Whether it’s a pack of chips, toast, or a carrot, the minute you start snacking, your dog will find you and stare at you expectantly. More often than not, we find ourselves giving in to those puppy eyes and sharing our food. And while that’s a completely natural reflex, we must stop and ask ourselves, What are the healthiest treats for a dog?
You’ll be surprised to learn that most human food, especially the cooked variety, is unsafe for dogs. Even more surprising is the fact that most pet treats aren’t pet-friendly.
Wondering what you can do to swap store-variety pet treats for healthy treats for dogs? For starters, fruits and veggies make for amazing nutritious treats, and they can be found in the kitchen itself—no need to make a trip to the supermarket.
Ready to learn more?
Healthy Treats for Your Dogs
Big brand names, price tag, brightly colored packaging with photos of healthy dogs, never-ending list of vitamins in the ingredient section—are any of these real indicators of the health quotient of the pet snack or treat that you’re buying?
Although we’ve been wired into believing that convenience and health come in fancy packaging, the truth is far from it. That said, let’s explore food alternatives to packaged treats that have the greatest health benefits for your pet.
Peanut butter is a healthy source of protein, niacin, vitamin B and E, and natural fats. And while we love the packaged variety for dogs, a DIY version is a sensible snack. Not sure how to make it? Simply process roasted (salt-free) peanuts till they turn into a creamy paste.
If you’ve never done this before, know that it can take about three minutes to blend the crushed peanuts to release enough natural oil to reach a paste-like consistency. Isn’t that one of the simplest homemade treats for dogs?
Most people know that popcorn is a great, low-calorie snack that helps them stay full. They don’t consider that popcorn is only healthy if eaten without oodles of salt and butter. Are you now wondering if popcorn is a healthy treat for dogs? The answer is yes—in its saltless and butter-free version, that is.
Popcorn is also highly nutritious—it has several important nutritional elements such as minerals, fiber, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc, making it wholesome.
Air-popped popcorn is the healthiest version of popcorn for your dog. Make sure you remove unpopped kernels as these can injure your dog’s teeth and gums.
If you aren’t in favor of only vegetable snacks for dogs, why not try meat-based?
While raw or undercooked pork is a complete no-no, cooked pork makes a fantastic snack for your dog. All you have to do is cook a side of lean pork without oil and seasoning, chop it into tiny bits and toss some to your dog when it’s treat time.
Pork is a healthy treat for dogs as it is high in Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12. It also has high quantities of potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and selenium. Grass-fed pork is best for dogs as the meat will be high in omega-3.
These protein-packed treats are great when training your dog as they can be broken into small pieces that can be used as a reward for a job well done.
Teaching your dog commands such as fetch, sit, and stay? Try blueberries as a reward the next time you tell your pet what a good job it has done.
Blueberries are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, especially vitamin C and K. These cheap healthy treats are a delight to bigger dogs and small ones. At the same time, younger pups simply cannot resist them.
What treats can I give my dog on a diet? Blueberries are perfect as they are low in calories and can be fed as fresh or frozen treats but in limited portions. They are power-packed with phytochemicals and high in fiber. Blueberries are also a superfood that prevents cell damage to your dog just like it would in humans.
Be sure to pamper your pooch with some berries the next time you bring out a new batch to make some blueberry juice, smoothie, or delicious pie.
Be it cheese or milk. Dogs tend to love dairy products. But are these treats healthy for your dog? Milk is not harmful to your dog as long as it is provided in limited quantities. If your dog is lactose intolerant, you can easily offer it products like cheese and yogurt without worrying about side effects.
As with all snacks, only give dairy products to your dog in moderation as the fat quantity can quickly add up, causing obesity and pancreatitis.
Unhealthy fat can be the main reason your dog gains weight, and unwanted pounds are not healthy for your dogs.
Which Treats Should You Avoid Giving Your Dog?
While there are many things you can feed your dog, there are some human foods dogs can’t eat. Here is a list of treats that are unsafe for your dog:
- Grapes and Raisins
- Macadamia Nuts, Pecans, and Almonds
- Raw Fish and Raw Meat
Always consult with your veterinarian before making any dietary changes to your dog’s diet.
To Sum It Up
While it is a common habit to give a dog treats between meals, for training well done, for general good behavior, and to keep them occupied, quantities can add up during the day. Keep an eye on how much you’re giving your pet. As a thumb rule, no matter what treats you want to offer your dog, keep it to 10% of their daily total calorie intake.
Don’t forget to come by again and tell us if your pup liked the snacks on our list of healthy treats for dogs!
Featured Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay