Dog treats are snacks and not meals for your dog. As with food, package feeding directions are typically on the high side. We’ve also noticed that the “doggy junk food” directions tend to suggest feeding way too many treats. High value, healthy treats have more sensible feeding guidelines. In the jungle of dog treats, how do you choose the right ones for your pup?

If you missed my post on what to feed your furry friend, make sure and check that out as meals come before the dessert, right? Mom and I went shopping for some new treats the other day. Boy, is there a lot to choose from! Everything smells so good, I had a tough time making up my mind. Luckily, Mom had some good ideas about what to look for in a treat.

Ingredients In Dog Treats

If you watch what ingredients are in your dog’s food, you should be doing the same for her treats. Most of the time we look for single or two ingredient treats when we are buying treats. We look for real meat, no fillers, genuine good ingredients. It is rare that we buy cookies, but if we do, the ingredients should be healthy, and all natural. Products like Pupperoni, or Milkbone are not on our list of treats as they are full of junk. There was a time when Mom bought treats like that, but as she has learned more and more about dog nutrition, she has gotten picky.

Types Of Dog Treats

We divide types of dog treats into three categories:

  1. Training Treats
  2. Snack Treats
  3. Chews

Training treats are small, like the size of a small fingernail. You pup will probably be getting a lot of them when she is training which is why you should look for something small, and low calorie.

Snack treats are kind of like a human having a cookie mid afternoon. These treats should not be large, but they are definitely bigger than a training treat. One of these treats is plenty for your pup, remember dog treats are snacks and not meals.

Chews are something you may want to give to your pup a few times a week to keep their chompers in good shape. We use all natural chews such as marrow bones which we get frozen, bully sticks, beef esophagus, green tripe, and so on. Some of the chews tend to be high in calories which is why we only have one a few times a week.

Portion Size Is Important

Humans have real issues when it comes to feeding their dogs food and treats. Remember, many dogs are much smaller than humans, unless you live with a Great Dane, Newfie, or another giant breed. Treats are often packaged in fairly large pieces. My guess is they want to sell more treats by using larger pieces, and they don’t take into account how much each dog really should have in a treat.

At our house, Mom often cuts or breaks cookies, jerky, or other treats into several pieces for us to share. Not only do the treats last longer, but we don’t get overfed.

If you do give your pup a lot of treats during the day, remember to adjust their meal portions accordingly to balance out the calories.

Did you know…treat size doesn’t matter to us dogs? We are just as happy with a tiny treat as with a large one, and no matter what size, we always want more. For humans, this is a tough concept to keep in mind. If you remember this when treating your dog, it will help you dole out the right portion size. Most people don’t think about making a large treat into several smaller ones.

Homemade Dog Treats

We do a lot of training for our sports which means a lot of training treats. Most of the time, Mom makes them for us. It is super easy, costs less than pre-made treats, and they are good for us! She buys some chicken, pork, or beef, dices it up into 1/4″ square pieces and lightly browns them in a frying pan. They are then put on some paper towels to drain off any excess fat and cool. Simple as that we have training treats we love. There are always several bags of them in our freezer ready to be eaten as needed!

Remember: keep your dog at a healthy weight by realizing dog treats are snacks and not meals! Bone Appetit!