Treats are an excellent way to bond with your dog and encourage good behaviours. Rewarding your dog with a tasty treat reinforces positive outcomes and shows them how much you care. Still, choosing healthy products is vital to ensure a balanced diet.
With so many “healthy” dog treats on the market, choosing the right one for your dog can be challenging. Here, we’ll break down some of the different healthy treat categories, explain their specific benefits to your dog, and provide guidance on quality products within each category.
Which healthy dog treats are best for your fur friend?
When looking for healthy dog treats, there are some essential factors that you’ll want to consider:
- Are all of the ingredients natural?
- Is there added sugar or chemical additives?
- Do you recognise the names of the ingredients on the list?
- Has the food been prepared to maintain the nutritional quality of its components?
These foodstuffs might come from your kitchen cupboards or reputable brands whose premade natural dog treats offer optimum nutrition for your dog.
For example, Waggly provides a range of single-ingredient treat foods free from grains, sugars, additives, and preservatives. This affordable range of Australian-made snacks is perfect for reinforcing positive behaviours and maintaining your dog’s overall health.
As a general rule, treats should make up no more than 5-10% of your dog’s diet.
Healthy dog treats to consider:
Dental treats are foods that offer a tasty reward while improving the oral health of your dog. These chews can help to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, which can cause dental disease, while also helping to combat bad breath.
With dental disease among the leading health issues for ageing dogs, this type of treat is excellent for keeping your dog’s health well-balanced.
If you’re looking for low-calorie treats, OraVet offers an excellent range of dental treats designed for daily use that come in a tasty vanilla flavour. Your dog will love the texture of these chewy nibbles; while they enjoy eating, the treats will work to defend against plaque and tartar – preventing new bacteria from attaching to their teeth.
Meanwhile, Bell and Bone’s treats provide your dog with a natural combination of ingredients for optimum oral health. Salmon contributes to a shiny coat, mint encourages fresh breath, while charcoal protects against plaque and tartar. Duck is great for dogs with allergies, while cinnamon promotes healthy gums. And seaweed deters plaque and bad breath.
Health care treats
Healthcare treats are a great option if your dog has a specific condition or issue you’d like to address, such as joint problems, stress, anxiety, or ageing. Purchasing treats designed to target these issues can reward your dog while helping them achieve a better overall sense of wellbeing.
Vetalogica joint care treats offer support for optimal joint care via a combination of natural ingredients like omega oils, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The product contains no fillers like corn or wheat and no artificial colours and flavours – but it still manages to achieve a taste your dog will love.
Meanwhile, Vetalogica’s tranquil formula supports emotional balance in your dog via a blend of natural ingredients, Tryptophan, and B vitamins. This calming treat helps alleviate stress and anxiety in your dog during travel, vet trips, separation, thunderstorms, or anything else that causes them stress.
Natural dog treats are those made from ingredients found in nature rather than those manufactured by humans. It’s the equivalent of packing your diet full of healthy fruits and veggies rather than compromising your health with an endless stream of processed foods.
The natural ingredients used in these products offer several benefits for your dog, such as increased immunity, better digestion, and improved cognition. They can also keep your dog’s coat healthy, improve their oral health, and help them to maintain a healthy weight.
Zeal’s free-range treats are made from a range of natural New Zealand ingredients with a high meat content and exposed marrow. These tasty treats make an excellent resource for training sessions while helping support your dog’s oral hygiene and overall health. Flavours in this high-protein, low-fat range include veal, venison, chicken, beef, lamb, and hoki.
Single protein treats
We’ve all heard the phrase “less is more,” and it’s true for the single-ingredient treats that offer optimum nutrition free of additives and preservatives. With these treats typically freeze-dried or dehydrated, the nutritional value is maintained, while the simplistic makeup benefits dogs with allergies or food sensitivities.
WAG provides some of the best single protein treats on the market with a range that includes beef tendons, kangaroo ribs, goat horns, and deer antlers. The limited ingredients in these high-protein treats keep them reasonably low-calorie and free of fillers.
The added benefits of WAG’s single-ingredient treats are that they last for a long time, offering your dog a boredom-busting chew toy packed with healthy nutrition. Sustainable sourcing means reduced waste and the balance of local ecosystems, and regular chewing of this type of treat can help dislodge plaque and tartar for increased oral health.
How many natural dog treats can my dog consume?
Just because a dog treat is natural or healthy doesn’t mean it should be consumed excessively. Part of why treats are successful in training and bonding practices is that they are a reward, only given at certain times.
If you feed your dog too many treats, they will lose effectiveness for being “something special,” and the high-calorie levels in many of these treat foods could cause problems like obesity, tiredness, or joint problems in your dog.
As a general guideline, treats should make up no more than 5-10% of your dog’s diet. If your dog has special dietary needs, it’s worth booking a consultation with your vet for further guidance and clarification.