Dog Treats: The Dos and Don’ts

Whether it’s to help train your dog into learning a new trick, feeling guilty for leaving them at home all day or even just falling for those puppy dog eyes, We all like to treat our dog. Sometimes we like to give them extra treats from time to time but it's important to know what's right and wrong for them.

Our excuse is that since they give us their undivided love and affection an extra treat is the least we could do in return. However, treating our dog with so many treats can have a negative impact on their health much to our dismay. These can lead to digestive problems due to too much unhealthy food being eaten too often. Here we’ve created a list of what you type of treats to be wary of when at the pet store and give you some amazing alternatives.

Rawhide

Despite their popularity with dogs, happily gnawing on the treat for hours or days on end a rawhide treat is actually one of the most dangerous treats and there are a few reasons for this. Rawhide is the inner soft layer of an animal and normally comes from cows, on its own it’s not that dangerous to dogs.

It’s not the hide itself that is dangerous for the dog but how the hide is treated in production and the chemicals that are used that are. In the making of these treats, the hide is normally coated in sodium sulphate lining to separate the layers of leather in the hide.

It’s then bleached and preserved using other chemicals, so it lasts longer. Then colourings and flavourings are added to entice dogs to chew on the hide and finally they finish by cutting and glueing the hide into shapes.

shallow focus photography of adult tricolor beagle

Jerky

Jerky is not just bad for us but also our furry friends. They’re filled with preservatives and sweeteners, making them incredibly unhealthy for our dogs. Jerky for dogs generally contains ingredients such as wheat flour, preservatives, colouring and salts. These unnatural ingredients don’t serve any good nutritional value to your dog and an excessive amount can harm them.

Dentastix

You’ve most likely seen a lot of adverts showing how good these are for your dog’s teeth. Although this may be the case for your dog’s teeth it isn’t for the rest of their body. Not only are these a potential choke hazard for any sized dog, but these treats are also full of harmful ingredients such as additives, preservatives and flours. If you are worried about your dog’s dental hygiene, then it’s advised to brush their teeth for them.

Bacon strips

There are a lot of reasons why these treats are bad for your dogs. First, bacon is harmful to humans and even worse for dogs. Although these are advertised as bacon strips there is very little bacon used in these treats. There are ingredients such as sodium nitrite, a carcinogenic, salt and even bacon fat that is usually preserved in the cancer-causing agent, BHA. All these ingredients are harmful to your dog and an over amount of feeding these treats can lead to your dog becoming overweight, diabetic or in the worst case develop life-threatening illnesses.

person giving food to white and brown dog

Treats you should give them

Thankfully we are not saying you shouldn’t give your dog treats despite mentioning, undoubtedly some of your dog’s favourite treats. Just as we like things such as chocolate and cakes that aren’t good for us, they can be consumed in sensible moderation. When it comes to rewarding them for good behaviour or learning a new trick, healthier alternatives are far better and your dog will still love them.

Dehydrated treats

If you’re lucky enough to have a dehydrator then you’ll no doubt be the best owner in the world. With the ability to make meaty treats on demand for your pet without risking their health, keeping you both happy. All it takes for you to make these treats is fresh, boneless and skinless meat cut into strips. You can season with safe herbs to help entice your dog’s senses as well.

These treats don’t even always have to be meaty; it is known that dogs enjoy many different foods and if you’re being careful of your dog’s diet then a great substitute for meat is banana. The process of dehydrating food is a natural way to preserve the food instead of using chemicals and other preservatives that can harm your dog’s health.

long-coat tan puppy

Homemade treats

Making homemade treats is a great way to know what your dog is eating nutritionally and help you keep track of how healthy you’re allowing your dog to be. If you like to give your dog a lot of treats, then it would be a good idea to fill those treats full of healthy ingredients, so you don’t feel guilty when you give them 30 in a week.

If they have been extra good, then you could make treats with their favourite ingredients. A great homemade treat you can create is the frozen watermelon, these frozen treats are fresh and easy to make and as they are just fruit juice which is healthy for your dog.

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By Raised By Humans