We all love to shower our dogs with affection, take them for a new adventure and give them the occasional treat. For our dogs, receiving a tasty treat is the definition of pure joy! But are treats the right way to show our dogs affection and could they be doing more harm? Is there such a thing as a healthy dog treat? Read on to find out what constitutes a healthy dog treat and whether treats have a role to play in your dogs diet.
What's good about dog treats?
Like with most things, moderation is key and we highly recommend giving your furry companion healthy treats. As well as introducing new textures and tastes to your dog's diet, treats are helpful in training, especially if your dog is food driven and healthy dog treats can offer functional benefits.
Dog treats can help your dog learn
As well as positive praise and affection, rewarding your dog with a healthy dog treat is incredibly effective for obedience training. After all food is a big motivation for many dogs. Use training treats to help your dog achieve desired behaviours and learn new tricks quickly. Remember to adjust their food portions accordingly to avoid unnecessary weight gain. Healthy dog treats that don't include added sugars and encourage a calm state are great to use when training. Your aim is to reward the behaviour rather than an excited dog jumping up for a treat. If you suspect your dog isn't food driven, there are other ways to reinforce good behaviours like clicker training or perhaps you haven't found the right treat that tickles your dog's particular taste buds so shop around.
Dog treats can fight plaque and bad breath
Brushing our dog's teeth isn't something most of us look forward to. It can be stressful for both you and your dog. We always recommend brushing your dog's teeth daily, but from our own experience, we know that's not always possible. If your dog is happy with you touching their teeth but simply hates a tooth brush, you can simply rub an enzymatic toothpaste over their teeth, which will help work plaque away. And for those times you forget or for an added boost to your dog's oral health, dental treats for dogs have you covered. As with shopping for any dog treat, check the ingredients and opt for a healthy dental chew. We're particularly proud of our Gnashers dental sticks, designed to help tackle bad breath and keep plaque at bay. As a daily treat, you can relax knowing they're full of natural ingredients, low in calories and low in fat.
Dog treats can help your pooch relax
There's nothing worse than seeing your dog stressed out. Sometimes ample cuddles and kisses still isn't enough to distract them from stressful situations like heavy thunderstorms, fireworks and trips to the vet. There are various ways to help reduce your pet's anxiety including calming treats.
Our calming dog treats are baked with natural ingredients chamomile and lemon balm designed to relax your dog as well as other tasty natural ingredients and slippery elm to help soothe sensitive tummies. A few nibbles, a snug blanket and a pet remedy wipe is the natural way we keep our Smudge relaxed.
Dog treats to stimulate the mind
A bored dog is an unhappy, destructive dog. And an engaged, stimulated dog is living the dream! As well as daily walks and lots of cuddles, dogs need stimulation throughout the day. Long after your puppy has reached adulthood and has mastered all possible dog tricks, you should continue to engage in brain games to keep your dog's mind stimulated. Playing fetch and introducing a variety of dog toys will help to do this as well as strengthen your bond. Interactive dog toys are a great tool of distraction and stimulation for when you're not available for playtime. A lot of puzzle toys use hidden treats to keep Fido focused. Replenish away with tasty dog treats for endless days of fun.
Choosing the ultimutt dog treat
Much like human treats, many dog treats tend to be significantly higher in calories than their main food counterpart. And if you're not careful, these extra calories can quickly impact on your dog's health and wellbeing, and where obesity follows even lead to premature loss of your beloved pet. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog's overall diet and we highly recommend to opt for healthy dog treats.
So, what makes a dog treat healthy?
All natural ingredients
We only recommend natural dog treats as some of the added nonsense in other treats can have terrible consequences for dogs and we're not just talking poo problems.
There's nothing more natural than the fruit and vegetables in your kitchen cupboards. Make sure they're definitely dog appropriate as some fruit and vegetables aren't dog friendly like raisins. Carrots are our go to. They are low in fat, low in calories, great for supporting your dog's dental health and rich in beta carotene. As with anything moderation is key, as too much carrots can be a bad thing and cause tummy upsets. So be sure to mix it up. You no longer have to compromise when shopping for dog treats. Natural, healthy treats that are also tasty are a thing!
No added sugars or salt
There are some naughty natural ingredients like salt and sugar. Added sugar and salt have no place in your dog treats. When browsing for treats, always fully scan the ingredients. Watch out for added sugar and salt, along with other junk and if you come across vague terms like "animal" run a mile!
Free from artificial colourings and preservatives
There are three artificial preservatives that are prevalent in dog food and treats. The three to look out for are: BHT, BHA, Ethoxyquin. Although they make the treats stay fresh for longer, steer clear. Whilst they'e not listed carcinogens, studies have shown these ingredients can increase the risk.
Free from common allergens
Our dogs are sensitive souls often with sensitive stomachs. When shopping for healthy dog treats, avoid common allergens like dairy, beef and soy which can lead to unwanted side effects. Hypoallergenic treats, with limited ingredients are gentle on tummies and easier too digest. At Scrumbles all our dog treats are designed to be kind to tums.
So are dog treats, friend or foe?
Healthy dog treats can have added functional benefits, bring joy to your pooch, tickle their taste buds AND help strengthen your bond so we're all for them. But only in moderation. Remember the 10% rule and keep our furry friends happy and healthy. There are lots of healthy dog treats available, not just ours, that will keep your dog in the best ever condition from the inside out.
Have you tried our guilt-free dog treats? We'd loved to hear what you think and love to see photos, so send them through at email@example.com or tag us on Instagram