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Visit a large pet store, and you’ll no doubt see a bewildering array of hundreds of different brands and varieties of dog treats. As a dog owner, you’ll be left wondering, “What’s best for my dog? What are the dog treat brands to avoid?”
I’ve done some research and it turns out that there are a variety of factors to think about when you’re choosing the best treats for your best friend and we’ll go through these in a moment.
One of the biggest concerns that pet owners have is the health of their canine pals and the quality and quantity of the food that we give them has a massive impact on this. Unfortunately, many dog treats lack any nutritional value and are filled with fat, mushrooms, fungi, and even mould.
Fortunately, there are some great brands available for our precious pets that will keep them happy and healthy. I’ve put one of the best below.
We’ll take a look at a few common questions about dog treats, with a few tips on choosing the best dog treat brand. Then I’ll note some of the brands to steer clear of.
Brand to choose: Milk-Bone
This is a 7 Lb box of treats that will keep your dog happy for a long time. These dog biscuits from Milk-Bone come in 5 meat flavors and are bone-shaped. There are around 330 treats in the box and they can even be broken in half if you’re wanting to make them last longer, for smaller dogs, or to reduce the volume of treats that they’re eating. Not that the calories in these are an issue – they’ve only got 5 calories per biscuit.
Take a look at the reviews on Amazon and you’ll see plenty of stories of dogs who love these treats so much that they’ll chew through the cardboard box to get at them. Or dish out lots of slobbery wet kisses to encourage you to dish out the treats.
Another plus point (especially with those kisses) is that the crunchy texture of these treats helps to remove plaque and tartar build-up from your dog’s teeth, leaving them clean and with fresh breath Read more+
Using treats to train dogs
Dog treats are a great way to keep your pet motivated during obedience training.
Your pet needs to learn to work for all the treats she receives. Remember that those big eyes and gorgeous doggy smile should not earn them a reward. Only give them a treat when they have done something correctly. Use them as a positive reinforcement when they show good behavior. Never ever give them a food reward after they’ve done something wrong. If you do, you’ll find that undoing that bad training will be far harder than doing it right the first time.
Whichever training method you choose, you’ll be teaching your dog a little at a time. Complex behaviors require multiple steps and each requires multiple practice sessions. Be sure you don’t over-feed treats and don’t give food rewards after every single success. Instead, save that special food treat for the big wins. Reward those mini wins with special praise, a pat on their head, or a good scratch behind their ears. This keeps them guessing about what their reward will be, plus it stops them from putting on weight and losing their appetite for their normal daily meals.
What age can i give my puppy treats?
Veterinarian, David Elbeze, suggests that you can usually start to give your puppy treats from 2 months old. Before that, they may not have the teeth to eat big treats made for full-grown dogs. Remember not to give them too many treats otherwise over time, it could lead to obesity and other digestive problems.
Are dog treats bad for dogs?
No! As we’ve already seen, treats can be a really useful aid to obedience training. However, dog treats can be bad if they’re made from unhealthy ingredients (more on this below), or if they’re given out in excessive quantities.
A useful rule of thumb is to limit dog treats to less than 10% of their daily food allowance. That figure should be adjusted down if your pet has been spayed/neutered, doesn’t get sufficient exercise, or is overweight.
Can too many dog treats cause vomiting
Short answer – yes, it can. It can also lead to obesity and other health issues. They’re not much different from us in that regard. Imagine how you’d feel if you ate a family-sized bag of candy!
If you have any worries or doubts about your dog and their digestion, take him to see your veterinarian as soon as you can.
What to avoid in dog food
According to veterinarian, Patrick Mahaney, there’s a list of ingredients to avoid in your dog’s food. These are:
- Corn and wheat gluten
- Meat and grain meals and by-products
- BHA also knows as Butylated Hydroxyanisole
- BHT also knows as Butylated Hydroxytoluene
- Food Dyes including Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, 4-MIE
- PG also knows as Propylene Glycol
- Rendered fat
Why chocolate is bad for dogs
Chocolate is really poisonous to our canine pals and, in large enough amounts, chocolate and other cocoa products can actually kill your dog.
The specific component of chocolate that is toxic to dogs is called theobromine. We humans easily break down theobromine in our digestive system, but dogs process it slower, and that allows it to build up to toxic levels in their bodies. In large quantities, it can lead to irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, internal bleeding, seizures, and heart attack. If your canine chum has eaten any amount of chocolate then make sure you call your veterinarian immediately. Don’t wait.
