“We are what we eat.” – Everybody knows that saying and it is also true for our pets. While a dog’s diet is often thought to be what’s given for their meals, we forget that all the treats we hand them over are actual food. Because we give dogs so many treats, we tend to just buy big pouches that are cost-effective. But what about the ingredients? Well, most of the time they are made up of carbs and meat by-products. So it’s ok for a few days and weeks, but given continuously over several months means you are exposing your dogs to some health issues.
Whether it is for Christmas or for all year-round, dog treats have to provide as much quality proteins as possible while keeping the calorie-count as low as possible. Unless your dog is a big-time trekker, you don’t want him to eat loads of low-quality carbs and fats.
Natural Dog Treats
The pet food industry betrayed dog owners so often that it is hard to believe all of their claims. They often use loopholes and other schemes to make you believe that their products are better than the next ones. And then, they price accordingly. However, you will find out plenty of neutral reviews online that will mention a cheaper product as healthier. However, one thing is for certain, natural and organic dog treats seem to be much better alternatives.
Natural treats offer dogs a more nutritious and bioavailable snack as rewards, supplements, or just as a tasty afternoon biscuit. The key with organic treats is to limit the number of ingredients to avoid food sensitivities (to random additives and fillers). You also want to avoid dog treats that are very high in carbohydrates and grains. These are not necessarily well-digested by dogs and unless your dog is very active, they may end up stored as body fat. Prefer meat-based snacking whenever possible!
Dog Training Treats
Training treats for dogs are not like others kinds of biscuits and snacks. Because most training sessions require a lot of positive reinforcement, praises, and treats, you want your training treats to be as small as possible. A lot of big treats would literally result in weight gains, and potentially, to a detrimental obesity. So you got it – you want tiny training treats that have a high value (palatability) while training your dog!
Generally, such treats are small homemade cheese or meat bites. However, a lot of people favor the convenience of buying a back or pouch of training treats to keep the kitchen clean, and for long-term storage. Make sure your training treats are not packed with carbs – favor a high meat or fat content! Don’t forget that dogs love cuddles and praise so vary between treats and praises!
If you are training a puppy, be sure to find the right size and you also probably want to cut the number of treats you will give away.
Single-Ingredients Dog Treats
A lot of treats are packed with dozens of poor-quality ingredients that make it harder for dog owners to decipher what’s bad from what’s actually good. Single-ingredient dog treats are simpler and a lot healthier than other treats available. A single ingredient is used for your dog’s treats so you can decide immediately whether or not it is suitable for your dog.
By only using one ingredient in the recipe, manufacturers are sending dog owners clear signals: “we are not trying to deceive you and we are not trying to cheat you.” Of course, that one ingredient may not be of the highest quality itself but at least, your dog skips on additives, preservatives, and other undesired hidden chemicals. Additionally, by transitioning to single-ingredient treats, you will quickly realize that you could also prepare these yourself at home (e.g. cubes of cheddar, dried chicken bites, diced apples).
Freeze-dried Beef Liver Treats
A great option we recommend is giving freeze-dried beef liver treats. The raw dried liver is loaded with Vitamin A to aid digestion and B vitamins to help with fatigue, mental ability, and nerve health. Plus, you can make them at home yourself for a very low price!
Freeze-dried beef liver treats taste incredibly yummy to all dogs – small, large, hairless, strong, giant, etc! If your pet is a picky eater, you may want to switch to such a delicious treat. The palatability of beef liver is virtually the best and they can be stored for a very long time thanks to their moisture-free content.
While you could make liver treats yourself by air or oven drying them, you would need to prepare a batch every single day to ensure maximum freshness.