Buyer’s Guide for Chews and Treats
Last Updated April 2019
As a pet owner, at some point you may have felt overwhelmed by the huge amount of dog treats on the market today. Selecting treats or chews for your canine can be a tough decision, due to the large number of varieties.
Chewing is an essential behavior for your dog. It is crucial for their dental health, as well as their mental health. Chewing can alleviate boredom, eliminate problems in behavior, in addition to being used for a training tool. Various treats and chews found online have a specific purpose, such as cleaning your dog’s teeth. These types of chews continue to grow in variety and popularity.
Other than just tasting good, these types of treats are designed to serve a purpose. Some examples include improving joint health, dental health, pain relief, or stress relief.
Here are some tips for picking the right treats for your dog:
- Selecting a dog treat that was made in the USA is highly-recommended. Consider the reputation of the company producing it.
- Check out the nutrient profile, making sure that there are no artificial ingredients.
- If you are concerned about grains being allergenic, steer clear of them.
- Consider how many calories are in the product. Keep in mind that the amount of treats you give should not comprise more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
- Select the type of treat that your dog will enjoy most. Some doggies like dry kibbles, while other dogs favor cookies or biscuits.
Considerations When Buying Doggie Treats
When it comes to buying dog treats, it is necessary that you have a very strong understanding of what you are looking for. Here are some considerations to make in selecting the right the right treats for your pet.
The purpose for giving the treat
The reason you are giving a snack or delicacy to your dog is something to consider. There are several different types of treats, which can vary on their purpose.
If you need a canine delicacy specifically to use for positive reinforcement, such as behavioral or obedience training, then you may need to get smaller-sized pieces that are full of flavor. The idea is to get your dog to associate the desirable behavior with something that he or she likes. In order for this to work, the treat needs to be truly delicious to the dog.
On the other hand, if you are looking to supplement your dog’s diet, it is important to choose a treat that has more specific ingredients. For example, a dog that has hip dysplasia or arthritis may benefit from treats that contain ingredients designed to relieve associated symptoms. These types of treats should be seen more as nutrient or food supplements. They should be taken in measured doses, as specified by the manufacturer.
Another type of treat is designed to freshen your dog’s breath, prevent the buildup of plaque or tartar, and lower the risk of developing gum disease. These type of treats do double duty.
These are just a few different reasons why you would give treats to your dog.
The size of a treat should obviously depend firstly on the size of your dog. Manufacturers generally provide different sizes for particular purposes, so that every stage of life is covered. For example, if you have a puppy or a small breed dog, smaller treats are obviously appropriate. On the other hand, if you have a large breed, you will need a treat that is sufficiently larger to allow the dog to enjoy it.
Texture is also another important consideration when buying doggie treats. For example, if you are buying for a puppy, hard and crunchy bits are not recommended. This is because their jaws and teeth aren’t fully developed yet. Soft and chewy treats are much better for puppies. The same goes for senior dogs, particularly if they are missing some of their teeth. It is the larger breeds of adult dogs that will do better with crunchy treats.
Logically, the nutrients contained in treats should match up with the nutritional requirements of the age, breed and size of the pooch. Though treats should not make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake, the nutrient content is still an important aspect.
Keep in mind that puppies and senior dogs will need more protein in their treats, unless the older dog has a kidney problem. In this case, high protein diets should be avoided. Puppies should have plenty of DHA for brain development, while seniors and adults will perhaps benefit more from EPA, as it is a natural anti-inflammatory. Carbohydrates and fats should be kept to a minimum. The presence of vitamins and minerals are crucial, as they promote optimum health.
To Treat or Not to Treat
Many new dog owners often wonder if it is necessary to give their doggie a treat or not. There are many reasons why you should give treats to your doggie.
These edible tools are a very helpful ingredient in dog behavioral training. They become the reward in positive reinforcement practices. For example, let’s say you are training your dog to come to you when you call his name. What you can do is show your open hand with a treat on it, so that the treat becomes motivation for the dog to come to you. Your dog will be enticed to come to you, as you give them a verbal cue. Eventually, it will become an instinct for the dog to come to you, after you have called his name. In addition to this, treats can also stimulate your dog to complete physical activities.
As mentioned previously, treats can also be used to address specific health issues, promote optimal health, and prevent diseases.
How Often to Give Treats
The rule is that treats and snacks should never make up more than 10 percent of your dog’s average caloric intake. For example, if your dog should be having 500 calories per day, 10% of this is only 50 calories. Pay attention to the calorie count on the packaging of your dog’s treats. It is a good idea to give treats in between your dog’s meals.
Giving Treats for Training
Keep in mind that you aren’t limited to commercially-made treats like those recommended on this page. Human foods that are considered safe for dogs are fair game. Some good examples include lean chicken breasts, turkey, apples without seeds, or fresh pineapple. Hot dogs cut into smaller pieces are another good idea. Regular wet dog food can also seem like a special treat to a dog.