Caitlin UltimoFood & Treats / Nutrition

Choosing the Right Treat for Your Dog

There’s one sure way to make your dog jumps for joy—pull out the dog treats. They’re a great way to give your pup something special to enjoy, but not just any treat for dogs will do.

The best treat for your furry friend is one that’s appropriate for his age, size, activity level and dietary needs. And once you find the right one, you don’t want to give him too much. Treats should comprise just 10% of his daily diet. If your dog is overweight, it should be even less than that. Your veterinarian can always help you determine how many calories your dog needs per day and how treats factor into that number.

A Treat With a Purpose

The treats for dogs offer something your furry friend doesn’t get in his regular bowl of food. There are specially formulated dental treats to help with dental care (they fight plaque and tartar buildup as well as freshen breath), joint function (they contain glucosamine and chondroitin), and skin care. Pay special attention to the serving guidelines, and choose treats that are designed for your pup’s size.

You can give these dental dog chews a try to freshen your pet’s breath and treat him at the same time:

Treats for Training

Offering treats is a surefire way to help your dog learn a new trick. But pay special attention to the dog treats you choose for training. Since your dog will eat quite a few, you need a small, low-calorie training treat that won’t fill him up or pack on the pounds.

Treat your dog with one of these options while practicing reward-based training with your pooch:

For the Young and the Old

Whether you’re housing a rambunctious puppy or a calm senior, there’s a special treat that’s just right for your dog’s age. Puppy treats are often small and protein packed to offer young pups the energy they need. Soft senior treats are gentle on aging teeth and offer a mix of vitamins and minerals that aim to support the physical changes in older dogs.

Try one of these options that will best suit your dog’s age-related needs:

Off the Table

Some of your dog’s most favored treats don’t come out of a box or bag—they come from your table. If you plan to give your dog bites of human food, stick to healthy fruits and vegetables that are low-calorie and low-fat, like baby carrots, green beans or berries. Always avoid grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions, garlic, tomatoes, avocado, fruits with pits (like peaches), mushrooms and nuts—they can be harmful to dogs.

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