You love your dog and want to do the best for them.
So, what are the “best” dog treats?
Should you feed your pup expensive, organic, or generic brands?
Is it better to get a bag of chicken jerky strips or a can of wet food?
The answers are not so simple.
In this guide, we’ll reveal a few pointers that’ll help you make better choices when it comes to feeding your dog the “best” treats.
Let’s get started.
What Are The Healthiest Treats For Dogs?
Similar to most human treats… many dog treats are not healthy at all.
They’re high in calories and low in nutrition, which can contribute to weight gain and obesity over time.
Plus, if you go to the pet store and look at all of the options, it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed by all of the different brands and types.
So, how do you choose?
First, it’s really important to read the labels and compare a variety of brands. While this may be time-consuming, it will help you find the best dog treats for your pup.
Here are some guidelines:
1. Check The Label For Ingredients And Calories.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming that because a dog treat is healthy, it’s also low in calories.
But, in most cases, this isn’t true.
To make sure you’re choosing the best dog treats for your pup… check the label and look at the ingredients carefully.
2. Find Out What Your Dog Likes.
Dogs, like humans, may have certain food preferences.
If your pup only eats crunchy treats or just wants some beef jerky… don’t buy them dog treats that aren’t their favorite.
It’s important to pay attention to your dog and find out what they like… so you can spend their treat calories wisely.
3. Read Reviews From Other Dog Owners.
One of the easiest ways to determine if a dog treat is good is by reading reviews from other owners.
If you notice that a company has received many positive reviews and comments, there’s a good chance their products are high in quality, too.
4. Know When It’s Okay To Cheat.
It’s true… every dog deserves a treat now and then.
But, it’s definitely not healthy to give your pup treats all of the time.
If you want to indulge every once in a while, here’s the best way to do it: Limit treats to 20% of their diet.
If your dog is eating a healthy diet… it’s okay to feed them some treats every day or two.
However, it’s important that treats should never be the main part of your dog’s meals.
This is especially important if you have a dog who’s prone to weight gain or obesity, as some treats can contribute to unwanted pounds very quickly indeed.
What Are The Worst Treats For Dogs?
If you want to give your dog the “best” treats, it’s important to know the most unhealthy options so you can avoid them.
Many people probably don’t realize this, but… sugar, saturated fats, and salt are common ingredients in many dog treats.
If your dog is overweight or has health issues, it’s important to find low-sugar, low-fat, and low-salt treats.
Here are the things to keep in mind:
1. Don’t Feed Your Dog Excess Carbs Or Sugar.
Carbs and sugar are usually found in soft, chewy treats that are full of calories but low in nutrition.
The grains and sugars that these treats contain provide little to no health benefits for your pup.
If your dog is overweight or has diabetes, it’s important to avoid treats that are high in these ingredients.
2. Steer Clear Of Processed Foods.
Many of the worst dog treats are also full of sodium and harmful preservatives.
While it’s okay to feed your dog a few treats every once in a while… it’s not healthy to give them junk food or products that are full of fillers.
If you want to give your pup the best treats… stick with real food and avoid processed foods or ingredients.
3. Avoid These Common Ingredients:
Be sure to check the label on every treat before you buy it because these ingredients are not healthy for your pup:
Salt – Even though salt is an essential nutrient… most dogs only need a small amount per day (depending on their weight). Too much salt can lead to a variety of health issues.
Corn Syrup – This sugar substitute has been linked to obesity in dogs. As with humans, corn syrup is a cheap option that can be used to sweeten treats and food products.
White Flour – White flour is usually a cheap way to make bread and other products. But, it can cause allergies or harm your pup’s gut.
When Should I Give My Dog Treats?
Giving your dog some treats is a good way to reinforce commands or reward behavior.
What you feed your dog depends on the situation and the type of treat… but here’s the rule of thumb:
Treats Are Good For “Rewards”.
If you’re working with your dog on an agility course, for example… consider giving them a treat after they successfully finish the course.
2-3 treats per session are enough to reward them for their hard work.
If you’re working with your dog to teach them new tricks or commands… then treats are a good way to reinforce training.
For example, if you want to teach your dog to go into their crate, reward them for each step achieved during the procedure (entering the room, going near the crate, sitting near it, etc.)
In most cases, you’ll want to use small bits of real food and give your dog a few treats for good behavior.
What Are The Best Dog Treats For Small Dogs?
If you have a small dog, it’s important to use tiny treats or pieces of real food.
Many large-breed dogs can eat multiple snacks or one big treat in seconds… but smaller dogs may not be able to eat so many calories before it causes issues with weight gain and obesity… especially if they’re not very active.
Keep treats small and only offer a very small portion as a reward.
How Much Is Too Much?
Every dog is different, but in general… you’ll want to stick with the following guidelines:
If your dog is active… follow the 20/80 ratio: They can eat 20% of their diet in treats, while 80% is healthy food.
If your dog is overweight or has other health issues… it’s best to avoid dog treats and only feed them a small amount of real food (like veggies and protein).
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re not sure what’s best for your dog… talk to a vet, especially if they’re a senior or have other health issues that could impact their weight.
What’s The Best Dog Treats To Clean Teeth?
If you’re wondering about the best dog treats to clean teeth… keep in mind that most dental chews don’t actually work.
There are much better options that can actually help your dog’s dental health.
Brushing their teeth and gums regularly with a doggy toothpaste is the best way, but there are a few dog dental chews approved by vets.
Often, treats with potato starch are useful for reducing plaque and tartar buildup.
What’s The Best Dog Treats For Bad Breath?
If your pup has bad breath, you’re not alone. Bad breath is common in pets.
If you’re looking for the best dog treats for bad breath, try dental chews (as mentioned above).
They help to reduce plaque and tartar, and treating dental issues can also help improve your dog’s overall oral health.
How Can I Tell Which Treats My Dog Likes Best?
Read your dog’s body language when feeding them treats.
If they’re not interested in a particular treat… take note and don’t offer it to them again.
Once you’ve identified the treats your dog likes best, use them as rewards or training tools… as they’ll usually be the most effective reward for your pooch.
The best dog treats for your pup may depend on their own preferences.
But if you’ve tried multiple brands and flavors with no luck, it might be time to experiment a little more.
Some dogs love meat-flavored, while others prefer crunchy snacks or chewy biscuits.
Ultimately, it’s important to find what works for them best.