Most pet owners are guilty of indulging their dogs with a treat every now and then, with some giving them a daily tasty morsel and others reserving them from training.
Whichever camp you fall into, you’ve probably wondered from time to time whether those treats that your pooch loves so much are actually any good for them.
In the past, people wouldn’t give too much thought to what ingredients were in their pet food or treats, but it wasn’t until recently that we realized this approach wouldn’t work anymore.
Dogs require a very specific diet and as we learn more about what’s right and wrong for their nutritional needs, the focus on dog treats and whether or not they were actually healthy was bought up again.
This article is going to look at the health factor of dog treats and whether you can feel good feeding them to your pet. we’ll show you how to choose the right ones for your dog and what makes a healthy dog treat these days, so you won’t have to second guess your choices again.
Are Dog Treats Really Okay to Feed Your Dog?
Dog treats have been given a bit of a revamping in recent years, as we as humans put a much greater focus on healthy food choices and natural ingredients it appears we’re doing the same for our pets.
People are now more interested in reading the list of ingredients and knowing what they mean than ever before, so as long as you know what you’re looking for they can be healthy.
Just like everything in life, dog treats should only ever be given in moderation. They’re intended as a sometimes food, a reward for training, or something you give your dog every now and then. Although small, they can be high in calories, so making a healthy choice in their dog treats is incredibly important.
Choosing the Right Dog Treats For Your Pet
Before we can get into the healthy dog treat choices, you need to first think about your own dog and what they need from a treat.
There are a few factors that can help lead you in the right direction, as every dog will have individual needs for what makes the perfect treat for them.
Age of your dog
Dog treats are often categorized into age groups, just like other food. Depending on the age of your dog you’ll want to shop for something appropriate, whether it’s senior dog or puppy treats you’re after.
Allergies and sensitives
Consider if your dog has any existing sensitivity to food, allergies, or medical conditions that prevent them from eating certain things. You may require a special formula treat to meet these requirements, or will have to avoid particular ingredients.
Dogs can be fussy, believe it or not, so choose a treat that matches their flavor palette. If you know they prefer a particular type of meat, then go for something that features that when looking for a treat.
Think about how often you’ll be giving them a treat and for what purpose.
Training treats will usually be a lot smaller because they’ll be fed more frequently, whereas treats designed to keep their attention for a while will probably be larger and harder to chew.
What to Look For in a Healthy Dog Treat
Choosing a healthy dog treat is much like choosing healthy snacks for a child, and there are a few features you can look at that will make it easier to find one that’s actually nutritious. Consider these when you’re looking for something healthy that your dog will still enjoy eating.
As a general rule, PetMD states that your dog treats should make up no more than 10 percent of their daily calories. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and their caloric requirements will differ greatly, so speak with your vet if you want a better idea of what targets they should be hitting.
Avoid anything that’s too hard for them to chew on, like bones or antlers. Although marketed as safe for dogs they can do a lot of damage to their teeth. Choose softer treats that won’t be hard for them to get through.
A good dog treat should offer nutritional support, much like their regular dog food that you feed them. Make sure the ingredients in the treat are part of a balanced diet and won’t through off their regular food intake with too much fat or sodium.
Dog treats might still be healthy even with additives, as long as you know what to look for. If flavor enhancers have been added make sure they’re all natural, and not things like salt or sugar that they’ve thrown in to make them taste better.
The fewer ingredients a dog treat has the better, with your best option being only single ingredient treats like turkey or beef tendon. Keep things simple and avoid any fillers or unknown ingredients that you have to research just to be sure they’re safe.
Giving Your Dog the Best in Nutrition
Dog treats are one way that we can make our pet feel special and rather than giving them up altogether, we can start to shop for healthier choices instead.
These days it’s easy to find a range of dog treats that are healthy and nutritious, but you have to know what you’re looking for.
No matter what type of treat you choose, always remember that these should be given in moderation, even if they’re healthy.
Dog treats shouldn’t be their main diet and should only ever make up a tiny percentage of their daily calories, and when given sporadically they’ll have a much more positive impact on your pet.