One of the longest-standing debates of all when it comes to pet care is that of exactly what kinds of treats make the best bets for dogs…or are even safe, for that matter. For every person that claims one kind of treat is best, there’s usually another standing by to tell you that the exact opposite is the case. As such, it’s hardly surprising that the vast majority of pet owners spend much of their time wholly confused as to what does and does not make sense for their dogs, leading to somewhat random buying habits and often the perpetuation of potentially harmful feeding habits.
According to the experts, the subject of safe dog treats is in fact a pretty simple one. Not only does much of the matter come down to little more than common sense, but the rest is a case of listening to what the experts have to say on the matter as opposed to largely unfounded public opinion.
So if you’re the kind that likes to both look out for your dog’s best interests and side with fact over pure myth and fiction, here’s a quick look at the five most important rules of all that can help guarantee safe treat-time for your pet:
1 – Don’t Go OTT
First and foremost, it really doesn’t matter how healthy the treats you buy for your dog are, you still should never allow treats to constitute more than about 10% of their daily diet. The reason being that even healthy treats do not offer the kind of 100% nutrition that’s provided with a good dog food – they may be packed with protein for example, but lack other essential nutrients. For every treat you give them as part of their daily eating regime, you effectively shave a little more off their total daily nutritional content. So while a few treats a day will never do them any harm, going OTT is far from helpful for their health and wellbeing.
2 – Quality Brands and Suppliers
It really doesn’t matter how shiny the packaging is or how wonderfully affordable the treats may be – all that matters is what goes into them. There will always be those pet brands that are committed to using only the finest ingredients and offering rock-solid guarantees that nothing goes in there that might harm your pet. By contrast, there are those that load their dog treats with nothing but the kind of garbage that’s really not fit for consumption, along with far too much fat, sugar, salt and other harmful additives. As such, it’s important to ensure you read the label carefully before making any such purchase, though the best way of going about things is to find a brand of trust and to stick with them.
3 – Avoid Human Treats
The subject as to which kinds of human snacks and treats are safe or otherwise for dogs is one that’s complicated and highly-debated to say the least. As such, it’s much easier to follow a simple rule of thumb – don’t feed your dog anything that you’d consider to be something of a human-focused snack treat. From crisps to biscuits to cakes and of course all kinds of chocolate, if it’s the kind of snack that’s been engineered to taste good to you, chances are it’s not a good treat for your dog. The being said, there’s generally nothing to worry about if you choose to:
4 – Offer Healthy Human Food
In terms of human foods that can make great treats for your dog, a few cubes of chicken breast or the odd slice of low-salt ham never fail to go down a treat. Chances are you’ll also find that a little bit of cheese now and again works wonders for getting your dog’s attention – think of anything that’s natural, untainted, high in protein and generally low in most other things. Also, be very sparing with human treats.
5 – Speak to an Expert
Last but not least, if you’re in any doubt as to which treats would make the best possible choices for your pet, speak to an expert for a little advice. These days, it’s rare to find any leading pet store or supplier selling anything but the kind of Grade-A dog treats that have been extensively vetted and checked for quality and safety. Nevertheless, there’s no room for taking anything for granted when it comes to the health and wellbeing of your dog, so along with always reading the label, be sure to ask a few questions when and where necessary.