As pet owners, we love to show our dogs how special they are with an occasional healthy dog treat. Luckily these days there are many tasty and nutritious snacks from which to choose. But, how do you determine the right healthy treat for your dog?
Healthy Dog Treats Are Great Rewards
Just like humans, our dogs love the occasional yummy snack, but it is always best to stick to healthy dog treats. Dog treats are great rewards if you’re training your dog through positive reinforcement dog training. Not only is it wonderful to create a pleasurable experience for your pet, some kinds of treats can help your pet stay healthy. And, there are several treat dispensing dog toys on the market etc.) that can be used in conjunction with your dog’s favorite snack to provide hours of fun and entertainment for her. There are, however, several things you should consider when selecting a healthy treat for your dog.
Obesity is one of the fastest growing health problems for dogs in the US - nearly half of all pets are overweight. As in humans, obesity may contribute to a wide range of health problems, including arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Overindulgence can be the cause of weight gain in many dogs. This is because we don’t necessarily realize how many treats we give our dogs throughout the day and how many calories those tasty dog treats really contain. For example, a large biscuit may contain well over 100 calories. A good rule of thumb is to stick with low calorie dog treats, or break larger treats into many pieces to use throughout the day. If your pet is overweight, you might consider cutting back his dog food and his treat consumption until he reaches a healthy weight. If you think your dog is overweight, talk to your vet about what you can do to implement a healthy feeding and exercise routine.
Avoid Table Scraps
Resist the urge to sneak Fido snacks from the dinner table. People food tends to be high in calories and fat and low in vitamins and nutrients. What’s more, some people food is dangerous for dogs (like chocolate), and some products can be at the root of food intolerances including wheat, corn, and soy. Furthermore, feeding your dog from the table can encourage your dog to beg. No matter how tempting it is, for the sake of your dog’s health, try never to share table scraps with your pup, opt for healthy dog treats instead.
Tips for Choosing The Right Dog Treats
So how do you choose the right healthy treat for your dog? Here are some tips:
First off, always buy treats made with natural ingredients. Treats loaded with sugar and fat aren’t good for you or your dog! Look for treats made from whole grains like oats or quality, single source proteins like chicken or lamb. Fish is a great snack for dogs, and it’s low in fat and calories.
Don’t let her fill up on dog treats before meals. If you take positive reinforcement training classes with your dog, cut back her dinner portion on class days, when you know you will be feeding her extra treats.
Try giving your pet treats that benefit her health. Many dog treats are now formulated with supplements like glucosamine which can help maintain joint health and even relieve symptoms of arthritis. Look for bite-sized dog treats that are low in calories.
Don’t let treats make up more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet. Use your best judgment when deciding what dog treats are best for your pup. Learn to read labels and check ingredients. Make sure your dog’s overall diet is balanced and nutritious and she will be with you for a long, long time.