Just like us, dogs love a treat. When deciding what treats to give your puppy it is important to remember a few things.
Look for treats that are low in, or have no added salts and sugars, flours or processed grains.
Look for treats that come from countries with high consumer standards.
Don't guilt treat, or over-treat because you know you are not being the pet-parent you ought to be.
Salts & sugars, flour & corn
The first is pretty obvious. Treats that are high in salt, and high in sugar will upset your dog's internal systems. Flour is a processed grain to avoid if possible, and corn is not a particularly nutritious or healthy filler. The occasional not-so-healthy treat for an otherwise well-fed and well exercised dog is not a problem. We have them sometimes ourselves. But if you are not on top of making sure your dog has well balanced nutrition, a treat with lots of salts and sugars, flour or corn can wreak havoc on the digestive system. If you are looking for a regular treat, try something that is both healthy and tasty. Remember dogs are like children - if you give them carrot sticks instead of a bag of chips as a regular snack, you are doing them a favour.
High Consumer Standards
It needs no explanation with your own food - the stuff made and grown, even sold in Australia for human consumption, has to meet our safety and quality standards. It's not quite the same for our animals. A great example is rawhide dog chews. Dogs love them, but the very white ones that come from different countries are often full of nasty chemicals we wouldn't be happy to put in our own food. Why would we give it to our dogs?
Whenever possible, source home-grown, or made in a country where you know the standards applied to pet food are similar to our own.
Don't guilt treat
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that a lot of puppy fat is due to guilt treating - at least I know that it's the case with my two pooches.
"Mummy is terribly busy, she knows it's beautiful and sunny out there in the garden and you've got your favourite toy at your feet....Mummy really needs to focus elsewhere just for a little while, despite your big, begging, beautiful eyes....HERE HAVE A TREAT".
We've all been there, minus possibly the maternal attribution. It is really important not to fall foul of this rule, because once you start, it is hard to stop - and dieting in the wake of too many treats is not fun for you or your pooch. Make sure you walk your dog every day, and have a good bit of play time, so that when you need to focus elsewhere you can firmly and legitimately tell both your puppy and your guilt 'NO'.
For your dog, as with yourself, the golden rule should be: "All things in moderation"
(All images in this blog are Copyright)