Finding treats suitable for training sessions, improving mood and nutrition, as well as reinforcing positive behavior are essential components of success for any pet owner and his/her pup. But what makes a good treat?
Ideal dog treats should provide high value and variety. Select treats with appealing textures and flavors such as chews or treats made of meaty chews.
1. High-quality protein
Proteins are vitally important to dogs’ wellbeing as they form the building blocks for muscles and many other body systems. High-quality proteins also play an integral part in maintaining healthy skin and coats.
Choose treats made of high-quality whole meat sources rather than those composed largely of by-products or fillers, and try to select products with short and recognizable ingredient lists, with animal sources featured prominently as indicators that they form part of the treat’s makeup.
Fresh fruits and vegetables make great treats for your dog as long as their size allows (choosing smaller pieces to avoid choking). Strawberries offer antioxidants, vitamin C and fresh breath benefits while apple slices can keep teeth clean while refreshing breath – just be careful with their sugar content as these treats should only be given occasionally!
2. Good source of fiber
Fiber is essential in dogs’ diets as it regulates bowel movements and prevents constipation. Furthermore, fiber also supports healthy digestion, helps control weight, and can alleviate anal gland issues.
Add more fiber into your dog’s diet through various means such as high-fiber food, supplements or feeding fruits and veggies; however, these methods may not suit all dogs due to high amounts of sugar and calories contained within these options.
Try giving your pup apple slices (without the core and seeds) as a natural source of soluble fiber, or offer baby carrots that contain beta carotene and other vitamins for an energy boost. Be wary when selecting treats to feed as larger ones could potentially end up aspirating into their lungs and necessitating medical attention for aspiration pneumonia.
3. Good source of Omega-3 fatty acids
Fish oil provides your pup with essential vitamins and nutrients, particularly DHA which promotes brain development. Omega-3 fatty acids also act as anti-inflammatories to lower his risk of cardiovascular disease.
Plant oils like flaxseed or canola provide omega-3, but the body must convert these to the forms — EPA and DHA — required by your dog. Finding these essential fatty acids easier in animal-based foods like salmon, sardines or anchovies.
Treats that require your pup to gnaw on them can damage his teeth and lead to gum problems; consider soft treats like shredded chicken or dental chews instead.
4. Good source of antioxidants
Antioxidants are essential to your dog’s wellbeing as they help combat the oxidation process that takes place when they consume food, strengthen the immune system, promote eye and skin health and enhance joint functionality.
Dark chocolate, berries, coffee and extra virgin olive oil all contain antioxidants; however, be careful about giving too many treats to your pup as these could contain excessive calories or have other detrimental side effects.
Choose low-calorie treats such as Greenies and Chippin’s Organic Blueberry Antioxidant Treats instead. This tasty treat uses US-sourced ingredients like sweet potato and silver carp (an overpopulated species that helps restore biodiversity to US waterways), making these an excellent way to enjoy delicious snack without adding unnecessary calories and sugar! Plus they’re low on the sweet scale too!
5. Good source of calcium
Treats that provide their canines with calcium are key for maintaining bone health. Good options include yogurt (look for low-fat, sugar-free varieties), cottage cheese and sardines as treats that contain plenty of this mineral.
Sardines can be an excellent source of calcium, but their oil-rich composition could contribute to weight gain or worsen conditions like pancreatitis or gout if fed too frequently. Therefore, be wary when feeding too many to yourself.
Rawhide can also cause irreparable tooth damage if your dog does not actively gnaw at their teeth to clean them, as the soften and become chewable. Consider giving treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council such as Greenies or Whimzees instead; smaller dental chews could potentially be swallowed whole and aspirated into their lungs, leading to serious respiratory complications.