Everyone has their own guilty pleasures. You love your chips and chocolates. And so does your pooch! From time to time he will be staring you with those puppy eyes, and you will be bound to serve the majesty. Okay, jokes apart. Treats are a part of a dog’s regular diet. Although consisting of a mere percentage of a dog’s daily diet. Treats acts as a middle to tell your obedient fellow “Good Boy” and also act as a way to cherish those good times.
Artificial ingredients and harmful preservatives are not uncommon in the dog food/treat industry. Because of which, treats are needed to be wisely picked. Causation is, in the long run, an unhealthy and poorly made treat can eventually cause problems (like diabetes if you’re curious).
So to provide your bud with the healthiest and the most suitable treats possible, here are a few things to keep in mind and consider while getting a bag of them:
1. The Frequency and How Much?
Treats can be a good way to show affection toward your dog. But as they say, an excess of anything is bad. It’s really true in the case of dog treats.
Dog treats are often times low in nutrients and high in calories. While you should always strive to get your dog the healthiest bag of treats possible. Treats should be limited to about 10% of a dog’s daily diet. And some vets even suggests to limit it to 5%. Obviously, it’s not all practical to measure the quantity every time, especially when It’s been fed daily. But you will have to approximately measure it in your head and know it the old way.
At times the treatometer (just came up with that :p) can actually go a lot high. Because come on who can say no to those faces! But, we as a responsible puppy parent will have to make sure to limit most of the treats to activities like training and exercise. Just to satisfy your dog’s palate.
Occasionally a little bit of here and there is always accepted (remember just a little) and your dog’s tastes bud will appreciate it very much :).
2. What to look for?
Bad treats are the one which is very high in calories and very low in nutritional content. They will have artificial ingredients, will be highly processed and also contain a lot of preservatives. In short, it will be far from being “healthy” and “natural“.
A good treat, on the other hand, will be lean and minimally processed.
Treats which are made from very minimally processed meat like Pure Bite, which also uses natural preservatives which is again an attractive feature.
Any minimally processed natural treat is also a good option cause they are most likely to not have those high calories and fats in them. They can also have some amount of protein. That is a win-win.
Similarly, some treats come with added nutrients like protein in them. Which can be a little expensive but are really healthy for dogs as treats.
Apart from those, homemade natural treats are also a very good option. Freeze chicken (or any meat), vegetables like carrot, beans can be a delicacy for your dog. And obviously, those are pretty healthy. One thing to keep in mind if you are going to be feeding fresh items to your dog is that some veggies like onion, garlic, raisins can be harmful to your dog.
It will be better if you can talk to your vet if you are about to feed freshies to your dog. Because your dog can also be allergic to certain fresh food. This in turn can lead your dog to have loose stools or vomit.
3. Will table scrapings work?
I get it, those guys actually do come right when you are eating at your table. With those puppy eyes, it can be really difficult to tell them no. But one should understand that the food we eat, are often times high in sodium levels, sugar and not to mention fats sometimes artificial colors, emulsifiers etc. Our food is often times high in calories (unless you are a fit junkie who eats lean all the time). Which can be really harmful for the health of the dog.
Though your dog will love to snack on those leftover fats and calories. It will not be of the best interest to its health. And can/will cause problems down the road like vomiting, loose stools, gas etc. And if the quantity is more (of the treat that is), your pooch can actually become fussy and will refuse to eat its own dog food. That does not sound good right? Definitely not!
But if what is on your plate is some boiled pieces of broccoli or carrot! Your dog can actually get some of that (but you should always finish your veggies ;p). Although remember highly seasoned veggies are equally bad. And obviously, veggies which are harmful to your dog should always be avoided.
There are thousands of varieties of treats available on the market. Choose wisely and the healthiest one possible. With less processing and added preservatives. Added nutrients are definitely a plus. And apart from that, one can always provide some fresh vegetables and fruit. Or even some freeze meat. Get creative and make some healthy treat yourself, with fine ingredients. If what you’re eating is healthy and suitable for dogs, some leftovers can also work. And always remember to not to overdo on treats!
Treats can be a great way to make the bond between you and your tucker a little stronger! And definitely make your dog happy – because a good treat equals a happy pooch :). As always Good Luck!