I want to give my dog treats when he's a good dog and just for fun, but I also want to make smart choices about his health. There are so many dog treat options – how do I choose a good one?
Making choices among treats can seem so overwhelming. There are some simple guidelines that can help you to make reasonable choices about treats - both quality and quantity - supporting good health and still allowing for some fun.
Dog treats are not to substitute food.
Treats should never provide more than 10% of a dog's energy/calorie intake, and a 5% target is better. Unlike commercially prepared dog foods, dog treats are not complete nutrition. Providing too many treats actually upsets the nutritional balance of the regular ration.
"Overfeeding treats may interfere with your dog's appetite for his regular food."
Overfeeding treats will interfere with your dog's appetite for his regular food. This can contribute to a nutritional imbalance in the long term, and can turn him into a 'fussy eater,' making it particularly challenging to use therapeutic nutrition should the need arise later in life to manage a disease nutritionally.
Finally, too many unhealthy treats may contribute to dogs becoming overweight and obese - both conditions are now afflicting family dogs at epidemic rates. While exercise does play a small role in maintaining optimal body condition, nutritional science tells us that 'calories in' is by far the most important part of the equation.
I’ve been told my dog is overweight and he is eating a special food to help him lose weight. Are there treats that he can have?
Water based vegetables like green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower are low calorie snacks. Not all vegetables fall into this category. For instance, carrots are surprisingly calorie-dense, so they do not make good treats for dogs. Fresh or frozen green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower are crunchy and inexpensive easy snacks. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before feeding any vegetables in case there are vegetables your dog should not eat.
You can also try Captain Zack Treats with 100% Natural Ingredients to make sure your pet gets all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and love!