Sure, dog treats are just that - treats. But while you want to reward your furry companion you don’t want to do so at the expense of their health. Is it possible to give them a tasty snack that is also good for them? Absolutely. The challenging part is identifying the right ones when there are so many dog treats on the market to choose from. Here’s how to make a more educated decision when making this small but important purchase for your pup.
Consider treats in the same relative way that you do for their normal food. They must contain an optimal nutrient profile that is recommended by the veterinary industry. What does this profile look like?
There must be a balance of essential fatty acids (EFAs), necessary vitamins and minerals, critical antioxidants, and healthy proteins and amino acids. More importantly, these nutrients must come from natural foods that accommodate your dog’s digestive system. We have provided a general guide to the dog treats most dog experts would recommend, right here.
This isn’t just about giving your dog a variety of different snacks to keep things “interesting” for them, even if they are fickle fur babies. Their diet must vary in terms of the nutrients that we addressed above, and this carries over into the snacks that they devour too.
Recent studies have shown that dogs have evolved to eat a more varied diet than their wolf ancestors. The shift evidences comparable genetic changes seen in humans, indicating that dogs and their owners share a similar evolutionary narrative.
For this reason, it is important to look beyond meat-only treats to include natural foods such as apples, bananas, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggs, fish (namely pollock), strawberries, sweet potato, and even quinoa. With nutritional benefits to be found by offering them a broad spectrum of foods, you want to vary the snacks from within the same trusted brand. Look for dog treats that offer options of both single ingredient and multi-ingredients so that together you deliver the variety their evolved genetic code needs.
Your dog is instinctive and intuitive. They know your mood. They are in tune with their surroundings unlike any human could ever be. This innate capacity also spills over into self-awareness that even the most meditative individual could never achieve. When it comes to their diet their instincts guide them towards what they are supposed to eat.
Let’s take protein and amino acids (key nutrients addressed above) as an example. Studies have consistently shown that dogs can tell when their food lacks a single amino acid and in response will avoid eating them. They are known to selectively choose foods that are high in protein and amino acids. The same is true for other nutrients and ingredients, albeit in varying capacities by breed.
This isn’t the sole determining factor by any means, but it will serve you well to trust your pet when presented with dog treats. If they don’t want to eat it - don’t force the issue because there is something instinctual behind their lack of motivation to consume certain foods.
The healthiest treats for dogs are greatly determined by what we’ve discussed above. Beyond that, we do recommend that your pet gets a current health check from your veterinarian. They will identify nutritional deficiencies that will help you choose which treats from within our store are best suited to your companion.