Ensuring your dog has a healthy diet goes beyond picking the right dog food, as you also need to consider the imapct of dog treats on their diet. Dog owners love giving their dogs treats once in a while either as just a way of pampering them, to reward good behavior, or for training purposes. So this means that dog treats should also be considered as a part of a dog’s diet. Choosing healthy dog treats for your dog is just as important as choosing the right dog food.
But as healthy as they are, keep in mind that treats shouldn’t make up for more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Fortunately by considering the information in this article, you can improve the diet of your pup.
Avoid ingredients that can harm your dog
When searching for healthy dog treats, the first thing you’ll need to do is look at the nutritional facts label. Start looking for treats that clearly show the number of calories in each treat. This will make it easier for you to put aside the maximum amount of treats you can feed your dog each day. Besides looking at the number of calories, it’s also important to look at a treat’s fat content as this is the main component that can lead to a dog gaining too much weight.
It’s very common for dog treats to have high amounts of fat or sugar as this will make them a lot more appealing to dogs. Avoid buying treats that have potential allergens and artificial sweeteners but watch out for grain-free treats. When the grain is removed there may be other ingredients added to them like fat. If your dog has any type of sensitivities or allergies also make sure to keep that in mind before making a final decision.
If you’re buying anything that is not labeled as being safe for dogs, do some research on what foods dogs can and cannot eat. However, it’s better to stick to buying treats that are formulated especially for dogs as it’s almost impossible for these to contain any ingredient that can be toxic to them or cause any digestion problems.
The final thing to consider when buying your dog’s next favorite treats is to avoid the following:
- Artificial preservatives like BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, potassium sorbate, sodium nitrate, and calcium propionate;
- Artificial coloring;
- Chemical humectants such as propylene glycol;
- Glycerin if it’s not identified as “vegetable glycerin”.
What dog owners usually forget to consider when choosing healthy dog treats
There are two very important aspects that dog owners commonly forget to consider when they’re in the process of choosing their dog’s new favorite treat. They are size and toughness.
For a treat to be safe, its size needs to be appropriate to the dog’s size. Small dogs shouldn’t have large treats and it’s not recommended to feed small treats to a large dog. If the treats you got are too big for your dog, you can break them into smaller-sized to make them safer. This will also cut down on the calories per treat and the treat package will last longer too.
But when getting their dogs a bigger treat like rawhide, dog owners should keep an eye on them. Some of these bigger treats can break down into smaller pieces and these small pieces can become a choking hazard. The other important aspect you should consider is the toughness of the treat. A healthy dog treat should be easy on a dog’s teeth so skip anything that’s too hard like bones or hooves.
To know if a treat is too hard for a dog or not, push your thumbnail into a treat. If it leaves a mark, it’s safe. Otherwise, it’s too hard and it can harm your dog’s teeth.
Why do some dog owners buy organic dog treats?
In the U.S., the organic pet food and treats market is regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AFFCO). The AAFCO states that pet foods and pet treats must comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program regulations which covers:
- Ingredient sourcing and handling;
- Labeling & certification of organic products.
This means that certified organic dog treats will have a “Certified Organic” seal on them and must be made with certified organic ingredients. It’s important to note that organic ingredients are GMO-free and haven’t been treated with chemical pesticides or any synthetic fertilizers that can potentially harm a dog’s health.
More and more people are turning towards an organic diet and some dog owners are considering doing the same for their furry best friends. The goal of going organic is to eliminate potentially harmful chemicals and artificial ingredients from a diet.
Making sense of it all
Although treats aren’t formulated to be nutritionally balanced on their own, they also play a big role in a dog’s diet. That’s why it’s important to choose dog treats that are as healthy as possible. Dogs will surely prefer treats that are high in fats or sugars. But it’s easy to lose track of the number of treats you give your dog so choosing treats with high fat and sugar contents increases your dog’s risk of gaining too much weight.
Set yourself and your dog up for success by taking a look at the nutritional facts label and avoiding anything that can harm your dog.