Who doesn’t love a treat? If you own a dog you know the answer. Whether it be a toy or food treat, your dog will be one happy dog when it is treat time. However it is important to practice restraint when treat time rolls around to ensure the treats are contributing to a healthy diet for your dog.
At times it is difficult to ignore those wanting eyes, but the overall health of the dog needs to always be considered when choosing a dog treat.
Rule of 10
Veterinary professionals prefer treats should make up no more than 10% of a dogs’ diet. Just like humans, check the caloric content of the treat. It is amazing how one bone for a small dog can increase their caloric intake.
A healthy and safe alternative to store bought treats lies in your pantry or refrigerator. This may incur more trial and error to find which vegetable or fruit your dog likes, but it is worth the effort. As always, take into consideration and food allergies or sensitivities your dog may have.
Healthy vegetable for dogs include: Baby carrots, green beans, broccoli, sliced bananas, watermelon, apple slices. (Seed free for all fruits.)
Cheerios are recommended by many dog trainers as an inexpensive low fat treat. Cheerios work very well for puppy training as they are easy to carry and can be easily broken apart for all size dogs. Most dogs love ice cubes, but they can be a risky treat due to dental concerns of possibly fracturing a tooth.
Home Made Dog Treats And Biscuits
Don’t tell your dog, but home made treats are very easy to make and require limited ingredients commonly found in your kitchen. The treats can be frozen or the traditional biscuit. Home made treats are affordable and a great way to control the vitamins, minerals, fat and sugar content for your dog. A quick search of the internet will provide easy and affordable recipes.
Food allergies, food sensitivities must be considered when preparing home made treats. And always gently introduce any new foods to a dogs’ diet to test their tolerance.
Stuffed Kongs Kongs remain one of the safest and most reliable vehicle for dog treats. Kongs come in a variety of sizes and strengths suitable for most dogs. Dog treats, peanut butter, low fat cheese Stuffing a Kong with peanut butter and then freezing the Kong will greatly lengthen the time it takes for a dog to unstuff the Kong. Kongs of any size are a favorite and go to in my household.
Frozen Treats Commercial treats are available but it is also just as easy and less expensive to freeze your own treats. Healthy vegetables for dogs include frozen vegetables (approved veggies only) such as green beans make a great frozen and healthy treat.
Rawhide Rawhide remains controversial amongst pet owners. Veterinary professionals advise against raw hide due to its’ propensity to break apart which can cause digestive issues and be a choking hazard. Check the origin of the rawhide. Reports have been consistent of non American rawhide being laced with chemicals.
American made rawhide should be the only and first consideration. Some veterinary professionals cautiously approve pressed rawhide. Pressed rawhide is sturdier and the composition and manufacture of the rawhide helps little pieces of rawhide from breaking off and being swallowed.
Jerky Jerky is a dried meat most dogs will covet. It makes a great training treat for a puppy and high quality jerky will be low in additives. Jerky can be high in calories, use discretion.
Puzzle Toys Who doesn’t love a good puzzle? Many puzzles are on the market that test your dogs’ will to beat the puzzle and win the treat. Some of the puzzles are quite expensive with no guarantee of its’ longevity. My dog happens to be puzzle friendly and will quickly figure out the puzzle, get the treat and move on. This Busy Buddy Nibble Kibble Meal Dispensing Ball was a huge success for my dog. The ball dispenses kibble while the dog has a literal ball flinging the ball around the house. (Careful of the walls! I do confine this toy/ball to the kitchen and den area, depends upon how energetic your dog may be.) The puzzle balls which can be stuffed with treats tend to keep my dog busier for longer. Another area where trial and error is necessary to find which toy suits both your needs.
Hazardous Foods For Dogs The American Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has an extensive list of foods which could be hazardous to your dog if ingested. Always a good idea to keep these in mind. None of these items should ever be used in a home made treat.
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Soup Mix
Dental Chews Dental chews are increasingly popular and can serve the dual purpose of being used a treat and having dental benefits. The chews can:
- satisfy the urge to chew
- be a stimulating activity
- maintain gum health
- help control tartar buildup
- help control plaque
- help control bad breath
Dental chews should be digestible, decrease tartar and be tasty to the dog. Just as humans have there food preferences, dogs do also.
Trial and error may be necessary to find a bone that satisfies the three conditions and is palatable to the dog.
Dog Treats Made In The USA
Professionals do advise to purchase dog treats made in the USA due to prior findings of unhealthy additives to dog treats made by some manufacturers outside the USA. Dog toys are also included in the advice.
If you are looking for dog treats made in the USA, add made in the USA to your internet search. I have tried many of the below treats and well, my fluffball is not one to be picky with treats. He loves them all!
Healthy Dog Treats And Dog Dental Treats
In an effort to help owners distinguish between different types of dental products which are healthy for your pet, the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has given its’ seal of acceptance to many products. The list can be found on their website. The VOHC seal of acceptance “recognizes products that meet pre-set standards of plaque and calculus (tartar retardation) in dogs and cats.”
The VOHC sets the protocol and independent testing is performed to determine the adherence to the protocols. A multitude of options exist when choosing a treat for your dog. Careful consideration and a little research will ensure your pet is receiving healthy treats to help it live a happy and healthy life.