One of the best ways to train your dog is to use treats to reward and reinforce good behavior. However, with so many products on the market it can be overwhelming for a new (or even veteran) dog owner looking to purchase treats and other new dog essentials.
The documentary ‘Pet Fooled‘ caused me to take a closer look at the dog treats we feed our husky Aura. So I’ve done the research and found some of the best healthy dog treats to feed your husky.
What Makes a Treat ‘Healthy’?
First off, treats should only make up approximately 10% of your dog’s diet, the rest being kibble or another source. Being able to break a treat into smaller pieces will give you plenty of training treats without spoiling your husky’s dinner!
Many of the same factors that make ‘human food’ healthy also apply to pet foods and treats as well. Ideally we want to find whole, unprocessed ingredients that are sourced as close to the manufacturer as possible. Organic ingredients are less likely to contain contaminants but do cost more.
For the most part we want to avoid preservatives and dyes in our dog treats. If there are preservatives they should be natural ones such as vitamin C and vitamin E. We also want to avoid treats with packaging that doesn’t provide calorie intake information.
Ingredients to Watch Out For
Here is a list of ingredients to steer clear of when selecting your dog treats.
- Artificial preservatives like BHA and BHT.
- Artificial colors which are unnecessarily added.
- Added sweeteners such as sugar and corn syrup.
- Chemical humectants like propylene glycol, used to lock in moisture.
- Byproducts or ‘meat meal’ which is everything deemed unfit for human consumption.
You should also be aware that dogs can be allergic to certain ingredients just like a human can. One report found beef and dairy products to be the top two allergens among canines. If you suspect your dog of being allergic to something take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible to have an allergy test performed.
The Best Healthy Dog Treat Recommendations
Here is a list of the best recommendations for healthy dog treats.
- Nylabone Natural Nutri Dent Dental Chew Treats
- Rocco & Roxie Supply Co Jerky Sticks
- Newman’s Own Organic Premium Treats
- Blue Wilderness Trail Treats Dog Biscuits
- Zuke’s Mini Naturals Healthy Moist Training Treats
Dog Treats to Avoid
Here is a list of some popular dog treats that should be avoided at all cost.
- Bone Treats – these treats have ‘have caused gastrointestinal obstructions, blocked airways, internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea’. Because they’re often bulky and hard these treats can also hurt your dog’s teeth.
- Waggin’ Train Jerky Treats, Canyon Creek Ranch Jerky Treats, Milo’s Kitchen Homestyle Dog Treats – these treats are currently under investigation by the FDA.
- Milk Bone and Beneful Treats – these treats contain chemical preservatives BHA and BHT and added sugar.
Protect Your Dog From Obesity and Contaminants
Events like the 2007 Pet Food Recalls show that the best way to make sure nothing poisonous is getting into your dog’s treats is to make them at home. This way you can moderate exactly what ingredients are going into your pet’s snacks.
Obesity is an increasingly bigger issue among pets in the United States so be sure to remember that treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s total diet. Consider feeding them dinner after training time because this way you can simply feed them less to account for any excessive snacking during the training session.
Is your favorite healthy dog treat not listed in our recommendations? Leave a comment below and let us know what healthy snacks you’re feeding your pet!