Big brown eyes, wagging tail and imploring look can be simply irresistible, but handing over too many of the wrong kinds of treats can lead to health problems. From obesity because of an excess of calories to dental problems due to hard, brittle chewables, the treats you use to reward your dog could end up doing more harm than good. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite healthy treats for dogs, so you know what to give and what to avoid.
Whole foods: Many of the same foods that are healthy for you are also good for your dog. Small bites of whole foods like chicken can provide protein but have only a small number of calories. Small pieces of dehydrated liver or low-fat meats you cook yourself can make ideal healthy treats for your pet. Provide them one at a time and a little goes a long way.
Veggies: Some of the same vegetables you use in your own healthy meals can also help your dog stay fit. Baby carrots, small florets of broccoli and even a banana slice can help reward your pet without adding to his waistline. While many fruits and veggies are pet friendly, skip grapes, onions, raisins and other hazards.
Grains: A few pieces of air popped popcorn, or a plain rice cake can help reward your pet without exposing him to preservatives or more fats than he needs.
Chewables: A treat that can be enjoyed for hours can keep your pet busy and out of trouble without contributing to a weight problem. Rawhide can be enjoyed until it gets too small (it becomes a choking hazard, but steer clear of some of the new trendy offerings like antlers – these can damage your pet’s teeth as he chews.
Rewarding your pet with small, healthy treats can help you both when it is time for training – and can also help you forge a lasting connection with your pet. Giving him treats that are truly healthy helps him stay fit and avoid some of the issues associated with obesity.