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You don't have to stop giving your dog treats just because you're trying to keep them fit. Snacks can be both tasty and nutritious.
Here are 12 healthy treats you can feed your dog without compromising its wellbeing.
Fruits and vegetables are some of the most excellent dog treats. They are foods with numerous health benefits. Additionally, unlike many dog biscuits, they’re also minimal in calories, so you don’t have to worry about your dog packing on the pounds.
They’re also convenient because you’re likely to have them at home already.
We strive to ensure our canine companions are fed nothing but the best as pet owners. However, with so many options, finding healthy treats to offer our furry friends may be difficult.
So, we have compiled a list of snacks you can give your canine to make the choosing process a little bit easier:
Raw carrots are a tasty and healthy snack for your canine, and because they're crunchy, they keep their teeth and gums in good repair.
Whether you have a little or large dog, make sure you cut raw carrots into bite-sized pieces so that it’s easy to chew on.
Alternatively, mix steamed, boiled, or puréed carrots with wet food for added nourishment in their main meals.
Pumpkin and squash are also really tasty and nutritious. They are high in fibre and vitamins, which help your dog pass stool easily to relieve constipation and maintain a healthy coat, respectively. The high moisture content also provides extra fluids to your dog’s diet.
You can cook these fruits, but make sure the seeds and rind are removed. Unsweetened canned pumpkin is another good option.
Besides that, adding a pumpkin to your dog's meals can provide the appropriate source of fibre to help your canine pass stool more easily and relieve constipation.
Apple slices are a crunchy treat that your dog will like. They are high in fibre and nutrients, like vitamin C and potassium, and may even aid your canine's breath.
However, this fruit has a significant sugar content, so it should be consumed in moderation.
Moreover, because a whole apple could be a choking hazard, always provide apple segments.
The pips should be removed because they can be toxic if consumed in large quantities or frequently.
Oatmeal is high in vitamins and minerals such as manganese and vitamin B1, making it an excellent treat for dogs with digestive irregularities and those that are allergic to wheat.
Additionally, the soluble fibre in oats also aids in the control of your dog's bowel motions and blood glucose levels.
When those levels are balanced, your pet's risk of diabetes, cardiac illness, and overall cholesterol levels can be reduced.
You can make oatmeal treats by either baking or mixing them with fruits.
Just keep in mind that oatmeal should be thoroughly cooked before it is served.No sugar or flavouring is needed.
Blueberries are high in antioxidants that aid in slowing the ageing process in your dog's body.
They're also good for maintaining urinary tract health, lowering the chance of certain cancers, and protecting brain cells.
Serve them fresh as a delicious snack, or freeze them for a refreshing treat on hot summer days. You may also incorporate blueberries into your dog's regular diet if you wish.
This sweet and juicy fruit is an excellent way to ensure your dog is getting enough fluids.
They help flush the kidneys and keep the urinary system healthy, thanks to the antioxidant lycopene, which gives the fruit its pink tint.
Just keep in mind that dogs can't eat watermelon rind or seeds, so remove these before serving this delectable treat to your canine companion.
Mangoes, like many other fruits such as watermelon, pineapple, and blueberries, can provide your dog with a pleasant burst of hydration.
Because a single mango is about 83 per cent water, it's not only a refreshing treat for dogs on hot days, but it's also a great way to increase your pet’s water intake.
However, it's better if dogs eat mangoes in moderation. While human bodies are able to process the natural sugars it contains, the canine digestive system isn't as well adapted to deal with them.
8. Dehydrated dog treats
Dehydrated dog treats are a great option if you're frequently on the road with your pet. Some examples of these snacks are naturally dried beef meat (not jerky which contains TONS of preservatives), dried organs like liver, or dried vegetables/fruits like sweet potato or apricots.
These treats will fit easily into your luggage or backpack without adding much weight. You'll be able to whip it out and have it ready in no time simply by adding water (or you can give it dried to increase feeding time).
