Just like their human family members, dogs in the family need to have some ‘dessert’. The dessert or snacks are of course called dog treats and we use them both to reward the dog for good behaviour and sometimes just for being our best friends.
But just like human snacks, dog treats need careful analysis because they tend to have the same results. Too much candies and junk foods for humans leads to obesity whereas in moderation the same are a delight. Dogs too can become overweight from indulging in too many treats but in moderation treats are okay. The big question lies in how to choose the best treats for your dog.
Put in mind too that treats can be either healthy or unhealthy. In addition you can decide to buy treats from a store or to make them yourself. Either way, treats made at home can be healthy or unhealthy as can store-bought treats.
Store-bought treats are mostly straight forward to shop with only one rule of thumb: always be sure to read the ingredients list. Some of these treats come in a crunchy form and these are good for the dental health of your dog because the chewing helps in removing plaque from the dog’s teeth. The other form is chewy but these tend to have a lot of sugar.
Like stated earlier, check the ingredients list and if the chewy treat contains artificial sweeteners such as fructose or maple syrup, just pass. The dog does not need the extra sugar to remain healthy and the sugar only acts as empty calories.
Don’t be surprised to find the treat you’re choosing actually has the same ingredients as a main course meal. Most commercial dog treats have the same formulation as actual dog food and the only difference lies in the fun shape the treats come in.
If you decide to make your dog’s treats at home you are also spoilt for choice. If you are a beginner who is not familiar with homemade treats you can search online for sumptuous dog treat recipes. These recipes can help you to make a healthy treat for your dog at home and save you time reading ingredients on store-bought treats.
You can also give your dog fruit slices. You must be careful with this option because there are fruits that are not only unhealthy but lethal for dogs to eat. These include raisins and grapes. Slices of apples and banana are fine but remember the rule is moderation.
Vegetables are a good source of minerals and vitamins for your dog and can therefore be used as treats. Just like fruit though, avoid vegetables that are poisonous to dogs such as onions and leaks. Vegetables you can feed your dog as treats include carrots and green beans. You can decide to either give them to your dog raw or cooked.
Other treats include breads and other human snack food. Chunks of bread are safe for your dog as cereals. Some human snacks such as chocolate are poisonous to dogs so avoid feeding them to dogs at all. The best treats in this category are ones that don’t have any extra sugar in their composition and are low-fat to keep obesity at bay.
The all-time favorite homemade treats for dogs everywhere and one they actually love are meat treats. Choose lean meats for your dog and feed them either cooked or frozen. Good options here are turkey and chicken. Some processed meats are fine too such as sausages and hotdogs as long as they don’t have too much sugar and preservatives.
Personally, I do a mix of both store-bought and homemade treats. I have experimented with all categories and find I like crunchy treats and meat treats the best. But go ahead and try out the different treats to see which ones make your puffball the happiest.