What better way is there to love your dog than by giving him treats? The trick is choosing HEALTHY treats…sounds simple, but it’s not. Walk down the treat aisle in any pet supply story (or even your local grocery store), and you can’t miss them: row upon row of attractively packaged types, styles, sizes, and brands to choose from, and since treats are not required to be nutritionally complete and balanced, very few are healthy for your dog. An ideal dog treat is one made from good quality ingredients, low in calories and fat, high in protein, and offers additional health benefits. BEFORE you buy any commercial packaged treats, check the ingredient list on the package. (You will probably be horrified to find out what is really in those cute little tidbits!)
Good treats should not contain:
- Animal by-products…this term can mean almost anything. AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) defines chicken by-product meal as consisting of “the ground, rendered parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable.” Doesn’t sound very savory, does it?
- Artificial preservatives such as BHT, BHA, or Ethoxyquin. There are safer and healthier preservatives such as Vitamin C and E. (Vitamin E is sometimes listed as “mixed-tocopherols”)
- Artificial colors. Your dog doesn’t care what color his food is. Artificial colors are absolutely unnecessary chemicals. Green, red and yellow treats do not contain healthy vegetables; they contain dyes!
- Artificial or low quality palatability enhancers. Treats are sort of like candy; they should taste better than the dog’s regular food, but they shouldn’t contain anything bad for the dog. I suggest avoiding treats that contain high amounts of sweeteners such as sucrose or corn syrup.
- Propylene glycol. Yes, it’s the stuff that’s in antifreeze and it is toxic to dogs. It is used in some pet treats to keep them moist and chewy.
If you are serious about giving your dog healthy treats, the best solution is to make homemade ones (or a raw baby carrot). There are many simple, easy-to-make recipes to satisfy the most finicky dog.
Treats are a form of affection and an invaluable training tool, When high quality treats are given discriminately, they promote your dog’s enjoyment and confidence!
- 2 cups of flower (preferably wheat flour)
- 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese
- ½ cups of canola oil
- 4 or 5 tablespoons of water
Combine ingredients and mix well to form a stiff dough. Pinch off small hunks of the dough and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your thumb, and bake for about 18 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
Simply Scrumptious Simple Biscuits
- ½ cup of cornmeal
- 6 tablespoons of oil
- 2/3 cups meat broth
- 2 cups of wheat flour
Combine ingredients and mix well. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 ½ cup flour
- ¾ cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup oatmeal
Mix thoroughly. Drop walnut sized pieces on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.