Not only the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The way to a dog’s heart goes the same way with healthy dog treats and balanced nutrition. I sometimes wonder when I watch many people treating their dogs generously with pieces as big as half a meal. When doing dog training you really learn to divide your treats, because otherwise you will be feeding your dog fat in no time.
There’s nothing wrong with feeding treats, as long as they do not add calories in excessive amounts or if they are just being “burned” by some additional exercise.
Dogs have quite sensitive tastebuds. So, small treats even for big dogs are really doing the trick. This way they add less calories to the dog’s daily calorie intake.
Still, if you are using a lot of treats, for example in dog training, it’s not the worst idea to really count the amount of treats into your dog’s daily calorie intake.
You can also use part of your dog’s kibble as treats. For example, I feed an additional cup of high quality kibble to my dog’s raw food, because she is insanely active. I take 1/4 of this cup of her kibble to prepare a “treat blanket” for her – pieces of kibble hidden in a doggie blanket to keep her sniffing, searching and entertained for a bit.
Using kibble for training, however, may not be the best of all ideas. Your dog may need a more seducing incentive than that, because she already knows her kibble and distractions may just be more interesting to her than her regular food. Try topping distractions with a delicious tiny piece of beef jerky instead – that’ll probably get her attention much better.
Here are some suggestions of healthy treats, most of them low calorie:
(I am sure there are also others)
- Many dogs love frozen green beans
Dogs love berries. Here’s a few berries, dogs can safely eat (fresh or frozen):
blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
These berries should NOT be eaten by dogs:
holly berries, juniper berries, baneberries, poke berries, and mistletoe berries
Carrots or baby carrots
Cooked or raw pieces of carrots make for an awesome treat. The raw carrot cannot be digested as well as the cooked one. But if the carrot is not used as a nutrition item, just as a treat, that does not play such a huge role. Raw pieces are fine then.
Pure Peanut butter (unsalted, unsweetened)
A healthy, high-protein treat
Good ingredient to make dull food a little more interesting, nice ingredient in homemade treats
But always in small amounts, because of the high calorie content.
Note: Make sure the peanut butter does NOT contain Xylitol (that’s toxic to dogs!)
Tiny pieces of cut cheese or a spoonful of cottage cheese are always welcomed. This is a treat for extra good behavior.
Always in small amounts, because of the high calorie content.
Note: Just as humans some dogs do not tolerate lactose very well and may react with diarrhea to consuming dairy products, such as milk, cheese, or yogurt. These dogs should not eat dairy products.
Cut in tiny pieces dogs will LOVE beef jerky as a treat! You can buy then in pet stores or make them yourself.