As a dog owner you will probably go out of your way to find the healthiest, tastiest treats that your dog just loves! The selection of dogs treats available to purchase for your dog is enormous, so how do you decide what to purchase for your pet? Some considerations you may need to consider is if your dog has any allergies, tummy issues and what is the purpose of the treat.

The purpose of the treat is divided into three categories:

  1. Training: What I like to call the jackpot treat. This type of treat is only used for training purposes and will not be given to the dog for any other purposes other than working. It is essential that you keep this treat at jackpot level. If you give your dog this treat for everyday needs your pup will not work for the treat and why would they! If your pup is getting an amazing, delicious treat for doing nothing, why would they work for it! If you are ever part of a group training class and you see another dog who is killing it and doing everything right whereas your dog isn’t having that much luck. The key and secret to the success is the quality of the treat. The stinkier, smellier the treat the better the dog performs. Type of treats that are jackpot treats are dried liver, dried chicken, sausage and beef. You can also human quality food like lunch meat, cheese, chicken, beef and fish. I like to mix it up with treats when working with my pup. Important to note that the treat does not need to be big, break up your treats into small tiny pieces.
  2. Everyday Needs: This type of treat is what I describe as okay you are sitting looking at me with those big wide eyes and oh so cute so you deserve a treat! Also used for reinforcing good behaviours and being an awesome pup! These type of treats tend to be small bite-sized nibbles like biscuits and soft meat treats.
  3. Home Alone: Something of high reward and will keep your pup busy for at least a few minutes. Great ideas are stuffed kongs; you can give your pup some portion of their dinner in their kong. A great way to make it last is mix your dogs kibble with dog approved peanut butter and freeze for a couple of hours before giving it to your pup. This pupsicle will keep them nice and busy. Other alternatives are bully sticks, dentasticks and dehyrdated treats. These type of treats are good if your are training your pup to like their crate and create positive associations.

What makes a good dog treat?

Just like when you are choosing quality food for ourselves, the less processing the better.

  • Freeze dried and dehydrated treats only have one ingredient and that’s the meat itself. You can make¬†your own dehydrated treats to save costs in the long run. These treats will be the most expensive due to the ingredient used
  • Fruit & Vegetables are a great way to provide as a treat to your dog, some will also have the added benefit of acting as a dental chew. Raw sweet potato, carrots, celery, apples and more
  • Added Vitamins and Nutrients
  • Limited Ingredients; treats that have too many ingredients is a bad sign. They can be filled with a lot of preservatives and unnecessary fillers. Check the ingredients and if there is more than 10 and ingredients you don’t recognise the names AVOID these treats
  • Do not select treats from countries who have poor quality control such as China
  • Make them yourself; if you make your own you control the quality and freshness of the ingredients

It is extremely important that you take into account how many treats you are giving your pup each day and reduce their meals as necessary. For everyday needs, the best choice is low calorie options so your pup can enjoy a few treats throughout the day without having to worry if they are going to gain weight.

When introducing new treats to your pup you will need to introduce them slowly to avoid upset tummies and if they are having a bad reaction that is visible by their stool then it’s best to not continue to use those treats. Take note of the ingredients and it will help you when making the decision on your next treat purchase. More and more dogs are showing signs of food allergies and certain ingredients just don’t agree with them. If their poop isn’t right, something isn’t right!

What treats does your dog love? Have you ever made your own? We’d love to hear from you!