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How to choose nutritious dog treats
Biscuits, bones, cookies – whatever you call them, dog treats are an important part of life for canines and their owners. Most people use treats to show affection to their pooches, and as positive reinforcement during training. In general, owners tend to use treats too liberally, rewarding their pooches for nearly everything. It is important to know how many treats to give your pooch, and also to choose a variety that is nutritious so your dog doesn't gain weight.
Treats should make up no more than 10 percent of your dog's daily calories. Today, many owners give their dog treats because they feel guilty for not spending enough time with them. This pours extra calories into their daily consumption and can lead to obesity, one of the most serious issues facing American pets today.
Instead of rewarding your pooch for nothing – or worse, for bad behavior like whining – you should always ask it to perform a command like sitting. Treats are also a good way to reward your pooch for coming when called or staying put when it's necessary.
Even if you use treats properly, it is important that they be nutritious. Just like when you are choosing the best pet food for Fido, look at the ingredients list when you pick out treats. Look for treats without sugars – the ingredients list might include corn syrup, molasses or fructose. Also avoid salt, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Artificial ingredients can cause an adverse physical reaction in your pooch, and owners who have dogs with food allergies should be especially careful.
Some of the best pet products are those that are freeze-dried and meat-based. Freeze-drying makes preservatives unnecessary. Try PureBites for this type of treat – they are 100 percent meat. Your dog might also love other meat-based treats like Happy Hips Treats or Healthy & Natural Liver Treats.
However, natural doesn't have to mean boring. Try a variety like Max's Fresh Baked Gourmet Dog Treats. These are colorful but made with human grade ingredients like peanut butter and vanilla that your dog will not be able to resist.
Treats can serve purposes other than rewards, too. Greenies Dental Treats for Dogs are chews that clean your dog's teeth but also taste great and can be given as rewards. Others, like Greenies JointCare Dog Treats have chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine for dogs to support joint health while also cleaning teeth.