Written by Hollie Williams
Is it just me or have we all got lost down a dark hole of Internet research when it comes to healthy treats for our dogs?
Fat free, grain free, low calorie, you want to do the best for your fur baby, but the level of conflicting information and misleading labels can leave you in a spin!
First things first
It is always a good idea to discuss any changes to your dogs diet with your vet.
If you do agree to change any part of their usual food, it is advisable to take it slow. Introduce new food groups in very small amounts and build up the quantity over 3 - 4 weeks.
Next, read the label.
I know, I know it seems as though its full of jargon that can't be made sense of, and this may be true, but you can check for some basics.
As with your own food, additives such as colouring and flavourings are as unhealthy for your dog as they are for you.
The more natural a treat is the better.
Having said that, even some natural treats can be high in fat such a pork and lamb for example.
This doesn't mean you can't feed them to your dog, but simply that moderation is key.
You wouldn't eat icecream for every meal (not every day of the week at least), so treats that are high in fat you might want to consider an occasional special treat for your doggo.
Try to consider what you are already feeding your dog.
Most dog foods are designed as your dogs full calorie intake, if you can't resist spoiling your pup with tasty morsels for every puppy dog glance your way, you may wish to consider reducing their daily meals to compensate.
But remember, treats are only a complementary food and not a replacement for complete food. They don’t contain the correct balance of nutrients for your dog in the same way that their regular food does.
A good rule of thumb is for treats to make up no more than 10% of their food and to reduce their daily meals by 10% to compensate.
Alternatively, you may want to use their complete food as the treats.
Many people use a method of feeding a pups meal allowance throughout the day during training, or enrichment instead of individual meals.
There are so many options when it comes to treats, from biscuits to bananas, or even banana biscuits!
Whether you favour pure meat, or vegetable based, there will always be pros and cons depending on who you speak to.
When it comes to fruit and vegetables, the vast majority are great sources of nutrition, vitamins and fibre, but it is worth noting that some can be toxic to dogs.
Grapes, raisins, and onions are a no for dogs, just to name a few.
You may want to check with your vet before feeding to your dog if you are unsure.
Ultimately most dogs will quite happily eat a range of meat, fish, poultry, fruit, veg, cheese, oats, or something really disgusting off the street; you can be quite adventurous with treats, or stick to what you know, they won't mind either way.
But for your peace of mind, if you remember as natural as possible and in moderation, you will be doing the best by your best fur-riend.