As pet parents learn more about what is essential for their dogs’ overall health, the importance of providing them with healthy dog food and treats frequently comes up in conversation. Healthy dog treats have seen a lot of traction in the pet space over the years, but the fact remains that it can still be difficult to know what to consider when making your choices. Freshpet acknowledges that there are many dog treats out there that are marketed as “healthy”, and a few quick tests can reveal which will be truly beneficial to our dogs. Here, Freshpet reviews why we should choose healthy treats for our dogs as well as which qualities to look out for during the selection process.
Why Choose Healthy Dog Treats?
There has been a recent growth in healthy options for our pets, largely because we realize that they do the best job at taking our pets’ needs into account. Healthy dog treats are a great option because less health-conscious options can be a detriment to our pets’ health. Certain dog treats contribute to obesity, dental problems, and make complications associated with our pets’ health conditions worse. As pet parents, we do our best to provide our dogs with foods containing ingredients that can keep them happy and healthy throughout their lives. It makes sense that we are beginning to critique their treats as well- opting for choices that are indulgent without being a health detriment.
Freshpet knows that there are several qualities that differentiate healthy treats from ones that we should try to avoid. To help pet parents that are in the process of selecting healthy dog treats for their pets, Freshpet provides a short list of what we should check for when making the switch.
Natural, High-Quality Ingredients
Treats can be indulgent, but it is important that pet parents can see the difference between indulgence and treats containing potentially harmful ingredients. For example, some treats can be loaded with sugars, additives, fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, and a host of other ingredients that are far from natural. This can lead to issues such as dental problems or bloating. When choosing dog treats, pet parents should always be on the lookout for all-natural ingredients as they will ensure that treats are both delicious and not a total nutritional loss. High-quality, whole food ingredients should be listed early in the ingredient list – the earlier the ingredient appears, the more of it will be in the treats.
Low Calorie Content
If you are using treats for snacking purposes, you will want to choose a treat that is low in calories. The reason being you do not want to add too many excess calories to their diet through frequent treats. Experts recommend that dog treats should account for no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. With the help of your veterinarian, you can determine how many calories your dog requires daily. This will be an asset for determining how many treats he or she can be given per day. With lower-calorie treats, you can give your dog treats without worrying too much about contributing to weight problems or obesity. Low-calorie treats that are still considered high value to your pet are also great for training as you can give them quite a few in succession.
While the beneficial qualities of the treats we choose for our dogs certainly matter, dogs will always be driven by taste and appeal first and foremost. For this reason, it is vital to choose a dog treat that your dog enjoys eating. Since we do not sample the taste of dog treats ourselves as pet parents, we should always use our dogs’ responses to what treats we provide them as a guide. Depending on your dog’s preferences and the options that you can find, you may need to try out a few before finding one that your dog truly loves. If you are on the lookout for treats that will get your dog excited, consider trying out a few different options at once. Dogs crave variety in their treats, and gauging their responses to their new healthy treats is a great way to find out which has the best flavor.
Tailored to Your Dog’s Specific Needs
All dogs are different, and this certainly extends to their specific needs as individuals as well. For example, some treats that are otherwise seen as healthy may not be the best fit for your furry friend if they have any number of health conditions. Luckily, there are many healthy dog treats out there that have additional benefits for dogs with health concerns. Some common conditions that dog treat recipes out there are formulated for include obesity, joint pain, dental diseases, anxiety, sensitive stomachs, and food allergies. With health concerns, it is always best to consult with your vet as needed to make sure that the treats you are giving do not make any of his or her problems worse.
Homemade Treats Work Too!
Some pet parents like to diversify their dog treat options by including homemade or fresh ingredients into the mix. Many different fruits and veggies such as apples, pears, blueberries, carrots, sweet potatoes, and green beans are both delicious to dogs and contain a range of health benefits. Those who enjoy fresh fruit and vegetable ingredients may also want to explore making simple, homemade treats for their pets as well. Experts recommend always being careful when it comes to giving your pet homemade treats, and it helps to know which foods and ingredients to avoid. Grapes, avocadoes, nuts, mushrooms, and tomatoes, for example, are toxic to dogs and should be avoided. Other ingredients such as salts and refined sugars that may exist in homemade recipes should also be left out, as they do not offer any real health benefits to the treats.