When it comes to giving treats to your dog, you’ve got an awful lot of commercial choices, but thankfully you’ve also got some delicious and healthy options at home. So, what is the best kind of treats for dogs in this regard?
Lean meats are going to be your dog’s favorites and with an inexpensive dehydrator or even a slow cook in your home oven, you can even make homemade jerky treats that your dog will love. Fruits and vegetables are also vitamin-packed and a great at-home option – just be sure to avoid known toxic options like chocolate or grapes!
In today’s article, we’ll tell you more about the best home treats for your dog, as well as some foods that you will want to steer clear of. It’s a great way to ensure that your dog is getting their vitamins and avoiding nasty additives often found in commercial foods – so let’s see what makes for the best home treats!
Table of Contents
Meat treats are best — but watch out for fats
Meat treats are doggie favorites, but you want to be careful what you choose for your dog. Fish is lean naturally, although you’ll have to remove the bones, and you can’t give your dog a lot unless you want them smelling fishy.
Lean chicken or beef is good and the same goes for pork – though you need to be careful about using bacon as a treat. Bacon, bacon grease, and even the fat you’ve trimmed off of the Christmas ham are definitely doggy favorite, but not very good for them at all.
That’s because aside from the fats, you’ve got a heavy salt content to deal with. If given only on rare occasions, they are perfectly fine, but if eaten regularly then they can eventually contribute to pancreatitis! Simply put, ’Lean meats make the best treats – though fatty is fine on Christmas!’.
Dogs love fruits and veggies, too
Dogs love to eat and they have pretty varied tastes, just like we do. This means that fruits and vegetables, along with the healthy vitamins inside, are definitely on the menu. Here are some examples that make great and healthy treats for dogs:
- Blueberries – With vitamins C and K, as well as potassium and manganese, blueberries are both healthy and to some dogs, quite delicious! You can give your dog 8 to 10 of them and make it fun by turning it into a game of ‘catch the yummy blueberry’.
- Broccoli – Broccoli is high in nutrients, low in calories, and fiber packed – feed it cooked and only in small quantities, however, as too much broccoli can be hard on your dog’s tummy. A couple of spoonfuls, however, is perfectly healthy and fine.
- Celery sticks with peanut butter – 2 small celery sticks with peanut butter on them is an easy homemade treat that most dogs will absolutely love. Just be sure to check your peanut butter for Xylitol. This is an artificial sweetener that is toxic to cats and dogs, so make sure it’s not on the ingredients and this treat will be safe and tasty.
- Bananas – Vitamin B, fiber, potassium, and manganese are all part of sweet bananas and your dog can definitely have these as a treat. An easy rule to remember is large dogs can have half of a banana and smaller dogs may have ¼.
- Apples – Apples have vitamin C, calcium, phosphorous and fiber, but that’s not all that they bring to the table. These fruits clean your dog’s teeth while they are consuming them and freshen their breath up nicely. Limit servings to 2 slices and throw away the core – apple seeds are highly toxic but the flesh is safe.
Toxic foods that should not be used as treats
Some treats are definitely going to be off of the table. As much as our dogs seem like furry little humans, their bodies are quite different and some human treats can actually be lethal to your dog. Good examples of this include chocolate and grape (in all forms, such as raisins, currants, juice, and jams).
Other foods will be less toxic but still quite capable of making your dog very ill. Onions, for instance, or any other Allium plants that we like to use, such as chives, leeks, and garlic, are also poisonous to your dog and should be never be used as treats.
As a general rule, if you aren’t certain when it comes to a fruit or vegetable that you want to feed your dog as a treat, then ask your vet or Google it beforehand. In most cases, they’ll make fine treats, but some innocent-seeming foods prove to be surprisingly toxic to dogs – It pays to always do your homework!
Consider investing in a dehydrator — your dog will thank you
A dehydrator is an inexpensive way to make all of your dog’s treats (and a few for yourself) at home. This helps you to ensure that your dog isn’t eating any sneaky chemicals used to preserve many commercials foods and it’s also a great excuse to make your own beef jerky!
Your dehydrator can also help you to make vegetable treats or to dry up some dog biscuits that you’ve baked yourself for a perfect and delicious crunch in every bite! Just something to consider if you want to take charge when it comes to treating your furry best friend!
In conclusion: Nothing beats home cookin’ – and that applies to dog treats as well!
As you can see, the best kind of treats are the kind that you’ve already stockpiled at home. Fruits and vegetables can give your dog vitamins in a delicious, low-calorie way, and with or without a dehydrator, lean meats will always get a warm welcome from your dog as a firm-favorite in the treat department.
Just be sure to look up anything that you aren’t sure about by checking on Google or simply asking your vet the next time you bring your dog in for a checkup. Yes, you could just go with commercial treats, but where’s the fun in that?
Your dog is always after you to share your food, anyways, so the best treats that you can provide for your dog is simply what they’ve been asking for – as long as you moderate and do your homework first!