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10 steps to choosing the right treats for your dog

What treats to avoid and how to make the best treats for your dog

Forty-five days ago my team and I went for a retreat in Tofino BC. Without a doubt, Canada’s beautiful, wild and rugged west coast is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Home to bears, whales, wild eagles and large trees, it is a true dog paradise. In Tofino, dogs run happily and freely on the beach, without any problems with adults and children.

I enjoy going out with my team because I learn a lot more about them and about me.

Some of you may be wondering why I remember exactly how many days have passed since I was in Tofino. The first night we went out for dinner and I thought I would challenge myself by not eating desserts. One of our team members, Alicia, joked, “I bet you can’t make it tomorrow!” And so I decided that I would not just last 48 hours, but 48 days! No chocolate, no desserts, no sugar, honey or maple syrup or anything that contained these ingredients :-(.

Of course, the next day my team presented me with a three-tiered box of Vancouver’s finest handmade chocolates!” I bravely survived all the clapping from my dear friends and colleagues, all the ahhhs, oohs and hmmmms.

But that wasn’t the hardest part. For six weeks now I have been resisting the countless people who have made it their sport to try to get me to break my promise.

Come on, Peter, just have one cookie, one chocolate, one piece of cake, one Margarita. No one will know! We won’t tell!

This got me thinking: why did people work so hard to convince me to break my promise? Some of them wanted to treat me, some wanted me to come along and enjoy the treats and maybe some wanted me to fail because they wanted to kick their sugar habit and couldn’t.

I often say that dogs are a lot like us. They too love treats and some puppies won’t stop barking and howling until they get what they ask for.

Mr. Pavlov knew many years ago that reflexes are more powerful than anything and while I’m not saying dogs shouldn’t be given treats, there are a few important things to remember when you or others are treating your dog.

That’s why I’ve put together 10 tips for healthy treats for your dog:

  1. Ideally, you can make your own treats if possible. Dehydrated, baked or cooked cuts of non-medicated or organic meat are great. Click here for another recipe for homemade treats.
  2. If you buy treats, make sure they are not made in China and other countries with poor quality control.
  3. Avoid treats that are too good to be true. Think about it. A pound of dried treats was made from ten times the amount of fresh ingredients. If you buy a pound of dried chicken breast for $10, the math is wrong. I wouldn’t touch them.
  4. Beware of frequent feeding of liver treats. Again, dehydrated treats are much more nutritious and vitamin-rich, but in the case of the liver an overdose of fat-soluble vitamins. In addition, the liver contains more toxins and impurities than muscle meat because it is an important detoxification organ of the body.
  5. Watch out for small fish treats like sardines and herring. Again, it’s difficult to pinpoint the source. Not all preservatives are listed and small fish can be a problem due to strontium contamination.
  6. Some people like to feed salmon skin, which is good from a nutritional perspective. However, even salmon contains low to moderate amounts of mercury and if fed regularly, mercury levels can be surprisingly high. If you’re concerned about mercury and other toxins in your dog’s body, you can do so have your dog tested for HairQ.
  7. One of the riskiest adventures for your dog’s health is giving cheap treats or treats based on grains and wheat. Dogs’ digestive tracts are not built to digest grains, which can lead to inflammatory bowel disease. The gut is critical to your dog’s health and immunity, and dogs benefit from grain-free treats and the addition of non-dairy specific probiotics for dogs.
  8. The best way to prevent your dog from becoming a cookie monster is to feed him irregularly. This way, he or she won’t be dissatisfied if you run out of sweets or are too busy to give one. The same goes for feeding. Remember that dogs in nature had no clock and the rabbit or bird did not end up ‘on their plate’ exactly at 7pm every day.
  9. Because of the above, I suggest that you do not allow strangers to give your dog treats and if they insist, or are your friends, give them your healthy treats and let them know that for health reasons (or allergies) your dog should only have certain types delicacies.
  10. If your dog’s favorite treat is a bone, avoid rawhide, beef tendons and highly processed dentin bones. There is a reason why they can sit in containers and baskets for months. It is common for them to be full of preservatives and chemicals and it is difficult to keep track of what has been added, so it is better to stay away from them.

We all love to treat our dogs and we all love to eat a treat from time to time. After 48 days, which is less than a week, I plan to eat my favorite all-natural gelato and I know I’ll give my dog ​​a few licks.

Life isn’t about depriving ourselves and our dogs of pleasure, but it’s good to know which treats are healthy and which ones to avoid. I’m all for sharing an occasional treat that isn’t part of your dog’s regular diet, like gelato, cheese, or a small slice of pizza crust, as long as he or she isn’t allergic. We just need to make sure that treats are a special occasion once every few weeks, rather than an everyday occurrence.

I promise that your dog will be just as happy with a piece of homemade cooked or dried meat as he will with an expensive, store-bought treat that may contain ingredients of unknown origin and quality.

Giving your dog a treat is an expression of love. Choosing a healthy treat is a smart choice!

Recommended reading:

Does your dog suffer from monkey love?

12 things you need to know about dog treats

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

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