Woof woof! It’s me, your furry friend, ready to paw-sitively share with you why choosing the right treat matters from a dog’s perspective. As much as we love treats, they can have a significant impact on our health and well-being, and it’s essential to choose the right one.
1. Ingredients – As a dog, I can’t read the ingredients list and tell you what’s good or bad, but I can certainly share what I like. Treats that are made with natural ingredients like chicken, turkey, beef, and vegetables are paw-fect for me. I tend to avoid treats that have a lot of artificial preservatives, chemicals, and fillers, as those can cause health issues like digestive problems, allergies, and even cancer.
2. Calories – While treats are an excellent source of motivation and reward, they shouldn’t make up a significant portion of my daily caloric intake. As much as I would love to indulge in treats, it’s crucial to keep my weight in check. Overfeeding me with treats can lead to obesity, which is associated with many health issues like heart disease, arthritis, and metabolic disorders. So, please keep the treat portion size in check, and don’t overdo it.
3. Consistency – As a dog, I love routine, and I’m sure you do too. It’s essential to maintain a consistent treats routine to keep me healthy and happy. Feeding me different types of treats every time can create confusion and mess up my digestive system. Also, changing treats can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. So, stick to the same type of treats and frequency, and we’ll be good to go.
4. Purpose – Treats serve a specific purpose, training, and reward. It’s essential to choose the right treats for each purpose. For example, for training purposes, small, soft, and crunchy treats work best as they are easy to handle, and I can finish them quickly. However, for a rewarding treat, a little larger one, like a pig’s ear or bone, is great! They keep me occupied for a while and drive away boredom.
5. Variety – Last but not least, variety is the spice of life, and it applies to treats too. While keeping consistency is essential, a little variety never hurts. Introducing me to new and exciting treats is like an adventure for my taste senses, and I love it! But please remember to introduce new treats gradually to check if they suit my dietary requirements.
Sharing Treats with Your Dog: The Dos and Don’ts
Do: Choose Healthy Treats
Just like humans, dogs need a balanced diet to stay healthy. Treats should only make up 10% of our daily food intake. When choosing a treat for us, make sure it’s healthy and low in calories. Vegetables, like carrots or green beans, are a great option. If you’re looking for something store-bought, read the ingredients carefully and make sure it doesn’t contain anything harmful to dogs, such as chocolate, onions, or grapes. Trust me, we’ll appreciate a healthy treat just as much as a junk food treat.
Don’t: Share Human Food
I know it’s tempting to share your delicious human food with us, but please don’t. Many human foods, such as chocolate, avocado, and coffee, are toxic to dogs and can cause health problems, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. Also, human food can cause obesity and dental problems in dogs. It’s best to stick to dog treats or healthy vegetables.
Do: Break Treats into Smaller Pieces
If you have a big treat, it’s best to break it into smaller pieces before giving it to us. This helps to prevent us from eating too much at once and potentially choking on the treat. Also, it makes the treat last longer and extends the fun of getting a treat.
Don’t: Give Treats to Dogs without Teeth
If your furry friend has lost their teeth due to aging or dental problems, it’s best not to give them treats that are hard or require a lot of chewing. Instead, opt for soft treats or even moistened kibble. For those who have teeth, keep them clean by regularly brushing their teeth and giving dental chews.
Do: Use Treats for Training and Bonding
Treats are a great tool for training and bonding with your furry friend. Use treats as a reward for good behavior and to reinforce commands. This not only helps with obedience, but also strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend.
Woof-Woof, Let’s Talk About Alternatives to Store-Bought Treats
1. Frozen Delights: During hot summer days, there is nothing better than a refreshing frozen treat to cool yourself down. The same goes for us dogs. So, next time, try freezing banana pieces or apple slices and offer them to us as a healthy snack. Another option is freezing low-salt chicken broth in ice trays and offering them as treats.
2. Fruits and Veggies: Most of us love munching on fresh fruits and veggies. They are not only tasty but also full of nutrients. Some of my personal favorites include blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, carrots, and green beans. But remember, not all fruits and veggies are good for us, so make sure to do your research before offering any new food.
3. Homemade Biscuits: Making homemade dog biscuits is surprisingly easy and fun. You can mix different grains and flours like whole wheat, cornmeal, and oats with peanut butter, applesauce, or pumpkin puree to make a dough. Then, shape them into bite-sized biscuits and bake them in the oven. Voila! Homemade treats are ready.
4. Meaty Delicacies: Being a carnivore, I always love meaty treats. You can offer us lean meats like chicken, turkey, or fish cooked, grilled, or dehydrated. Liver treats are also a great option as they are nutrient-dense and come in different varieties like chicken, beef, or lamb.
5. Special Occasion Treats: Sometimes, we dogs want to celebrate special occasions like birthdays, holidays, or milestones. And just like humans, we love special foods on those occasions. You can try making dog-friendly cakes, muffins, or pies using ingredients like pureed pumpkin, flour, eggs, and peanut butter. Just make sure to avoid ingredients like chocolate, sugar, and artificial sweeteners that are toxic to us dogs.