Choosing the right dog treats for your pup is a big decision. Dog owners usually spend a lot of time researching what to feed their pets, but many do not consider how they are going to treat them. In this article, we will talk about different types of dog treats and which ones might be best for your furry friend!
Why Do We Give Our Dogs Treats?
Many dog owners give their pups treats as a form of bonding. Dogs love getting anything that’s special, and playing with people and other pets is an important way to bond with them. And we all know how rewarding it feels when our pup gives us those devoted eyes in return! But giving your pet treats can also serve as a form of positive reinforcement for good behavior.
It is important to understand that not all dog treats are created equal, and each type has its own benefits for your pet.
Check the Ingredients on Dog Treat Labels
It is important to check labels on the ingredients in both dog food and dog treats. Why?
Many dog owners do not know that the ingredients in their pets’ food and treats can make them sick. Some common problems with dogs who eat some foods on a regular basis are skin inflammation, ear infections, upset stomachs, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Frequent consumption of these types of products can lead to obesity as well. So, it’s important to know what is in your dog treats.
Signs of Poor-Quality Dog Treats
Cheap or poor-quality dog treats often include the following ingredients:
- Food dyes
- BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole)
- Sugar (and sugar substitutes)
These ingredients can be detrimental to your dog’s health in small or large quantities. We suggest buying high-quality dog foods made from real ingredients. Or, as we will discuss in the next section, try an alternative to commercial dog treats.
Healthy Alternatives to Commercial Dog Treats
Dog treats do not have to be bone-shaped starchy treats. Instead, you can try these healthy alternatives to commercial dog treats:
- Fruits (like bananas, apple slices, or berries)
- Vegetables (for example, carrots, or cucumbers)
- Unsweetened frozen yogurt in an ice cube trays a flavor your pup enjoys!
- Unsweetened peanut butter in a toy
These options are both cost-effective and healthier for your dog. Like anything, however, they should be given in moderation. Remember, dog treats are a training tool, not a snack!
How Much is Too Much?
When it comes to treating your dog, you should be mindful of how much they are consuming. If he is sedentary or has a weight problem, then limit treats until his activity level increases and/or he drops some pounds!
We suggest only using treats for those exceptional instances where your dog is on its best behavior. Otherwise, stick to a healthy diet of quality dog food!
Dogs have an innate desire to work for rewards. When your pup does something good, use positive reinforcement and give him a treat as you would any other member of the household. If your pet has been naughty or is on “time out,” then do not reward them. Instead, continue working toward training them on the desired behavior.
Praise Comes in Many Forms
Positive reinforcement does not always have to come in the form of treats. Praise, petting, and gentle words all work well! It is really about what your dog is motivated by.
For instance, some dogs are not driven by food at all and prefer to be praised or petted. While other dogs are extremely food-oriented and will do practically anything for a tasty morsel.
The best way to find out what your dog likes is through trial and error. When you test different rewards, take note of the things that motivate him or her. Then use these as positive reinforcement tools in training.
Dogs are smart, and eventually, your pup will learn what behaviors are rewarded. What matters is consistency and patience!