Are you the kind of pet parent that wants to give a special treat to you pet this Holiday season?? I know I am! Treats, however, can be very high in calories and potentially FULL of preservatives. I rethink these things in my diet all the time, so why not for my own furry family member? What are some good alternative treats to give to the family pup, instead of the treats from the pet store?
Please keep in mind when giving your dog 'human' food, or treats in general, is the 10% rule. The 10% rule is, 90% real food, and ten percent treats. Dogs should not be receiving over 10% of their daily food intake in treats. Treats should always be treated as a special snack and not as a meal replacement.
These are great low-calorie snacks to give to Fido. They will love the crunch and snap, as well as the taste! There are only about 4 calories per baby carrot. Carrots support dental health, and are a great source for beta-carotene (why your parents said eating carrots will help your eyes), plus, vitamin A. Start slowly with carrots, as they can cause gas, and work your way up to larger amounts. Everything is better in moderation with your pup.
This yellow treat is not only a yummy option for your dog, but it also packed with vitamins and fiber! Not only will they love the taste, but they will also help keep their digestive track clean and moving. Pumpkin is even a remedy for mild diarrhea in dogs. However, all puppies who have diarrhea should be taken to a vet and considered an emergency. After consulting with a doctor, pumpkin, cleaned, and cooked, with no salt or seasonings added, is the perfect snack for your friend. It should be noted the vine of the pumpkin is mildly toxic, please do not feed any part of the vine to Fido.
While the core of an apple and the seeds (seeds contain cyanide) should never be given to your furry family member, the meat and skin of an apple are a delicious treat to be enjoyed. Apples contain vitamins A and C. They are the perfect crunch treat for Fido!
4. Frozen Sardines
This epic treat is full of great protein and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a great source of Vitamin B3, B12, and D. Although these are salty treats, which your dog should want to gobble right up, trying rinsing off the fish before giving to your pup. This will help get any additional salt on the outside of the filet, off. Freeze them to add a little crunch. The whole sardine can be fed directly.
5. Frozen Yogurt
The only thing to keep in mind here is to choose a yogurt with low fat or fat free, and nothing with fat substitutes (Simplesse, Olestra), sugars or additional flavors (honey, vanilla, strawberry, etc.). Choose a yogurt with live active bacteria, which will act as a probiotic for Fido! This is also a sweet treat to freeze, especially during the summer.
6. Salmon (cooked)
Salmon is great for your dogs skin & coat, making this tasty treat an extra special snack for dogs. It even supports those with allergies. Although this treat needs to be cooked (there is potential for parasites in raw salmon that can make Fido sick), the little extra work will go a long way! Full of Omega-3 and fats, this treat supports your pups immune system!! Win-win!
7. Sweet Potato
This snack is simple and healthy! Slice and dehydrate your sweet potatoes from the grocery store for a delicious and nutritious treat. This snack is packed with great things for your pup, including dietary fiber, amino acids, antioxidants, and Vitamin C. However, this treat should only be given in moderation and dogs that are prone to yeast allergies should choose something different. The sugar in sweet potatoes feed yeast.
8. Peanut Butter
Although this is a fatty treat, and again everything is better in moderation, peanut butter is full of natural fats and protein that your dog will love! Plus, watching a dog eat peanut butter is a joy of life! This treat is also perfect for putting in a Kong. If your pup has diabetes please consult with your Vet before offering them this special snack. Also, while most peanut butter is safe for dogs, the sweetener, Xylitol is deadly! Make sure to check the ingredients before watching them smack away.
9. Sweet Fruits
This includes, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, mangoes, oranges, and pears. So what do you have in your house right now? I'm sure there is a yummy delicious snack your dog will love to munch on!
10. Hard Cheese (bonus treat!)
This is a high-calorie treat and should be treated as such, but dogs do love a nibble of cheese (don't we all!). This can be a reward for a job well done or for celebrating the holiday. Softer unripened cheeses do have the ability to upset Fido's stomach, so stick to a harder cheese for the ultimate snack.
Try this enrichment activity for Fido! Put several different types of 'human' treats in a muffin tin and let your pup explore the different smells and tastes. This activity allows for your dog to go on their own tasting adventure. They can learn new smells and tastes.
Disclaimer: You should always consult directly with your pet's veterinarian for any medical advice. The information contained in this article are based on personal uses for my dog, Yogi, or researched material. This information is not intended to be used for treatment, diagnosis, or as a meal subsitute for animals.
Read more about different foods in the articles we found at I Heart Dogs, AKC, and HealthLine.