Dog treats: how much is too much?
Most people enjoy giving their beloved pooch a special treat, and there are some nice benefits to treating your pet. For example, treats can reinforce and nurture the bond between you and your pet, and they’re a great training aid to reward desired behavior. But while treats can be an enjoyable and yummy addition to your dog’s diet, too many treats can be unhealthy. The basics about treating your dog:
How many treats can I give my dog?
Keep in mind that dog treats should make up no more than around 10% of your dog’s total caloric intake. Too many treats can lead to obesity, and a diet filled with treats can be nutritionally unbalanced. Additionally, if you constantly feed your dog treats, the treats tend to lose their value as a training reward. If your dog is overweight, calculate the calories from treats he is receiving and subtract that amount from his regular food intake.
What are some healthy dog treats?
If you do enjoy giving your dog frequent treats, try breaking the treats into smaller pieces, or look for lower-calorie treats. Lots of dogs enjoy healthy low-calorie treats like bits of carrot, apple, green beans or sweet potato. Plain, cooked pumpkin or a bit of canned pumpkin purée is especially good for your dog’s digestive health. If your dog turns his or her nose up at plain veggies, a treat like Dogs Love Kale or Dogs Love Snapeas are crunchy, tasty treats with the veggies baked right in!
You can also try giving your dog pieces of his regular kibble as a reward; this is especially effective for pets that aren’t free-fed and don’t have food readily available for snacking all day. Do not ever give your dog grapes, raisins, onions, chocolate, or anything sweetened with xylitol as these are toxic to dogs.
All pets enjoy getting a treat, and the feeling of being rewarded. Just make sure to give healthy treats, and treat in moderation.