Whether you use dog biscuits for training or just as a tantalizing treat, your dog is definitely grateful to you. Treats are a great training tool to use to reward desired behavior. Treats also strengthen the bond between pet owner and pet.
At Longview Animal Hospital, we recommend Hill’s Science Diet treats. They’re made with wholesome ingredients like rice bran, whole grain wheat, chicken and potato.
Perhaps you are crafty in the kitchen and you want to make your own tasty treats. We have an easy recipe with just three ingredients: 3 cups of flour, 2 eggs and 1/3 cup of water. Mix it together to form a stiff dough, roll it out and use a cookie cutter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Voila! Your dog will consider you a hero.
However, don’t be too much of a hero—too many treats can make your pet fat. Pet obesity can cause several health problems for your dog. In general, treats should make up no more than 10 percent of a dog’s total diet. If you do feed your dog a lot of treats, count his calories and make sure you subtract those calories from your dog’s daily food intake.
If you are using treats for training, giving too many can make your dog lose incentive and therefore you will lose treat value as a training reward. Pet treats don’t have to be large. Your dog will work for even the smallest of little tidbits, so any little reward will do. Dogs don’t need a handful of treats either; they will definitely work for one little nibble at a time. In fact, too many treats can cause the pet to become unresponsive to your training. You can break the treats into smaller pieces to solve both of those problems. Be sure to choose a lower calorie treat, too.
You should not leave food out all day for your pet. Doing so will give your dog a tendency to “graze” and overeat all day. Just make sure to never give certain “people foods”—onions, raisins, grapes and chocolate—to pets because they are toxic. Also, don’t give any treats flavored or sweetened with xylitol to your dog, as it is also toxic to dogs (not humans).
All pets enjoy getting a treat, and the feeling of being rewarded. Just make sure to give healthy treats, and treat in moderation. If you should have any questions about treat options or pet diets, please contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital. We are happy to provide guidance for all our clients!