Tips to Treating Your Dog… Naturally!

Tips to Treating Your Dog… Naturally!

We’re all familiar with the old adage that too much of a good thing can be bad for you. This wise claim is of particular significance when it comes to our canine companions who rely on us to control their intake of treats.

While tossing your furry friend one or two biscuits a day is a great way to bond, going overboard can be harmful to his health. It’s important to ensure that your dog isn’t overeating or consuming too many calories outside of his regular mealtime, which may result in a pudgy pooch.

Just like us, dogs love treats but, unlike us, dogs can’t be held responsible for forgetting to calculate their caloric intake. Making sure you’re aware of how much your dog is consuming is the best way to ensure he remains at a healthy weight. Keep treats stowed away to inhibit easy access, and limit the number of times you dip your hand into the cookie jar. Giving a dog too many treats is one of the leading causes of obesity and other weight-related health issues, so while your dog may not appreciate his intake being regulated, his health will thank you.

For dogs who thrive on treats or respond better to food rewards during training, invest in treats that have a lower fat content, or brands that are marketed as a healthy supplement to a complete and balanced diet. Just as it’s better for us to head to the fruit tray rather than the dessert table, tossing your dog a carrot stick or a bite of broccoli is superior to giving him a generic treat. For picky pups who turn their nose up at the sight of veggies, look for recipes to make your own snaps, bites, and bars in the comfort of your own home! Healthy, delicious and made with love, your pup won’t be able to say no.

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Depending on his breed and how active he is, treats should only make up about 10% of a dog’s daily calories. If you’re giving your dog conventional treats that are high in refined sugar and preservatives, that equals about one or two treats a day. On the other hand, if you make low-calorie treats at home, they might be able to enjoy a few more. Usually, dogs are open to most textures and flavours, but experimenting with different recipes is a fun way to discover what best suits your dog’s taste buds, and is a great way to mix it up so he doesn’t get bored with his eating routine. Dogs are generally pleased just to be given a treat regardless of what it is, so there’s no harm in opting for the healthy options.

The trend of making homemade treats for your pets is on the rise. Not only does it allow you to control what goes into the recipe, catering to picky palates and dietary restrictions, but it’s a fun activity for the family! While many commercial dog treats on the market are made with cheap filler ingredients, by-products, and preservatives to help extend their shelf life, homemade treats boast all-natural, high-quality ingredients with freshness you can guarantee – from your own cupboards!

When it comes to feeding human food to dogs, there are some important factors to keep in mind as while many of the healthy foods we enjoy are also beneficial to our dogs, others are toxic. As a general rule of thumb, only feed your dog whole foods. Stay away from processed foods, spicy foods and foods containing alcohol or caffeine. If you want to try making your dog homemade treats but aren’t sure where to start, invest in some of these key ingredients:

dog-treats-3Potato flour – A great source of Vitamin B6, Potassium, Vitamin C and Manganese.

Pure Pumpkin Puree – An excellent cure for diarrhea and constipation, organic canned pumpkin contains fiber and beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A.

Sage – Aids in gastrointestinal bloating and eases gas pain and discomfort. It is a powerful astringent and has anti-microbial properties.

Cinnamon – Has been shown to boost energy and vitality while also improving brain function when given in small amounts. Also contains natural antifungal properties which helps protect against the type of fungus which causes yeast infections.

Whole Egg – Contains complete amino acids, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, Iron, Selenium, and Fatty Acids.

Blueberries – Contain the pigment “anthocyanin,” known to lower the risk of certain cancers, aid in urinary tract health, improve memory function, and promote healthy aging.

Cranberries – Contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and dietary fiber. Also rich in manganese and vitamin K, as well as vitamin C and tannins, which help keep bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract.

Avoid feeding your dog onions, which can destroy his red blood cells and lead to anemia, as well as chocolate which contains a toxic agent called theobromine that can make your pup extremely ill. Grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs, and while it might seem natural to toss your dog a meaty bone or fat trimming, increased fat intake can lead to pancreatitis and cooked bones can splinter, break teeth, and cause blockages. From selecting the right brands at the pet store to knowing which human foods are toxic, it’s extremely important to be aware of what foods are good and bad for your dog. No matter what healthy option you choose, introduce all new foods gradually, and weigh your dog’s reaction before giving more. Bombarding their digestive system with foreign foods can lead to major gastrointestinal issues which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, and no treat is worth that.

Whether you’re encouraging him to eat his greens or putting on an apron to bake him something special, you can’t go wrong with modifying your pup’s diet to include all-natural treats. Healthy dog treats promote skin and coat health, help maintain optimal weight, increase energy and vitality, and build a stronger immune system – all factors that play a role in your dog’s life expectancy and overall wellbeing. So he’ll love the taste and the variety, and when he begs for one more, you can feel good about giving it to him!

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