Mum - I too like cheese
When I was a child my mother paid little attention to my own nutrition so I guess it’s not surprising that our dog’s diet wasn’t high on the agenda either. I remember one of our dogs particularly enjoyed a bowl of tea and a digestive!
Thankfully we are all much more aware of not only our own health but that of our dogs’ too. Sometime we just like to show our dogs how much we love them with something a little tasty but we also need to reinforce positive behaviour when we are teaching our puppies and young dogs.
Modern dog trainers rely on reward based methods for training. And whilst for some dogs playing with a toy or a fuss is enough the vast majority pick up the correct behaviour quicker with high value treats. Think of it as paying your puppy for the work they do. So how do we fit treats into a healthy diet? It’s easier than you think. Take a look at our tips and avoid the common pitfalls in the pet food aisle.
Fruit and Vegetables - Low Calorie Treats
These are perhaps the healthiest treats for your dog but probably won’t be high value enough for training. Many dogs love carrot or frozen blueberries as a treat. Sliced apple, broccoli and green beans are other popular options. Any fruits or vegetables should be cut into very small pieces especially if your dog tends to swallow food whole rather than chew. Remember to give these snacks in moderation. Certain foods, particularly broccoli can cause stomach problems if too much is eaten and others high in sugar like carrots can lead. to yeast infections.
Here at Park View we make our own liver cake. The dogs and puppies love it! We also make it for those that join our training classes and are happy to sell it to those who can pick up from Effingham in Surrey. Our lucky puppies take some home with them on ‘gotcha day.’
Home made treats are a healthy and a cheap option for your dog. So next time you think of popping to the pet shop for treats get baking instead!
Of course liver cake isn’t the only option. Treating your dog with lean meat is a guaranteed way to grab their attention and keep them feeling fuller for longer. Plain boiled chicken breasts with no added seasoning or oils is a great healthy snack. It helps build muscle, is gentle on the stomach and the omega-6 fatty acids it contains help to keep their skin and coat healthy too.
These are the treats that keep your dog occupied. Peanut butter is a great source of protein. Dogs love it, but you have to be careful which type you use. Always avoid feeding them peanut butter that is high in salt and sugar and without artificial sweeteners. An artificial sweetener called xylitol is particularly dangerous and can be fatal to dogs and may be listed as birch sugar or E967. If you’re not sure it’s safe then it’s best to avoid it or buy a brand specifically for dogs. Fill a Kong or Toppl with it or smear on a lick mat for ages of enrichment for your dog. Others healthy treats to include in a Kong/Toppl: natural baby food (Ella’s Kitchen baby pouches) such as sweet potato and butternut squash, banana, cottage cheese, Kefir yoghurt.
- When giving treats, make sure you include them in your dog’s total daily calorie intake to balance things out
- Always ensure that any homemade snacks that you give your dog are cut up into small chunks. This can make them last longer and stop them from getting stuck in your dog’s throat.
- Try putting your dog’s snacks in a puzzle feeder. These toys slowly release food when they are moved around or played with and are a great form of mental stimulation.
- Avoid processed meats that are high in fat and salt.
Dogs are affected by certain foods in a different way to us and there are a number of human foods that can be very dangerous to them, including but not limited to:
- Blue cheese
- Macadamia nuts
- Onions, leeks and shallots
- Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas
Where possible look for natural treats with as few ingredients as possible. I personally avoid Rawhide and Dentastix. There has been loads of controversy regarding both over the years. The former is chemically made with glue and the latter full of E numbers. There is so many better choices now - YAK chews, split antlers, furry/non furry rabbit ears, duck and chicken feet, lamb and deer legs.
Freeze dried treats are natural, have a long shelf life, are easily broken into pieces and highly palatable to many dogs. They are made from a single ingredient such as chicken beef or liver which makes them a great option for dogs with allergies or digestive issues.
Jilana and the Fallows Pack