Food treats are equally liked by humans as well as dogs!
But are you among those who love their furry friends so much you can’t resist offering an occasional scrap under the table (when no one else is looking)?
No matter how well intentioned you are, many human foods are bad for your dog’s health. Plus, giving your dog a scrap off your plate only teaches him that he’ll get a reward for sneaking under the dinner table.
A 2014 study published in Animal Cognition says that your four-legged friends get more excited when they work to earn their treats. Also, the intensity of the emotional response was influenced by the type of reward, i.e., greatest response to food and least to another dog.
As a pet owner, you can use food treats to make your dog exercise more, improve cognitive skills, enhance problem-solving skills and lots more.
But you must be very careful when choosing treats for your dog. Unhealthy treats will only add more calories to your canine’s diet, which can lead to obesity and other health issues.
Dog owners have plenty of options for healthy treats and just need to be aware of those that offer a good balance of nutrition.
Here are the top 10 healthy dog treat options.
This orange vegetable is a great treat for canines. Besides the fact that most dogs like the sweet taste and crunchy texture of a raw carrot, they offer many health benefits.
Munching on carrots helps keep your dog’s teeth clean, which is important for preventing dental issues that cause your dog pain and cost you vet bills.
Being low in fat and calories, carrots also make an excellent meal supplement that can help curb your dog’s appetite and prevent weight gain. Just as in humans, obesity can cause health issues and shorten you pet’s life span.
In addition, carrots are remarkably high in soluble fiber that will increase bulk and water in your dog’s intestinal contents. This will improve his overall bowel movements.
Carrots are also high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant and precursor to the production of vitamin A, which is needed for healthy vision.
Raw and cooked carrots (with no spices, salt or sugar when cooking) can be given to both puppies and adult dogs. Also, frozen carrots will feel great for teething puppies.
Pumpkin makes a healthy treat for dogs. In fact, pumpkin has many health benefits – and best of all, most dogs love the taste!
Pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A, potassium and fiber. While the vitamin A is needed for healthy eyesight, fiber helps maintain regular bowel movements and is also a great natural remedy for mild diarrhea and constipation. Potassium is needed by canines for efficient functioning of muscles, nerves and enzymes.
You can make pumpkin puree at home or choose canned puree. When feeding canned pumpkin puree, make sure it does not have added sugar or sweeteners.
Never feed your dog pumpkin pie filling, as it contains too much added sugar and other additives that may be unhealthy for your dog.
3. Ripe Bananas
Just as a banana makes a healthy snack for humans, it is also an affordable, tasty stand-by treat for your furry friend.
Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose – that provide an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.
Also, bananas are high in fiber, which can help if your dog is having gastrointestinal problems, and magnesium, which promotes bone growth. Bananas are also a good source of potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, biotin and copper.
You can cut a banana into small pieces, mix it with a little yogurt or peanut butter and then serve it to your pet. You can also serve frozen banana pieces as a healthy treat to teething puppies.
4. Baked Salmon
Baked, plain salmon with no added seasonings is another excellent dog treat.
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, which will help keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny, as well as supporting your dog’s immune system.
Plus, this healthy fish contains magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin A, B vitamins and vitamin D.
Always feed your dog properly cooked or baked salmon. Never feed your dog raw salmon, as it could make him fatally ill.
5. Baked Chicken
There may be only a few dogs who do not love a little chicken treat from time to time.
Properly baked with no added seasoning, chicken makes a tasty and healthy treat for your pup. However, baked chicken should be served in moderation and do not feed your dog any pieces containing skin or bones.
Chicken has 10 essential amino acids, which help keep your dog healthy. The protein in it helps form new skin cells, build muscle tissue and even new fur growth. Protein also provides energy and keeps the immune system strong.
Avoid serving raw chicken, as it may expose your pet to salmonella or other bacteria.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Many dogs absolutely love sweet potatoes as treats!
This root vegetable is a good source of dietary fiber, which supports a healthy digestive system. It is also full of many beneficial nutrients, such as vitamin A that is great for skin and vitamin C that promotes a healthy immune system.
Also, it contains vitamin B6, potassium, iron and manganese. It is also low in fat and being a low-glycemic index food, it is even beneficial for weight control.
You can make delicious dehydrated sweet potato chews at home for a natural, gluten-free and grain-free treat for your dog. Also, boiled and pureed sweet potatoes make a great treat.