Besides, dehydrated snacks have all of the vital protein and minerals present in meat and vegetables, lasting longer than regular meals.
You can try out PetCubes' Natural Dry Dog Treats, which are freshly curated by professionals with ingredients from Australia. The treats are made from 100% natural meat proteins packed with nutrients that are great for your pet’s wellbeing.
9. Dry dog treats
Dry dog treats are easily digestible and include numerous vitamins and enzymes. These treats usually come in the form of dried poultry, liver, chicken, and beef, if they are naturally produced from raw meats.
However, some treats are highly processed and, especially the cheaper ones (lower quality) contain preservatives and additives that are not good for your dog’s health.
Because of its distinct and appealing flavour, most dog owners use them only for training their dogs.
Read more about the different types of natural dry dog treats and how to make them.
10. Freeze-dried dog treats
Freeze-dried dog treats are another healthy, tasty snack you can give your dog. They usually contain only one component, such as fresh chicken or cow liver, making them an excellent choice for dogs with dietary sensitivities such as allergies or digestive problems.
Freeze-dried food does not contain any moisture. This makes them portable, shelf-stable, easy to break into pieces, and very delicious to most dogs.
Additionally, because freeze-drying is a preservation method that does not use chemical preservatives or additives, you can rest assured that you’re not feeding your dog harmful substances. Learn more about freeze-dried dog treats and if they are good for your dog
11. Raw bones
If your dog loves chewing, raw meaty bones can be one of the healthiest treats you can give it.
Raw bones contain calcium, which is vital for your canine’s wellbeing. This is because calcium is required for all of the same processes in dogs as it is in humans.
It is a key component of bone formation, and the ratio of calcium to phosphorous in the diet is especially critical for your pet, even more so if it is young.
Additionally, chewing bones will help keep your dog, especially puppies, stimulated. You won't have to worry about your dog chewing on your shoes or other items.
However, it’s crucial to avoid offering your dog bones that are small enough for him to consume whole as it can be a choking hazard. The raw meaty bones like chicken or duck necks or feed should also be raw (and clean and of high quality) to prevent splintering. Do not offer cooked boned and always under supervision and remove once they are able to swallow it whole.
12. Hoof treats
Hoof treats are an amazing treat if your dog enjoys chewing for long periods. Made from cow hooves, a hoof treat contains keratin, a type of protein that is important for your canine’s fur.
A single cow hoof can easily last a whole day for moderate to robust chewers. That's a long time to chew, even for a canine.
So give your dog a hoof treat and watch your furry friend gnaw away.
Some commercially prepared pet treats are deceivingly heavy in calories, and some treats can slow or halt weight loss. Instead, replace your pet's food with fruits and veggies.
For example, green beans are a low-calorie vegetable with a pleasant texture. Your dog might enjoy them as a healthy green snack.
Furthermore, most dogs adore young carrots, which are a terrific weight-loss snack because they are low in calories.
However, it's vital to remember that not all fruits and vegetables are suitable for consumption by animals.
Garlic, onions, raisins, and grapes should all be avoided because they are poisonous to your pet.
While many store-bought treats are terrific, homemade goodies ensure that your dog gets a nutritious and balanced diet.
Preparing your own pet treats is also cost-effective. So, here's a list of goodies you can DIY at home:
Puppies as young as 3 or 4 weeks can begin nibbling on solid foods. However, do check with your veterinarian before starting anything new.
Dogs, like humans, enjoy treats, and we can overfeed them at times. Because dog treats are so tiny and disappear in a matter of seconds, it's all too simple to give too many.
Remember that treats should account for no more than 10% of a dog's daily calorie intake; and if you want to give your dog treats, try the healthy options mentioned above.
So, consult your veterinarian to estimate how many treat that is. Then, they can provide a recommendation based on your dog's favourite treats, weight, and activity level.
Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.
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