Has your pet gained weight after consuming too many treats? Are you worried that your pet’s treat habit is affecting his canine dental care? Have you read all the articles about bad ingredients in popular treats and want to consider alternatives? Did your Southeastern Massachusetts emergency vet recommend that you reduce your pet’s consumption of treats? Whatever the reason, many people are looking for other options to traditional store-bought dog treats. New Bedford pet owners who are seeking alternatives need to look no further than their refrigerator and the local grocery store for fresh, safe options.
Dogs love treats. After all, Scooby would do just about anything for a Scooby snack, and the chances are good that your dog would too. So it’s not always easy to just cut the treats out altogether. Instead, consider some of these healthy “switches” to satisfy your dog’s need for treats and stick to the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of the food that your dog consumes should be their regular diet, such as kibble, fresh food, raw, or whatever it is that you feed them each day. 20 percent of the food can be in the form of treats. However, those treats don’t have to be “junk food,” they can be healthy options.
One of the most popular types of treats to feed dogs is dog jerky. Made from turkey, beef, chicken, bison, duck, and an assortment of protein sources, it is considered by many to be a safe and healthy treat. Unfortunately, the sourcing of the protein is important, as many jerky treats that come from overseas have been recalled or have caused illness in American pets, mainly treats that come from China. Search online for homemade chicken jerky treats, which can be made at home in your oven for best results or ask your vet for recommendations when you visit your local Dartmouth animal hospital.
Nothing beats homemade treats for both people and dogs. Take some time to bake your dog some fresh cookies each week that contains healthy ingredients. There are many recipes available online, some that are grain-free and others that use healthy grains. Depending on your dog’s health and nutritional needs, there are lots of options to choose from for healthy treat options. Grab a bone shaped cookie cutter or make freestyle cut-outs. Peanut butter dog cookies with healthy additions, such as cranberries, apples, and carrots are a big hit with most dogs. If the first recipe isn’t a hit, keep trying. You will eventually find something that interests your dog.
Another reason why people feed treats to their dogs is that they mistakenly believe the marketing push for dental sticks to scrape tartar from their dog’s teeth. Canine dental care is important, but most of these treats contain high amounts of sugar and are too small or quickly consumed to do any good. Raw chicken and turkey necks, as well as large raw bones, are often a much better solution. Before trying anything new, consult with a trusted Southeastern Massachusetts emergency vet to ensure that it is an appropriate choice for the breed, size, and age of your dog.
Instead of getting a bunch of nutritionally-void treats to use for training your dog, consider using small bite-sized pieces of cheese instead. Freshly cooked chicken pieces also work equally well. Some dogs really like roasted sweet potatoes, which can be sliced up with a mandolin and cut into training treat sized pieces before baking for easy distribution. Small plastic containers and zip bags can be used to keep these treats fresh in your pocket when training, walking or working with your dog.
What dog doesn’t enjoy one of those tough rubber toys filled with the canine version of canned spray cheese? Unfortunately, these fillers are often highly processed and contain ingredients that can contribute to canine dental care issues or weight gain. Consider using a little natural no-sugar-added peanut butter to your dog’s toys instead. As always, make sure that you only provide these toys and treats if you can supervise your dog. New Bedford pet owners can also add other healthy treats, including crunchy homemade dog cookies, freshly cooked chicken, blueberries, and anything else your dog loves to eat.
Visit a Dartmouth Animal Hospital
If you are looking for alternative treat options or want to find something to assist with canine dental care at home, ask your local veterinarian during a check-up or contact a trusted Southeastern Massachusetts emergency vet. Anchor Animal Hospital provides a wide variety of veterinary services, and our team can help New Bedford pet owners find healthy solutions for dog treats and nutrition. Give us a call at 508-996-3731 to schedule an appointment or to speak with one of our veterinary team members.