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Giving Your Dog Treats

June 1, 2023

Does your pooch perk up when you go near his treat jar? Does Fido wake from a dead sleep at the sound of a cupboard or food wrapper opening? Man’s Best Friend is very fond of snacks, and who can blame him? We enjoy them, too! However, there are some things to keep in mind when giving your canine companion his treats. A Roanoke, VA vet offers some tips on this below.

Offer Safe Options

There’s really only one hard and fast rule for treats: be sure to stick with safe foods. Never let Fido have meat on the bone, raw dough or yeast, or anything that contains grapes, raisins, chocolate, xylitol, or pips or seeds. Fatty and salty foods are also off the menu, as are alcohol, avocado, caffeine, and anything that contains garlic or onions. For more information on common pet toxins, check out our article on Top FAQs About Pet Poisoning. Ask your vet for more information.

Be Cautious With Rawhide

Rawhide may be one of Fido’s favorites, but it can be problematic. Sometimes pups tear pieces off, which can cause choking and/or intestinal blockages. Ask your vet for more information.

Shop Wisely

Safety also applies to store-bought treats. Check labels, and avoid anything that’s loaded with fillers, such as high-fructose corn syrup. You may also want to keep an eye out for recalls. You can monitor them at the FDA site here or the AMVA site here. Or, set up email alerts.

Make Fido Work

Have Fido do a cute trick for his snack. This will help him feel proud and accomplished. Our canine pals love soaking up praise and rewards! Treats can also be a great help with training. Once your pooch has mastered basic commands, such as Sit, Stay, Heel, Come, and Lay Down, teach him something cute and fun.

Don’t Overdo It

This is probably the biggest pitfall. You aren’t doing your furry pal any favors if he starts packing on extra pounds from all those treats! Keep goodies to about 5 percent of Fido’s daily caloric intake. If you’re unsure about the appropriate amount of treats for your dog or need help managing their weight, our Veterinary Services team can provide personalized recommendations.

Nip Begging In The Bud

We know, it’s hard to resist that cute face. However, begging is bad petiquette, and can also lead to behavioral issues. If you can’t help but give in, offer something small. Or, give Fido a string bean instead of that meatball he’s angling for.

Our Advice on Giving Your Dog Treats in 2024

What are the safe treat options for dogs?

Safe treat options for dogs include commercially prepared dog treats that are free from harmful ingredients like xylitol, chocolate, grapes, and raisins. Natural treats such as plain, cooked meats (without bones or fatty skins), carrots, apples (without seeds), and pumpkins are also healthy choices. It’s crucial to avoid foods that are toxic to dogs, such as onions, garlic, avocado, and anything containing caffeine or alcohol. Always choose treats appropriate for your dog’s size and dietary needs, and consult your vet for personalized recommendations.

Why should pet owners be cautious with giving their dogs rawhide?

Pet owners should be cautious with giving their dogs rawhide because it can pose choking and blockage risks. When dogs chew on rawhide, they can tear off large pieces that may get lodged in the throat or intestinal tract, leading to potential choking or obstructive gastrointestinal blockages that require surgical intervention. Additionally, some rawhide treats may be treated with chemicals during processing, raising concerns about ingestion of potentially harmful substances. It’s essential to supervise dogs when they have rawhide and consider safer, digestible alternatives for chewing.

Why is it beneficial to make dogs perform a trick for treats?

Making dogs perform a trick for treats is beneficial as it reinforces positive behavior, enhances mental stimulation, and strengthens the bond between the dog and owner. This practice encourages obedience and discipline, turning treat time into a learning opportunity. It also keeps dogs mentally sharp and engaged, preventing boredom and potentially destructive behaviors. Furthermore, it provides a structured way to reward dogs, helping to maintain a healthy weight by avoiding excessive treat consumption. Overall, it promotes a happy, well-behaved, and mentally stimulated dog.

What is the recommended limit for treats in a dog’s daily diet?

The recommended limit for treats in a dog’s daily diet is that treats should make up no more than 10% of a dog’s total daily caloric intake. The remaining 90% should come from a balanced, nutritionally complete dog food. This guideline helps prevent overfeeding and obesity, ensuring dogs receive the majority of their nutrients from their primary diet. It’s essential to calculate the specific calorie needs of your dog based on their size, age, and activity level to determine the appropriate amount of treats. Always consult with a veterinarian for personalized dietary advice.

How can dog owners effectively discourage begging behavior in their pets?

Dog owners can effectively discourage begging behavior by not giving in to it. Consistently ignore begging by not making eye contact, speaking to, or petting your dog while eating. Feed your dog their meals at the same time you eat to keep them occupied. Use positive reinforcement to reward your dog for calm behavior during your meal times. Establish and enforce a clear boundary, such as having your dog stay in a specific spot away from the dining area until you finish eating. Consistency and patience are key in teaching your dog that begging does not result in receiving food.

As your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, we strive to provide top-notch care. Please reach out to us anytime!  

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