Good dog food ingredients
I find it fascinating that dogs, unlike cats, aren’t actually strictly carnivores. Meat can, and should, make up the bulk of their diet, however dogs can also get nutrients that they need from fruits, vegetables, and grains. Far from being simply bulking agents, these are a fantastic source of essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals that they need. A portion of good dog food contains a healthy balance of meat, fruit, vegetables, and grains. The best foods will have high-quality versions of each of these.
What treats to give dogs
Let’s look at a few tips for choosing dog treats.
First up, always read the ingredients label.
Just like you would for anything you were going to feed yourself, always read the list of ingredients to see what you are going to feed your dog. If a pack of treats is full of trash, preservatives, and additives, then don’t buy them for your trusting friend!
Today, with the growing popularity and increased availability of dog treats, we have many more options to pick from and you’ll see more and more dog food manufacturers producing everything from gourmet treats to natural dog treats to organic dog treats and even dog cakes. The options are truly incredible and offer some fantastic alternatives for your dog, in terms of both health and variety of tastes.
Dog treats are now available in a wide variety of flavors such as vegetables, beef, bacon, cheese, chicken. I’ve even seen chocolate-flavored treats available. These come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, such as bones, human figures, sticks, sausage rolls and many, many more. Although I’m not sure that our dogs really care about the shapes – I think they just want to gobble them up.
Along with this explosion in the shapes, sizes, and flavors available, there is also a big variation in the price of the treats. Whilst it’s not necessary to buy the most expensive treats in the stores, it is recommended to avoid the cheapest ones, as these will tend to have the most additives.
Like us, many of our canine friends can be allergic to specific ingredients and foods. The better-quality gourmet treats are often produced without these ingredients which dogs are sensitive to. Low-calorie dog treats are also available to help keep them in shape.
Which dog treat brands to avoid?
Okay, let’s have a look over some of the brands to avoid.
Monster Yak Chew: This chew from Downtown Pet Supply looks like a fantastic treat. It’s big so will last your average-sized pooch for a long time. Unfortunately, when you read the reviews, you’ll see that they seem to have an issue with mold on the chew. Quite a few reviewers have had to scrape this layer off before reluctantly giving it to their doggy pal (and then worrying about the effects afterwards). Best to steer clear of this one. Read more+
Grandma Lucy’s Organic Baked Treats: Not your usual flavor of dog treat, but these Organic Baked treats from Grandma Lucy’s are made with coconut rather than wheat flour, so are apparently good for animals with a wheat intolerance. That’s very welcome. What’s less welcome are the number of reviews which talk about the bags arriving and the dog owners finding that the contents had been reduced to crumbs. It’s not clear what’s causing this issue, but for the price, I’d expect a product that is fully intact (and ready to be reduced to crumbs in a dog’s greedy mouth). Read more+
That’s all good news. But, unfortunately, these treats look to be very expensive for a tiny 5-ounce bag. Compare these with the huge box of Milk-Bone treats at the top of the page and you’ll see what I mean. Read more+
Reviewers felt that the treats were small so only suitable for smaller dogs, and there were questions raised over the unappealing aroma of the product. Read more+
The packaging describes them as having a ‘Chewy’ texture. However, many of the reviewers have described them as being very hard instead. That’s great if that’s the kind of treat you’re looking for, but not if you’re looking for a treat that is actually chewy. Read more+
Lots of the reviewers have pointed out that these are more like gullet sticks (i.e. hollow), rather than the solid shapes of bully sticks. As a result, they don’t last anywhere near the same length of time as a proper bully stick would. Read more+
Because there’s such an array of dog treats to choose from, you’ve probably been left wondering, “What’s best for my dog? Which ones should I avoid?”
I hope my research has given you a better idea of which ingredients and brands to avoid, and which to choose. There are some great treats available for our pooches, that will keep them happy and healthy (and, hopefully, obediently doing what we’ve asked them to!)
I think Milk-Bone’s dog treats are a great choice for their tastiness and teeth cleaning. If you get a box, then prepare to be rewarded with doggy kisses!
**The reviews in our articles are based on customer reviews, star ratings, and online complaints. Therefore ThisButNotThat are in no way liable**