Your dog is your beloved best friend. He provides constant devoted companionship and he helps you become a healthier version of yourself.
He’s also a silly goof that just LOVES getting treats! With how excited he gets when you give him treats, you love giving them to him.
But to be a responsible pet owner, you need to know a few things about those treats. Not all dog treats are created equal and not all dog treats are good for your faithful companion.
Also, how often and when you give treats matters. Consider these 7 suggestions for giving treats to your dog to treat your best friend right.
Follow the 10% Rule
Obese pets are a growing concern among pet owners in the US. In fact, already more than half of the dogs in the US are overweight and even obese.
Overweight animals, just like humans, are more susceptible to health problems and other concerns. To take good care of your dog you want to feed him a healthy diet and keep his weight down.
To help with this, you should make sure that you’re not overfeeding treats. They can be a helpful training tool (and your dog loves them) but you don’t need to overdo it.
Use the 10% rule as a guide. Make sure that only 10% of your dog’s diet comes from treats. The rest should come from healthy meals.
Check the Ingredients
Some low-quality dog treats are full of cheap fillers and undesirable ingredients. Those don’t provide much nutrition for your dog and can contribute to weight problems.
Look for high-quality treats that have real meat and vegetables on the list of ingredients. Not only will they taste better, but they are better for your dog’s health.
Some dogs have allergies to specific ingredients as well. Keeping an eye on what you’re feeding him will help you determine and avoid whatever bothers him.
Use Up Your Leftovers
Don’t have any treats on hand? You might be able to use up some of your leftovers this way.
You shouldn’t give a dog food from the table. That can foster begging and other bad manners.
But, pull a nice piece of chicken or cheese out of the fridge to use during a training session. You can bet that you’ll have your dog’s full attention once he gets a whiff!
You can even offer fruits like banana or watermelon. Your dog may even eat carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower. Dogs often don’t care as much about how something tastes, they’re just excited that you’re giving them something!
Make Your Own Dog Treats
To really show your dog that you love him, you can even make your own dog treats.
You can get fancy and bake him some special biscuits. He’ll even be happy with a few handfuls of plain air-popped popcorn. Or you can do something simple with these sweet potato chews. These make a great alternative to rawhide.
As you may know, rawhide is potentially full of harmful chemicals that your dog shouldn’t be eating. But a natural sweet potato that is full of good nutrition is good for him and full of flavor that he’s sure to love.
Know the Foods that Are Harmful
Do you plan to make your own dog treats or feed him from the fridge? Then you need to know the common “people” foods that are harmful to dogs. Some of them are:
- Grapes and raisins
Not all dogs will react to these foods and a mistake once in a while won’t kill him. But you might get stuck cleaning some runny poo off the floor.
Talk to the Vet
Another great resource for finding the perfect treats for your dog is to talk to your vet. The staff at a pet specialty store are often knowledgeable about the right treats as well. Dogs are different and not every dog will react to treats in the same way.
Is your dog is overweight and you’re looking for some low-calorie, healthy treats? The vet can recommend some good brands that your dog may like.
Is your dog dealing with bad breath or poor dental hygiene? Your vet can help you choose good treats like VetIQ to help with your dog’s dental health.
Ask For a Trick First
Knowing when to give your dog a treat is just as important as what you give him. You shouldn’t get in the habit of handing your dog a treat at random times.
This may get him in the habit of begging for treats all the time. He also may become spoiled and demand treats on his schedule.
To avoid this, always ask your dog to do something before you hand him a treat. In the beginning, this can be something simple like ‘sit’.
But that will become easy for him eventually and you should keep challenging him. It also lets him know that treats aren’t free.
Using treats during all-out training sessions is a great idea as well. But be sure to choose small, low-calorie treats. It’s easy to go overboard during a training session and give your dog more than the recommended 10%.
Have Fun with Your Dog!
Dogs are known as man’s best friend for a reason. They are loving and loyal and your dog will always be by your side.
He’s a big (or little) goof and loves getting treats from you. But more than that, he loves spending time with you.
Even if you never give him a treat, he’ll be happy to hang out with you. Of course, having some treats on hand just makes it that much better!