Dogs don’t know what’s good for them—they’re just happy to have a delicious treat! It’s up to you to select the safest, healthiest, and tastiest treats for your pup. But it can be difficult to know what to look for when buying dog treats, because there are so many different kinds. We put together this guide on how to choose healthy dog treats to help you make the best choice. 

How Often Should Dogs Get Treats?

It’s easy to go overboard with treats, especially when you’re training your dog. However, too many treats can quickly lead to weight gain. Obesity increases your dog’s risk of many health issues such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, so it’s important to limit treats. 

Dogs can eat treats every day. However, the right number of treats per day depends on the individual dog’s size, age, and diet. As a rule of thumb, treats should account for no more than 10% of your dog’s food in a day.   

How to Choose Healthy Treats for Your Dog: Four Things to Consider

1: Ingredients

Just like dog food, treats should contain natural, high-quality ingredients. There are many treats with ingredients that are not only unhealthy, but also dangerous. Some of them can cause dental decay, bloating, intestinal blockages, allergic reactions, and even cancer. 

However, just because the packaging claims that the treats are natural, doesn’t mean they’re actually good for your dog. Some natural ingredients like sugar are very unhealthy for dogs. You should always check the ingredients list before purchasing dog treats. Healthy dog treats should only contain whole foods, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Avoid the following ingredients when choosing treats:

  • Preservatives, such as propylene glycol, BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and potassium sorbate
  • Fillers, including wheat gluten, soybean meal, corn bran, and rice bran
  • Chemical sweeteners, like sorbitol
  • Refined or artificial sugar
  • Artificial coloring
  • Animal byproducts
  • Carrageenan
  • Sodium
  • Sugar

2: Calories

It’s important to look for low-calorie treats, especially if you’re training your dog and giving them more treats than usual per day. You can break treats into smaller pieces, or look for freeze-dried treats, which typically have fewer calories. 

3: Your Dog’s Size

It’s important to choose appropriate treats for your dog’s size. Treats that are perfectly healthy for a Great Dane could be a choking hazard for a Yorkshire Terrier. Plus, larger treats have more calories, which can easily make smaller pups overweight. 

4: Texture

The texture of dog treats can actually make a difference in your dog’s health. Chewing hard or crunchy dog treats can help remove plaque from your dog’s teeth. However, it’s still important to brush your dog’s teeth regularly to keep them clean and healthy. Keep in mind that crunchy dental treats are not always good for senior dogs—they may need soft treats, especially if they have any missing teeth

Dog Veterinarian in Gilbert, Arizona

Keeping your dog healthy means scheduling regular veterinary checkups. The team at Anasazi Animal Clinic provides compassionate, preventative care to keep your pup in excellent health. 

We also provide a wide selection of healthy treats through our online pharmacy, and we can help you choose the right treats for your dog. To make an appointment for a wellness exam, please give us a call at 480-497-0505

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/1/2023). Photo by Blue Bird on Pexels