If you are training your dog to do tricks or trying to get them to behave, then having a selection of tasty dog treats around the house can be invaluable. Nothing motivates a dog more than filling their mouth and tummy with something delicious. You’ll want those treat you’re handing out to be healthy for them, and you won’t want your dog putting on too much weight in the process of being rewarded.
Here are a few suggestions for healthy low-fat dog treats that your pooch will love.
Great Natural Low Fat Dog Treats to Try
Freeze-dried beef liver treats are something that most dogs and other carnivores will find tasty. They have plenty of useful nutrients in them, including proteins and vitamins that your dog needs to stay healthy. Liver treats can also be suitable for dogs with food sensitivities, allergies, or special diets.
Canned green beans can make a great dog treat. These may work better for some dogs than others, but most dogs seem to like them. Make sure you get low-salt beans, though, as too much excess sodium is not suitable for animals.
Low-salt pretzels make for good dog treats, and you can snack on these yourself also! Your dog shouldn’t be the only one to get a treat, after all.
Unsalted and unbuttered popcorn is another low-fat dog treat that both you and your dog can share. You might want to put some butter on yours to add a bit of taste to it, though.
Rice cakes make a tasty treat if you break them up into smaller pieces. Maybe keep some from your breakfast or lunchtime meal to give to your dog, or buy some especially for your pet and break them up ready to use.
Carrot sticks are healthy and tasty options for dogs and make great treats. Make sure that you cut the carrot up into smaller pieces, so your dog doesn’t choke on them. These are also a great source of soluble fiber, which may benefit your dog if they have soft stools or constipation problems. Some pet owners even use fresh or frozen carrots for small puppies with teething issues, so they might be a great treat to use if your pup has this problem.
Cucumber slices make tasty low-fat dog treats and are sweet and crunchy to eat. These are low in sodium too, which is good for your pet, and they only contain around eight calories for half-a-cup of slices.
A few other treats to consider include apple slices without the seeds, zucchini slices, bananas, baked potato and baked sweet potato, cantaloupe, blueberries, cranberries, and watermelon pieces.
Foods to Avoid as Treats for Your Dog
While dogs will happily eat almost anything, they will be far less happy if the treat they wolfed down ends up being unhealthy or unsafe for them. There are many foods that dogs shouldn’t eat for health reasons, and here are a few that you should avoid as a result.
Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines, which can give your pet various health issues and which may lead to their death if they overeat. Darker chocolates tend to have more of this substance than lighter milk chocolates, but it’s best to avoid giving them chocolate altogether.
Coffee also contains methylxanthines and should be avoided for the same reasons. Additionally, too much caffeine in any form will be bad for your pet.
Grapes and raisins can cause issues such as kidney failure, so avoid giving them to your dog.
Milk and dairy products can cause issues for your pets, as many animals don’t have the necessary enzymes to digest cow’s milk.
Nuts can cause a variety of problems for dogs. The oils and fats in them can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis.
If you are partying and somewhat drunk, then you might be tempted to see if dog treats soaked in alcohol work for your pet. You should probably have enough sense to avoid giving your dog alcohol without being told, but if not, then bear in mind that booze can cause a variety of issues for most pets. These include vomiting, diarrhea, and breathing difficulties, amongst other things.
Moderation is the Key to Healthy Treats
While low-fat dog treats are healthier than many other treats, they are still not nutritionally complete pet food. Dog treats should constitute no more than around five to ten percent of your dog’s daily meals. The rest should come from properly balanced dog food that has everything your dog needs for their breed, size, activity levels, and lifestyle.
Give Your Dog a Diverse Range of Treats
Nutritionally speaking, a given treat will usually contain a set mixture of ingredients. Giving them the same treat repeatedly may result in them having an imbalance of some nutrients, which may affect their health. Ideally, you should have a few different types of low-fat dog treats that you give them to mix things up and give them more diversity in the nutrients they receive.
In addition to being unhealthy, giving your dog too many of the same treats will also get boring for them. This may give you a diminishing return if you are using the treats as a training incentive.
Give Them a Choice of Natural and Store-Bought Treats and See What They Like
There is a variety of packaged low-fat dog treats that you can buy. These can be tasty and nutritious, but your dog may appreciate some simpler natural treats in addition to the store-bought ones. You can also make up some home-made treats using various ingredients to give yourself more flavor options to try out.
In addition to being nutritionally more diverse, this approach can save you money. Store-bought treats can be expensive if you have several dogs, particularly if they are large dogs who need more treats or larger treats. Since natural treats are usually reasonably cheap compared to store-bought, they will likely cost you a lot less over time.
Tasty treats are a good incentive for your dog to learn new things. One of the habits that you’ll want to teach your dog is to eat healthy things, though, so low-fat dog treats should be your go-to when rewarding your pet. In addition to keeping them healthy, giving them a wide range of low fat treats also gives them variety in their diet. So try out some of the treats mentioned here and see which ones your dog likes and responds to positively.