It can be difficult to find a good dog treat. At most pet stores, they take up a full aisle, so it can be overwhelming looking at the different packages and trying to make the best choice for your pet. Treats can be given for training or for rewards, and it’s important to be sure that you’re giving your dog something that won’t be too unhealthy—after all, you wouldn’t eat a dozen cookies in one day, would you?
1) Check the Ingredients
Make sure that treats you’re considering aren’t made with a lot of fat or sugar—instead, check for whole grains and a single source of protein, for instance. Oats and chicken or lamb are good for treats, and filler ingredients shouldn’t be non-nutritious things.
2) Watch the Calories
Even with treats that are made with high-quality ingredients, you need to be mindful of the amount of calories that are in each one, particularly if you’re using them as training treats and giving your dog multiple treats in one go. If you’re giving biscuits, they can really add up and in just a short amount of time cause your dog to gain a lot of weight.
3) Avoid Table Scraps
Table scraps might be what your dog seeks out most, but they’re not very healthy—they can be high in calories, fat and sodium, and they should only be given table scraps on special occasions—most experts say never to do so, but if we’re being realistic, sooner or later you’ll want to give your pooch a piece of chicken or steak.
4) Vegetables Are Great
One way to avoid having to worry about picking out treats is to simply cut up some veggies and use those as treats. Many dogs like carrots, so you can cut up some carrots into small bites (just make sure they won’t choke on them), or try out bell peppers. Make sure that you aren’t giving them anything dangerous, though—dogs aren’t supposed to eat certain foods like avocados, grapes, potatoes, mushrooms, and most tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, pistachios, etc.). Vegetable scraps and chunks can be a great alternative to processed/packaged treats, and they’re low in calories and high in nutrients.
Keeping your dog healthy is part of the responsibilities of being a dog owner. Like you would with your diet, make sure to pay attention to what you’re feeding your pet so that they don’t consume too many calories.