Tips For Choosing Healthy Dog Treats
Now more than ever people are concerned about the type of food they give their dogs. Dogs have definitely become part of the family and as such most people want to feed them food that is healthy. The same goes for dog treats. Most of us give our dogs treats for one reason or another…as a reward for good behavior, for training purposes, or just because we love them! For many years the old fashioned milk bone was the treat of choice for most dog owners. Nowadays though there is much more variety when it comes to choosing treats. You can now find gourmet dog treats that are delicious as well as healthy with ingredients that are good for your dog. These healthy treats will most likely cost you more than the cheaper, less healthy treats. But, it can definitely save you money in the long term. If you feed your dog healthy food and treats, they are more likely to have less health problems and therefore you will have less vet bills. It is really not that much different than with people. The food we put into our bodies plays a major role in our health. Why wouldn’t it be the same for our dogs?
Confusion can set in though with the large variety of gourmet dog treats to choose from on the market today. So how do you choose a good dog treat? How do you know which are the healthiest? Here are some tips for choosing a healthy dog treat.
1. Look at the Ingredients: This is probably the most important thing you can do. Don’t think you can ignore the ingredients just because it’s “only a treat”. Treats play a significant part in most dogs’ diets. You want to look for all natural or organic dog treats. They should be made with natural or organic ingredients. Look for treats made with whole grains such as oats or brown rice and single source proteins like chicken or beef. The first few ingredients are the most important and make up the bulk of the treat. Make sure it’s not sugar or fat which are not good for your dog.
Watch out for the word “by-product”, such as chicken by-product. A by-product is basically a part of the animal that is not fit for human consumption. But these are often seen in many dog foods and treats. If by-products are not good for you they are most likely not good for your dog!
In addition to a single source protein and whole grains, look for treats that have oxidant rich vegetables such as spinach, beans or kelp. Vegetables in general are great for your dog. You can even find treats for the vegetarian dog! Other ingredients to look for are Omega 3 for healthy skin and coat and vitamins A and E for healthy eyes and skin.
2. Calorie Count: Make sure you look at the calories of the treat. An overweight dog is an unhealthy dog and you will end up paying more in vet bills later on if you indulge your dog with fatty treats. Luckily, most healthy dog treats take calorie count into consideration and therefore most are low in fat and calories.
3. Texture: This might not seem very important, and indeed ingredients and calorie count are more significant when it comes to choosing a healthy or organic dog treat. But texture is worth mentioning. A more firm or hard treat is much better for your dog’s dental health than a soft treat. When dogs chew on a hard treat they are also reducing the plaque build up around their teeth. This being said though, the older or senior dog may have a more difficult time with hard treats. If that is the case with your dog, a softer healthy dog treat is the way to go.
No matter what treats you end up giving your dog, the most important thing to consider is the ingredients. It’s worth repeating here. Make sure the treats are made with natural or organic ingredients and have no by-products. If you want to steer clear of treats that contain meat, there are some wonderful peanut butter dog treats as well as fish or vegetable dog treats to choose from. A good tip is to look for bite sized treats that are low in calories and made with natural ingredients. Your dog’s health will benefit in the long run if he eats healthy, wholesome dog treats.