How to Decide Which Treats Are Best for Your Dog
Author: Amanda Brahlek
Dog owners all agree that their four-legged best friends deserve the best treats. But when it comes to rewarding your dogs, it can be difficult to decide which treats are the best choice for every individual dog’s needs. This decision becomes even more complicated when you take into account the wide selection of treat types, ingredients, and prices on the market. If you’re one of the many dog owners that want to learn which type of dog treat is the most beneficial for your dog, this article is for you.
Choosing the right treats for your best friend is much simpler when you understand the differences between dog treat types and how to identify quality dog treats.
How to Choose the Healthiest Dog Treats
When selecting the best treats for your dog, you can narrow down your options by eliminating choices that aren’t healthy for your pup. The easiest way to determine if a treat is healthy is by reading the ingredients list. Dog treat companies use some ingredients to make their treats more attractive to dog owners and pups, but these unnatural ploys are often unhealthy.
Ingredients to avoid:
- Artificial color
- Artificial flavoring
You want to choose treats that have ingredients that are good for your dog. In addition to tasting great, beneficial ingredients will help support your dog’s health. Treats made from real animal products are the best choice for secondary health benefits.
Dog treats made with animal products are a rich source for:
- Amino acids
Often, the highest quality treats have limited ingredients. Why limited ingredients? The best recipes for dogs are simple. The less that goes into a treat, the better control of your dog’s diet. Furthermore, fewer ingredients make it more difficult to hide ingredients that are bad for your dog.
Why the Quality of Your Dog’s Treats Matter
Dog treats make up about 10% of your dog’s diet. This is quite significant when it comes to your dog’s health. You want to give your dog treats that are just as healthy as the food you feed them.
Some Dog Treats Can Be Harmful to Your Dog
Many dog treat companies favor profits over the wellbeing of their canine customers. This is reflected in recipes with ingredients that are mostly fillers like corn, which have no nutritional benefits for your dog.
Some companies even cut corners or disregard dog safety by selling treats like rawhide, which is known to be a choking hazard and contain harmful chemicals. Other treats contain artificial coloring and questionable preservatives. These ingredients, like BHA, are considered carcinogens and can increase your dog’s likelihood of developing cancer.
What Treats Are Best for Your Dog?
These tiny, bite-sized treats motivate dogs that are learning new tricks, leash etiquette, and manners. Training treats are also a great choice for dogs that need to lose weight. The best training treats have a rich smell and can be chewed and swallowed within seconds.
You can turn Gullet Bites into training treats by snipping with scissors into pea-sized treats.
Perfect for: Because of their size and purpose, training treats are great for puppies, dogs on diets, and dogs-in-training.
Bully Sticks give dogs long-lasting entertainment and a healthy outlet for excess energy. Often with just one ingredient, these make a healthy choice rich in nutritional elements that support your dog’s internal health, as well. The meaty texture also naturally brushes away plaque for better dental health. These treats keep dogs occupied for a length of time.
Perfect for: Chew treats work well for teething puppies, dogs with anxiety, dogs that need a boost of mental stimulation, and dogs that have a higher chewing instinct.
Dental chews are made with corn starch to form a porous texture that rubs away plaque. These treats can contain baking soda and chlorophyll for extra cleaning power and better breath.
Perfect for: Dental treats work well for most dogs on a daily basis.
Hooves and Bones
These natural chew toys are filled with flavor and fun. Hooves and bones keep dogs entertained for hours and can be stored between chew sessions, making them a great value. You can even fill your dog’s hoof with peanut butter and put it in the freezer overnight as a high-value treat to reduce separation anxiety.
Perfect for: Heavy chewers and dogs that need extra mental engagement or a treat for dogs with separation anxiety love hooves and bones.
Pig and Cow Ears
You can practically hear how much fun your dog is having when they receive a cow ear or pig ear. These treats offer excellent chewing resistance for long-lasting flavor and play for the perfect outlet for your dog’s energy.
Perfect for: These treats offer great chew resistance for light to heavy chewers of any age.
Trachea and Gullet Sticks
These thin, crispy treats really get dogs’ tails wagging. They are lighter weight than heavier chew treats, making them a healthy choice to keep dogs with lighter chewing needs engaged. Trachea and Gullet Sicks make for an ideal treat for any occasion.
Perfect for: Dogs that benefit most from trachea and gullet treats are light chewers, senior dogs, puppies, and “anytime treats” for any dog.
Treat Your Dog to a Lifetime of Health
Your dog deserves treats that will support a lifetime filled with love and fun. When shopping for your dog’s treats, always read the ingredient list. Then choose treats free of unhealthy ingredients like artificial preservatives and colors. Select chews and treats that reflect your dog’s chewing habits, dental needs, and energy levels.
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