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The Good, Bad and Ugly of Dog Treats

Everyone loves a good dog treats and everyone loves to share them with their pets. But how do you know if your dog is getting a healthy diet? Many people are surprised to discover just how healthy their dog really likes raw vegetables and fruits, but even healthy dogs are omnivorous (just like us.) It’s important to keep their diet healthy and balanced, but sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what to give them. Another great rule of thumb is not to give your dog raw treats near meal time.

The best treats are those made from all natural, high quality ingredients. You can find these in any store where pet foods are sold, and many stores sell healthy dog training treats as well. Low calorie, high quality treats are easy to find and usually taste better than the frozen, pre-made variety. Here are a few that you should consider buying:

Dogs love crunchy, sweet treats. Puppies need small, smoky dogs snacks to help curb their bribing tendencies, and there are plenty of healthy dog treats available that will tickle your canine pal’s fancy. Choose treats with low calories, but high nutritional value, such as raw, unpeeled apples, grapes, dates, and other natural treats. Not only do apples and grapes help curb your pup’s appetite, they are also very good for keeping his weight in check, which is especially important if you have an overweight dog.

Many commercial dog treats contain preservatives, which should be avoided. Many of these preservatives or ‘nutrient blocks’ are questionable. For example, the preservatives in commercial dog foods commonly use by-products, such as corn or wheat gluten, that can disrupt your dog’s natural biochemistry. In addition, there are some preservatives, such as BHA (mono-hydro-acetic acid), that have been proven to be dangerous to dogs.

A quick trip to your veterinarian’s office may be the best way to determine what you dog food is truly made of. Check for the ingredients label, and pay close attention to the first four or five ingredients. All healthy dog treats should contain at least one of these five ingredients: meat, vegetables, fruits, and protein. The human food ingredient label will list the protein content – grams for every 100 grams of product – in addition to the fat, carbohydrates, and fiber. The best healthy dog treats will contain these five ingredients in their ingredient list.

Many manufacturers of low-calorie dog treats will list a sugar level on the package. These treats are still full of the protein, vitamins, and nutrients that your dog needs to be healthy. If the carbohydrate count is too low, your dog could become hungry quite a bit more quickly than he would with high-carbohydrate foods. High-carbohydrate, low calorie dog treats often contain byproducts and sugars that will keep your pet from getting the nutrients he needs and will keep his blood sugar level from staying stable.

Another concern that owners have is whether or not free-feeding is healthy. Most veterinarians recommend free-feeding because the nutritional content is usually the same whether the treat is fed to the dog during the day or fed off the premises. However, dogs tend to enjoy the taste of free-feeding treats more than they do of those that come from the table. This means that you’ll need to be very particular about how much free-feeding you allow your dog to have.

Unfortunately, there are no easy ways to tell whether or not your dog’s food has free-feeding ingredients. You’ll just have to assume that it’s probably in there, since most pet foods don’t come with a list of ingredients. Because of this, you should be absolutely certain that your dog doesn’t get any harmful additives or chemicals when you give him his regular dog treats. A simple solution is to look for a brand that contains ascorbic acid, which is a naturally occurring chemical that is good for dogs.

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