We all love spoiling our prized pooches however, just like humans, too many treats can have consequences. When training your pet, tasty rewards are often a dog’s best friend to encourage adherence. As we know, it’s essential to ensure that your dog is eating a healthy, balanced diet. While treats should never form the majority of your pet’s diet, poor choices will still add up over time.
“Reward your dog with treats that are not only good for their training goals and behaviour but their health as well”
Regular store-bought goodies marketed towards you and your pooch are often filled with fat, salt and sugar - perhaps not dissimilar to your latest indulgence! As humans, we can control our nutrition and what we put into our mouths. Our dogs, however, are more than happy to eat what they’re given. So reward them with treats that are not only good for their training goals and behaviour but their health as well. Here are five healthy dog training treat ideas to keep your canine a lean, mean, learning machine.
Fruits and Vegetables
No surprises here - fruit and veggies are good for almost all of us here on earth, no matter what species we are. Believe it or not, dogs actually love veggies, you’ve just got to find the right one for their palate! Here are a few ideas for your pet to taste test:
- Apples: are a super nutritious, tasty and low-calorie treat option. Packed with vitamin C, calcium and fibre your dog will love you for it. Just remember to always remove all seeds, as well as the core.
- Blueberries: looking for a premium, sweet reward? Blueberries are perfect. No cutting or preparation required. Filled with antioxidants and vitamin C, you can’t go wrong.
- Carrots: can be another awesome choice, if your dog likes the flavour. Always cut a raw carrot into small pieces, increasing their suitability as a small, easy treat. Carrots are fibrous and feature vitamin A - super important for your pets!
- Sweet Potato Jerky: while a bit more effort is required, sweet potato jerky will certainly impress your culinary canine. Simply cut a sweet potato into small strips, baking in an oven for 3 to 4 hours. Voila!
Does your dog enjoy an extra chew? Simply freeze your fruity surprise to give your dog an extra low-calorie challenge. After a hot, summer play session, your fit friend will absolutely love the cool, refreshing treat.
Flavoured Chew Toys
Tough training session? Reward your dog with a treat that lasts. Flavoured chew toys, or bones, can replicate the effect of a real bone or animal-based food without the calories. These chew toys are made from a safe, nylon mix that ensures their tasty-flavour lasts for the life of the toy.
There are many brands and flavours out there, so do your research to find which one your puppy pal enjoys the most. They’re a great, healthy investment in your dog’s wellbeing, give them a go!
Yoghurt is an awesome prize for your pet. Ensure you purchase natural, unflavoured Greek yoghurt to keep it as healthy as possible. Try buying a kids yoghurt ‘pouch’ so you can take it with you on the go - super convenient! Better yet, Greek yoghurt is stuffed with amazing probiotics which help fight infections, possibly preventing ear or skin problems your dog might be suffering from.
A Cool Summer Treat - Peanut Butter Popsicles!
Is your proud pooch looking for something a little bit more exciting after their training sessions? Here’s a great idea to try for the summer months:
- Mix one cup of natural, additive-free peanut butter with half a mashed banana.
- Add water to get the consistency just right.
- Freeze your mix in a container filled with wax paper, or within one of your dog’s favourite toys
Your dog will absolutely love this healthy, summer indulgence.
Use a Favourite Toy Instead
Does your little learner have a favourite toy that they absolutely adore? Use that as a training aid. When your dog completes their task you can use the toy as a reward! You’re associating good, obedient behaviour with fun and physical activity instead of food. Give it a go and make sure to let them play with the toy after the session!
It’s important to keep in mind that treats, in whatever form, should never form a substantial part of your dog’s diet. If feeding your pet is the only way you can encourage obedience, you may need to reassess your training methods to find a reward system that is more sustainable for your dog’s health. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your pet’s daily calories. Always consult your vet before implementing new treats or changing your dog’s diet. They know best!
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