Dog Treats And Their Importance
Dog Treats – What Are They?
Dog treats are usually biscuit based dietary supplements that are equivalent to the snacks that humans consume. They are not replacements for dog food and cannot be used as a meal. Treats can be made up of a variety of ingredients and there are vegetarian options as well. Other dog treats may use chicken, lamb or even cod. Dog treats are usually used in the training of a dog. The treats act as rewards that your dog earns when he has performed and behaved well.
How To Use Them In Training?
The main purpose of treats is to reward your pooch when he has done something well. This could be him performing a trick by shaking your hand or by using the pee pad. Every time your pooch does something well, you will thus be inclined to reward him with a tasty snack. During training, it is important to understand a few things.
- Understand your dog. Find out what treats your dog enjoys, which could be meat or fruit flavoured. This will incentivize him to work harder to earn his next treat. Like this, your dog will associate the act he has just performed to the treat and thus perform it regularly.
- Plan out your dog’s meal times. By fixing your dog’s meal times, you can decide on when to train him and when to give him treats. Giving him treats along with his meals may end up overstuffing your dog. Dogs gain weight as rapidly as human beings which will result in them becoming overweight fast.
- Pair treats with affection or praise to help your dog get used to a new location or a new activity. By doing this, you not only make your dog happier but also helps him get comfortable.
- Be careful with when you give your dog treats as it may condition your dog to do something you dislike. For instance, feeding treats to your dog at the dinner table may result in him pestering you at every meal.
Treats do not have to be exclusively used for training. By feeding your dog treats at random times, it, therefore, increases the bond between you two. This lets them learn that they are loved and that every moment with you is a positive experience.
How Many Treats Should You Give?
We know you love your dog but it is important to control the number of treats you feed him. To ascertain the number, you have to consider the following four points
- Does your dog have a sensitive stomach? Feeding too much to your dog may cause vomiting or diarrhoea. This may also be due to allergens present in the treats. Hence, it is usually safer to consult your vet first to find out about your pet’s health.
- Does the treat have components that act as dental chews? Using too many dental chews may result in the wearing down of the enamel layer on your canine’s teeth. The enamel layer takes care of the nerves and tooth. The constant chewing may also result in sensitive gums as the gum is pushed back, exposing the root areas. You would not brush your teeth more than 3 times a day so your dog should not too.
- Is your dog already overweight? You should compare your dog’s food consumption to his activity levels. Feeding them too much treats while giving them little exercise will only cause your dog to balloon in weight. Again, it may be recommended to consult your vet first before deciding on the number of treats.
- Decide the number of treats based on your dog’s size. Small dogs ( 0-25kg) should be fed 1-3 treats daily. Medium dogs ( 25-45kg) should be fed 1-4 while large dogs ( exceeding 45kg) can be fed 1-5 daily. However, this differs depending on the size of the treat.
Consider all these factors to make the best decision for your precious pooch.
What Type Of Treats Are There?
There are a variety of treats that range from meat-based ones to fruit-based ones to even vegetarian options. You should make your treats decision based on what your dog favours. Try out each flavour and observe the reaction to decide which one is favoured by your dog. Some treats are also specially designed to help clean your dog’s teeth and to maintain oral hygiene. Chewing is seen to be very important for your dog’s physical and mental health. It keeps his teeth clean, mind occupied and his body exercised. I’m certain that you would definitely prefer your dog chewing treats than your sofa!
Why Are These Treats Good?
Firstly, the treats provide your dog with a source of protein which is necessary for muscle building. Protein also repairs body tissue and create necessary enzymes. It also provides energy and keeps the immune system strong and functional. Dogs are unable to store up protein in their body and hence they need to get it from their meals. The treats are also usually large energy sources for your pup. Most treats are also sources of vitamins that are required for your dog’s growth and health.
What Kind Of Treats Are Bad?
Not all treats are made equal and some contain ingredients that may prove harmful to your dog. Firstly, try to avoid treats with large amounts of preservatives, colouring, salt or sugar. Such ingredients are extremely unhealthy and harmful to your dog. Another treat to watch out for are rawhide treats. Rawhide is the inner layer of skin of an animal. The rawhide is typically chemically processed and cleaned, followed by the addition of colourings and preservatives. Rawhide is also a choking hazard to your dog. Hence, rawhide is something that should definitely be avoided.
So, What Treats Should I Buy?
One type of treat that I recommend would be the brand Marukan dog treats. Marukan’s treats are not only tasty but also healthy and it has a wide range of ingredients that are beneficial for your dog. The treats also help clean your dog’s teeth, thus maintaining its oral health. Another good brand would be VitaKraft dog treats. These treats are free from colourings, artificial flavourings and sugar. This makes this one of the healthiest treats you can feed your dog!
Remember, do your research, consult your vet and most importantly, know your dog’s preferences before buying any treats!