Every dog loves treats. You can guarantee that anything sweet, salty, or savory you put in front of your dog will get devoured almost immediately.
But that doesn’t mean that you should put anything and everything in front of your dog. They’re not a garbage can, and they’re also not quite keen enough to “watch what they eat” for themselves.
That’s why you’ve got to be the gatekeeper. Your dog loves treats, and you probably love giving your dog treats! That’s great! But you should still make sure that you’re providing your furry little one with some healthy options.
Here are 4 tips for making sure that the treats you give your dog are super healthy and yummy!
1. Keep treats small
Yep, portion control is a thing for dogs too. Especially when pet owners are training their dogs, “over-treating” can become a problem. With that being said, offering treats for every job well-done is a key part of the training process, so you shouldn’t stop altogether.
All you need to do is keep the treats that you do give your dog small. You can find bite sized “training treats” at most pet stores around Birmingham, or if you’re preparing your own treats, just make sure to cut them into tiny pieces. Fido doesn’t need an entire bone for every handshake, and he’ll be just as happy with a little congratulatory nibble.
2. Watch out for funky ingredients in store-bought treats
As humans, we read the ingredients lists on our food to check for those pesky preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and other chemical-based ingredients. We should do the same for our pets.
Store-bought treats for your dog certainly aren’t all bad, but the next time you head out shopping in Birmingham for dog treats, just take a moment to check out the ingredients list. Avoid foods that contain artificial preservatives, artificial colors, chemical humectants, and basically any ingredient that you’ve never heard of or that you can’t pronounce. Likewise, remember that if sweeteners are included in the treats, they should be food-based and natural.
3. Don’t rule out fruits and veggies
Just as they are for humans, fruits and veggies are healthy for dogs as well. And just like humans, dogs have particular preferences. You may find that the first six or seven fruits or vegetables that you try giving to your dogs are rejected, but that eighth option might be right up their alley.
Some veggie suggestions are baby carrots, broccoli, and green beans. Fruit suggestions are apple slices, berries, and watermelon. Just remember that certain fruits and veggies are off-limits. In particular, steer clear of onions, raisins, and grapes.
4. Stay away from sugar
Unless you plan on brushing your dog’s teeth every night, avoid giving your dog any type of sugar. Over time, eating sugar will rot their teeth and leave them with severe pain that they unfortunately won’t be able to tell you about because, well, dogs can’t talk! And of course, remember that chocolate can be toxic for dogs, so never give them anything that has chocolate in it.
Most of the wonderful dogs that we treat at Liberty Animal Hospital have loving parents who want to give their furry ones yummy and healthy treats. But a lot of our human patients don’t understand that that means doing a little extra work. Dogs shouldn’t just eat anything and everything. Be choosy about your dog treats, and Fido will thank you!