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Feeding treats is a big part of many people’s relationship with their dogs – as a reward, a snack, to comfort them or just because we enjoy it. We understand that this is a part of your interaction with your dog which you may be reluctant to stop, as it is a pleasurable experience for you both. However, it is not a big revelation that most treats and tit bits are not healthy or balanced for our dogs.
Below are some potential alternatives and substitutions to help keep your doggy friends healthy without sacrificing our treating behaviour completely!
Many biscuits and treats are high in calories and should only be a very tiny part of your dog’s diet, if at all. Instead many fruits and vegetables are delicious and healthy treats for your dogs. They are also versatile! Some are hard like dog chews whilst others are soft and could be used as a filling for a kong, for example. Charlie’s personal favourites are carrot, apple and melon. Remember that not all fruits and vegetables are suitable, so please be sure to read the list of recommendations before introducing new fruits and vegetables.
Dental sticks and other chew treats are often high in calories and sugar, meaning that they make up a much higher part of your dogs daily requirements than many people account for, leading to pets becoming an unhealthy weight. There are many fantastic alternatives to these which fit more happily into a healthy, balanced diet and are more digestible than raw hide. These include vegetable chews such as Whimzees, Antlers, Yak’s milk chews, Wooden roots chews, and others.
If you feed your dog a dry food, then another great thing to do is to use a part of their daily allowance of dry food and give it as treats. So, if your dog eats 500g of dry food a day, instead of giving two 250g meals, you could give two 200g meals and take 100g of the food with you on walks for example to give in the same way as you normally would with biscuits or training treats.
So, there you have it, some wonderful alternatives to try! But remember that treats should not be more than around 10% of your pet’s diet.
Remember, a treat or reward for your dog doesn’t have to be food! You can treat them with fuss and cuddles, playtime and their favourite toys just as happily!
For more information on which fruits and vegetables to feed your pooch I love the following information from Pupford! And check out their summary poster.