Nothing brightens up your dog’s face or perks up his ears more than this one word! Treats to your dog are just like treats for us: something special that provides enjoyment and pleasure!
Grocery Store Convenience
Its kind-of like buying candy for kids… we head straight to the dog food isle of the grocery store to find a yummy treat for our dog. And, just like candy, sometimes these packaged treats can be high in fat, sugar, preservatives, and calories and have very little, if any, nutritional value. But dogs LOVE treats…and we love giving them their treats! It’s a happy, bonding ritual, so it can’t be all bad!
Why Consider Alternatives?
Unlike kids, dogs are open to many different kinds of “treats”. They don’t really care what it is, so much as that you’re just giving them something! Think about replacing store bought treats with healthy fruits and vegetables. It could be one of the best things you’ve ever done for your dog! It will help keep his weight in check, and provide additional nutrients to keep him strong and healthy.
The Right treats!
Some dog-friendly and easily available treats are baby carrots, apples (no seeds), cooked or dehydrated sweet potatoes, air popped pop-corn, pineapple (great frozen!), peas (yep, sometimes they like them!), watermelon, strawberries, bananas, cantaloupe, and fresh green beans. Giving them a spoonful of pumpkin, peanut butter, or plain yogurt is like an ice cream treat to us! Keep in mind that some people food is not good for your dog and may even be toxic. Do your homework, and if you are unsure, ask your vet.
If you’re grilling, broiling, or baking meat for your family’s dinner, it’s perfectly safe to give your dog a very small piece of unseasoned lean beef, salmon or chicken. They’ll think they hit the motherload!
Consider purchasing a food dehydrator. Dehydrated fruits and vegetables will not affect the vitamin and mineral content and will make storing easier. Nearly all fruits and vegetables can be dehydrated. Because the dehydrating process makes food intensely flavorful, you may want to indulge in a few “treats” yourself!
As with anything, moderation is key. Most veterinarians advise that “extra” foods or treats should not comprise more than 10% of your dog’s diet. It would be best to try one new food at a time until you’re sure that it is well tolerated by your dog’s digestive system.