Caitlin UltimoFood & Treats / Nutrition

Round Up: All-Natural Treats for Dogs

Based on their natural instincts, pups associate food with positivity, satisfaction and survival. When it comes to treats, we condition our pets to link these tasty rewards to good behavior, a job well done or simple, pleasant bonding time. For these reasons, dogs love treats. After all, who wouldn’t want to be given a tasty surprise every now and then? But traditional treats can be filled with unnecessary calories and questionable fillers. So why not opt for a yummy dog treat that has the wholesome ingredients necessary for proper pet nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle?

Dog treats come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are not always in food form—treats can be praise or affection used as positive reinforcement. But edible dog treats are the most common and popular form of reward for our furry companions. Most animals are naturally food-driven, so giving your pet healthy dog treats is a great way to obtain your pooch’s attention during training, or to provide a tasty snack for exemplary behavior. With the multitude of options available today, knowing how to spot the best type of treat for your four-legged best friend’s specific needs can be tough. Here are some tips, tricks and general rules to follow to ensure your pet receives the dog nutrition he needs when snacking on natural dog treats that will keep both pet—and pet parent—happy.

Bite-Sized

When looking for healthy dog treats that pack a punch in terms of dog nutrition, it’s important to start with the ingredient label and consider a “human” mindset. Like us, animals obtain the best pet nutrition from quality, whole ingredients that are minimally processed. Be sure to look for ingredients that are as pure as possible and easily understood—avoiding by-products and unnecessary additives as much as possible. If you are looking to combine an ideal training tool with a tasty treat that you and your pup will approve of, Zuke’s Mini Naturals Roasted Chicken Recipe Dog Treats have you covered. With fewer than 3.5 calories per treat, and made from quality protein and healthy, nutrient-rich cherries, rosemary and turmeric, this mini morsel is great for frequent rewards and easy handling during training.

Chews

Just like sharing a human meal, there’s nothing better than sharing a delicious treat with your furry best friend. According to Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM in Greeley, CO and consulting veterinarian for Big Barker, “Giving treats is an important part of the human-animal bond—it makes people and pets feel good. Just like people, pets are what they eat, which is why it is important to feed your pet high-quality, all-natural [dog] treats that will benefit his health.” True Chews Premium Jerky Cuts with Real Chicken Dog Treats fall under the preservative-free dog treats category. Made right here in the USA with real chicken and no grains, corn, wheat or soy, this 100% natural dog treat is bound to satisfy any hungry pooch and leave him wanting more.

Grain-Free

When looking for treats that best suit your four-legged family member, it’s important to take into account your dog’s preferences and food sensitivities. Although your pet’s palate certainly varies from that of a human, it’s important to ensure that the ingredients lists on your pet’s treat bags are straightforward and free of unnecessary ingredients. For pups with sensitive tummies or food allergies, Halo Liv-a-Littles Grain-Free 100% Chicken Breast Freeze-Dried Dog & Cat Treats offer a high-protein snack, made with the finest quality chicken breast meat. “Healthy treats containing all-natural ingredients like fruits … and real meat not only taste good, but supply your pet with additional vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein,” says Wooten. So if you’re looking for a healthy, nutrient-dense snack that uses only whole meat as the main ingredient, these low-calorie treats are a natural option that will keep your pup happy inside and out.

When looking for dog treats that will mark all the boxes on your pet’s health requirement checklist, remember to use the same commonsense rules that apply when shopping for human food. Reading ingredient labels and using your best judgment are key in finding healthy, all-natural dog treats that you and your pet will both love. And remember, for pups with potential food allergies or sensitivities, be sure to consult your veterinarian before making any drastic changes to your pet’s diet—for your peace of mind as well as a happy and healthy pooch.

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