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Monday, June 13, 2016

Choosing Healthy Treats for your Dog

By: Laurie Brzostowski 
Treats can be helpful aids in teaching obedience, or a welcome snack, and longer-lasting treats can be useful for keeping your dog occupied.  There are a vast variety of dog treats on the market and it can be quite overwhelming to narrow it down to the perfect treat for your dog.

Treats should be limited and not constitute greater than 10% of your dogs daily calorie intake.  Choosing healthy treats for your dog is a positive contribution to their overall health.

Prepackaged treats

When choosing prepackaged treats for your dog, it is beneficial to take a quick look at the ingredient and nutrition labels.  Select treats with natural ingredients such as whole grains, natural protein sources (specified as chickenor beefon the label, not simply meat), and vitamins C and E for natural preservatives.  Ingredients to avoid include excessive salts, sugars, artificial preservatives and flavours, and food colouring.

Natural treats

Natural treats such as fresh fruit and vegetables can be just as delicious and appealing for your dog.  They are healthy snacks that contain natural vitamins and minerals without the addition of unnatural chemicals and preservatives.  Unfortunately, not all fruit and vegetables are safe for dogs.  Safe produce includes apples, bananas, pears, raspberries, cucumber, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower.  Toxic fruit and veggies include grapes, raisins, persimmons, garlic, onions, wild mushrooms, and rhubarb.  If unsure, check with your veterinarian before feeding.

Dental health and vitamin treats

Multi-purpose treats such as dental chews and vitamin treats can be a useful way to introduce something lacking from your pets diet.  Dental treats can help to reduce plaque and tartar build up on the teeth by mimicking the action of a tooth brush; Vitamin treats are laced with vitamins and minerals that help to maintain your dogs overall health.  Look for vitamin D and calcium for healthy teeth and bones, and vitamins A and E for a healthy, shiny coat.

When introducing your dog to a new type of treat, watch for signs of gastrointestinal intolerance such as vomiting or diarrhea.  Contact your veterinarian if there are any concerns.  Whether you choose prepackaged treats, fresh vegetables, or dental biscuits - it is always good to be aware of what you are feeding your dog for their overall health.

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