I love spoiling my dogs with special cookies and dental treats.
Most pet parents think that half the fun is to spoil their dogs – and they’re not wrong.
But you have to be sure to choose the best treats for your dog.
And you have to make sure you don’t overfeed your dog with all these treats.
Obesity is not only unhealthy for humans.
It can even be more dangerous for dogs, especially for small dogs.
Some symptoms of obesity in dogs include weight gain, lack of visible waist circumference and the inability to see or feel your dog’s ribcage.
Even for a large dog, one or two extra pounds can result in joint and back pain and a lack of mobility.
We don’t want our furry babies to hurt!
So we have to choose the right treats and find out how many too many are there.
But with all the options, different breeds and conflicting advice, how do we know what’s best for our dog?
First of all, the easiest thing to do is to talk to your vet.
Your veterinarian knows your dog’s health better than anyone.
He may recommend that an overweight dog receive only low-calorie treats.
He may also recommend a particular brand that he has successfully used for a dog with arthritis.
And for sensitive dogs, your veterinarian can recommend homemade treats so you can control the ingredients.
Your vet will also be able to tell you how many calories your dog can absorb from the treats before being supercharged.
If you’re a few months away from a visit to the vet, here are some other tips for choosing the best treats.
1-Read the ingredients for dog treats
You should first check that the treat contains no items that you know are harmful to your dog.
Are you sensitive to corn? You don’t want corn, corn gluten flour or anything that looks like corn in your dog’s food or treats.
The same advice applies to dogs with potato allergies or other allergies.
Check the ingredients.
2-Xylitol in dog treats
If peanut butter is on the ingredient list, make sure it does NOT contain xylitol.
Xylitol is toxic to dogs, even in small amounts.
Once you’re sure a treat is safe for your dog, see if there are any things you like about this treat.
If you are concerned about additives, make sure they contain little or no additives.
And frankly, the fewer additives, the healthier the treat.
You want at least part of your dog’s diet to contain fruits and vegetables.
If there aren’t many in your usual food, the treat is the perfect place to fill that gap.
But don’t go too far: dogs are carnivorous and must have a meat-rich diet to be healthy.
3-Where do dog treats come from?
I am not interested in trade wars, but some countries do not regulate pet food properly.
Without this regulation, dogs get sick because of their food.
A few years ago, there was a huge recall of dog food from China.
The situation was so serious that many dogs died.
When I started my research for this article, I realized that I really liked Petco and PetSmart.
Both stores have removed all food products from China due to sick dogs.
I can’t find a date for PetSmart, but Petco did its purge in 2015.
I don’t know if the other stores did the same thing.
But I would find out before I buy a brand that I don’t know well in another store.
4-How many treats should I feed my dog?
Once you have treats that you know are safe and healthy for your dog, you need to know how much he can eat.
This is where I would make a phone call to the vet, even if you are not ready for a visit.
You want to know how many calories your dog needs to eat per day to maintain a healthy weight.
Then you have to calculate that amount using numbers.
You can check the breed recommendations online.
I found a dog calorie counter on a site called PetSci.
For my 16-pound Lorelei, with a typical activity, they recommend not exceeding 558 calories per day.
I know that we have changed the portions of his food to make room for treats, so his diet contains 500 calories a day on average.
We have treats of 25 calories each, and we give them to puppies twice a day.
This gives them two treats, healthy meals and the calories needed for their activity level.
Their veterinarian is very satisfied with their weight, and both dogs are healthy and full of energy.
So if you’re someone who likes treats, I’d start by using the calculator to determine how many calories puppies should receive per day.
Then calculate the number of calories he receives each day in food and treats.
If it’s above, it gets fewer treats, or you cut its food a little – but not too much, because the treats are like candy.
If it is underneath, you can increase its food and treats a little.