5 Tips for choosing the best (and healthies) treats for your dog
Dogs love a yummy treat. But they’re not immune to packing on the pounds. Just like us, your canine buddy needs to eat nutritious food for all-round good health. Treats shouldn’t be any different. When it comes to dog snacks, quality and quantity matter.
It’s thought that nearly half of all pets in South Africa might be overweight. Like humans, obesity in dogs can lead to health problems including arthritis, heart disease and diabetes.
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
It’s easy to indulge your favourite canine – whether you’re spoiling them out of love or rewarding them for training – but it’s just as easy to lose track of how many treats they’ve devoured in a day. You can still give your dog treats, just be mindful of what you’re giving them.
A good rule of thumb is to ensure that snacks only make up 10% of your dog’s daily calories.
QUICK TIPS FOR CHOOSING HEALTHY TREATS
1. Go for natural ingredients. Choose whole grain, oats or veggies. Carrots, beans and broccoli are good choices as they’re low in calories. You could also break rice cakes up into smaller pieces.
2. Steer clear of sugary or fatty treats. These are usually easy to spot from the ingredients on the lable. And, avoid anything with chocolate as this is toxic to dogs.
3. Watch out for treats that hurt teeth. Bones, antlers or hooves can be hard on your canine buddy’s teeth. Look for snacks that are VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) approved.
4. Rethink food treats. Treats bring joy, but they don’t have to be food. Reward or spoil your dog with a walk or some quality playtime with you.
5. Avoid table scraps. Human food can be unhealthy and contain dangerous ingredients (like raisins or onions) for dogs. This behaviour also tends to encourage begging.
Check in with your vet if you’re not sure about a healthy treat alternative or how many calories your dog needs in a day. They’ll know what to recommend and may even have some healthy treats or ideas to suggest.