to chemically synthetic process.” The term “organic”, according to the AAFCO, refers to a formula feed or a specific ingredient within a formula feed that has been produced and handled in compliance with the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program (7CFR Part 205).
If this seems confusing your best bet is to read the ingredient label carefully and speak your veterinarian. He or she can help you determine if the dog or cat treat is what you're looking for, and make other recommendations if it isn't. For instance, “if there is a lot of sodium, coloring, and artificial flavors on the ingredient label,” Dr. Murray says, [you] will see that [the treat] is not very healthy.”