From pigs ears and goats horns to liver treats and frozen dog treats, there are so many different types of dog treats out there but how do you know which are healthy dog treats that are good for your pet? At Petbarn, we’re here to help!
When should I give my dog a treat?
Dog treats shouldn’t be used as a sole source of food as they are often higher in fat, salt, sugar and calories and lower in nutritional value, making them better suited as an occasional reward. Keep in mind that treats should only make up 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake so remember to treat in moderation! Here are some great reasons to give your dog a treat and the best treats to use for those occasions.
Best dog treats to keep them busy
We all know that dogs love to chew so why not give them something they’ll love while keeping their teeth away from your furniture. If you’re looking for the best dog treats to keep your pet happily occupied, then we’ve got you sorted with our range of tough and tasty treats. We highly recommend treats made of natural ingredients such as goat horns, bully sticks and deer antlers, just take care when feeding your pet raw bones and see below for an overview of the potential risks.
Best dog treats to reward good behaviour
Want to reward your dog for being especially good? Much like with humans, the way to many dogs’ hearts is through their tummies so show them how proud you are of their good behaviour with a treat they’ll really love! Natural dog treats such as pork ears, beef ears and lambs ears are irresistible to dogs but as they’re high in fat, they should only be reserved for special occasions. Good behaviours that should definitely be reinforced with a delicious dog treat include pooping in the right spot, being well-behaved during a grooming session, and staying brave during a thunderstorm.
Best dog training treats
The best dog training treats are often those that are smaller in size and contain less calories, such as liver thins. Use these treats during training sessions to reinforce desired behaviour such as correctly responding to a verbal or physical cue. Make sure to only give a treat to your dog when they’re calm and attentive, not when they’re jumping up and over-excited as you don’t want to encourage this. Hold your training session in between meals – not right before or right after – so your dog will respond agreeably to the treat.
Best dog treats to improve health and well-being
Treats don’t have to be a guilty pleasure for your dog, they can actually improve their health. There are special treats with ingredients that assist with keeping your dog’s coat shiny, their skin itch-free and improve their joint health and overall health.
Concerned about your dog’s dental health? There are dental treats for dogs that can keep their smile bright and their breath fresh by reducing plaque and tartar build up through mechanical abrasion, all while being a tasty goody for your dog. To make sure that a treat is verified as being beneficial for your dog’s teeth, look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval on the packaging or refer to the list of accepted products here. Some of our favourite VOHC approved dog dental treats include Whimzees Brushzees and Toothbrush treats, and the Greenies range.
Best dog treats to show love
Sometimes you just want to let your best friend know that you love them and that’s where these yummy treats come in. Sausage sticks, jerky and semi-moist dog treats are flavoursome and pleasant-smelling goodies that you can use to bond with your pet and show them that you care. There’s nothing better than surprising your dog with an unexpected treat and seeing how happy you make them!
How to treat safely
What are the risks?
Feeding any type of horn, bully stick, deer antler or bone comes with possible health risks. They can become stuck in the mouth or become lodged in the oesophagus, stomach or intestines. They can fracture teeth and potentially cause upset tummies. Please feel free to ask your friendly Petbarn team member or your local Greencross Vets clinic for more information. Be sure to monitor your pet while they’re enjoying their snack, and take it away once it becomes small enough for them to swallow.
Remember, human treats aren’t dog treats
The best dog treats are those that are made specifically for your four-legged friend. Even if they give you those puppy dog eyes, make sure to avoid feeding human snacks and food from your plate as treats to your dog as this can encourage fussy eating. Another reason is that human food can be higher in fat and calories and contain ingredients that aren’t suited for your dog. We all know that dogs can’t eat chocolate but did you know that there are many other common human foods that are toxic to dogs.
Not all dog treats are created equal so make sure to choose treats made of healthy, natural ingredients that you recognise. If you’re not sure what the best treats for your dogs are, come in-store and just ask your local Petbarn team member for a tasty recommendation.