Treats are an essential part of doggie life—ask any dog. Not only great for every teachable moment and training session, treats can help you build a positive reaction in your dog to something new or scary. But by definition, treats are delicious and desirable, and treat makers often achieve this with extra fat, salt, and sugar. Here are some rules of thumb to avoid undermining your dog’s healthy diet:
First, only buy commercially made dog treats that contain named meats (e.g. “chicken” or “chicken meal,” not simply “meat” or “meal”) and vegetables. If grains appear on the ingredients panel, make sure they’re whole. Look for whole-food ingredients such as carrots, blueberries, beef, and whole wheat. Some preservatives are necessary, especially in chewy treats, so opt for natural ones like vitamins C and E and avoid BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, sodium nitrate, and other chemicals. Finally, don’t forget that many dogs consider a cube of cheddar or a bit of leftover chicken a big treat.