Treating Your Dog with and without Food
When you love your pup, you want to spoil them with hugs, scratches and healthy dog treats whenever they are being good. But do you know what kind of dog biscuits you should be buying? Knowing what to look for and how often your dog should indulge is crucial to their health when treating them. Here's what to look for when treating your furry best friend while keeping them healthy.
How to Choose
When purchasing dog biscuits for your furry friend, you want treats made with healthy, natural ingredients. Those that are loaded with fats and sugars aren't good for your pup, just like human treats wouldn't be for you. Dogs can gain too much weight from unhealthy snacks, so be sure to read all labels for ingredients before making a purchase.
If you enjoy your time in the kitchen, keep in mind you can always make your own dog treats. Try this recipe if you'd prefer to make their treats at home; your dog will drool in anticipation. Brands like Hill's® focus closely on what goes into your canine's food so that each dog treat isn't your standard biscuit. In particular, you'll never find artificial coloring or flavoring; your dog deserves natural ingredients that are as healthy as they are satisfying well after they consumes them.
Treating Them Right
If you're potty training your pup or teaching them new tricks, dog biscuits can be a huge motivator. Your four-legged friend will appreciate the reward and may even learn more quickly if you use treats as a training tool. However, don't feed your pet too many! Even healthy dog snacks can be overeaten, creating lethargy that defeats their willingness to have fun with you. It's also important to keep in mind that as your dog ages their metabolism will slow down, so make sure to slowly back off the treat regimen during training as they start to catch onto verbal commands.
Keeping your dog active is another fun way to bond and encourage healthy behavior. If your dog is overweight and you'd still like to share snacks with them, consider bringing them with you for long walks. You can treat your dog with a low-calorie biscuit formulated specifically with your overweight dog in mind. Just like a person in training, rewarding your dog for physical activity will get them excited to exercise in the future.
Table Scraps Are Not Treats
Never give your dog your leftovers. Human food tends to be high in calories, as well as certain vitamins and minerals that aren't always what your dog needs. Feeding from your plate also encourages similar bad behaviors such as begging or overeating. To keep your dog from begging, your best bet is to provide nutritious meals and snacks at scheduled times throughout the day—if not during their daily loop through the neighborhood.
Treats can be a fun way to share with your dog, but don't spoil them too much; you never want your dog's daily comfort food to be more than 10 percent of their daily nutrition. It isn't a good idea for them to snack on treats before meals, either. You want your pup to embrace good habits, such as finishing their healthy meals and not snacking all day long.
By choosing healthy dog treats with the above nutrition, you'll be spoiling your pup in the best possible way.
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.