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The Science Behind Dog Treats

The Science Behind Dog Treats

There’s no better addition to training, play, walks, or just relaxing, than a well-deserved treat for your dog. However, understanding the treats and rewards that you give to your pets is vitally important to their health. A balanced diet with the right dog food is important, but you can quite easily find a great routine for that and manage to maintain it. But treats aren’t always regular, and some treat manufacturers can be less reliable in producing healthy, sustainable foods.   So, what do you need to know about choosing treats for your dogs? What ingredients are really good, and which are best to avoid? Let’s find out.

Ingredients In Dog Treats

Dog treats, like other dog foods, are made with a combination of proteins like meats or fish, carbohydrates from grains or vegetables, sources of fats or oils, and various vitamins and minerals. Many ingredients are really great for your pet, provided they’re given in moderation, and others vary from moderately unhealthy to harmful in some quantities.

Between the various ingredients, there are also different types of treats that you can find. Some dog treats are manufactured with carefully chosen ingredients - selected for either a better balance of nutrition or cost of production. Others are naturally produced - animal parts like pig ears or trotters, or rawhide strips.

When it comes down to finding a treat that suits your dog, you should understand the ingredients, are they natural? Are they selected for a balanced diet? Are they there for a better taste, one that your dog loves? What works best for your dog?

Choosing the Best Treats

When it comes to finding the perfect treat, there are a few simple rules to follow, but also keep in mind that different species of dog have different dietary requirements.

Lean protein is great for dogs

Lean, low-fat sources of protein are essential for your dog to maintain a healthy weight with muscle growth and maintenance. The amino acids and high protein-to-fat ratio make them ideal inclusions in a diet and provide a great, easily-digestible burst of energy for any dog. When you look for lean proteins, try to find a variety of sources, like skinless chicken or our Bow Wow Protein Boost Bars with Baltic Herring.

Vegetables are a good addition

In the right circumstances, a portion of certain vegetables make for an excellent source of nutrients, antioxidants, fibre, and hydration. Many vegetables are easy for dogs to digest, and with the right selection, you can give your dog ready access to vitamins A, C, K, and several B vitamins too. Be careful though, as some veggies are toxic for your pets, so avoid onions, garlic and mushroom, and check with your vet before you try anything from a source you don’t trust. At Bow Wow, we make some healthy snacks with super-food veggies for your dogs, like our Super Snack Sticks.

Avoid fillers and excessive preservatives

Many treat manufacturers are more concerned with reducing their costs than providing a healthy option during treat time, and you can’t always trust your dog to know what’s best. Preservatives and additives to bulk up the snack and chemicals that trick your pet’s sense of smell are unfortunately common and should be given a wide berth when you’re shopping. The best way to avoid these problems is to get your treats from trustworthy sources and always read the ingredients.

Natural treats are an easy thumbs-up

Reading the labels and hunting down a good variety of healthy treats can sometimes be a pain. Buying carefully crafted snacks from trustworthy sources is one way to be sure you’re dog will stay healthy, but you can also supplement your treat game with some natural snacks.

Animal products like pig ears or bully sticks make great time-consuming occupiers that will keep your dog busy without harming their health, but a combination of natural products balanced with lean protein is the best of both worlds. Our Roo Rolls use rawhide to provide a long chew, and chicken or roo to provide a boost of energy for your dog.

How your dog treats contribute to a balanced diet

When you’re out playing, training, or on a long walk, any kind of treat will likely please your dog, and is unlikely to harm them in the short term, but you should consider the effect that the treats you give have on their overall diet. That’s why potentially small changes like less (or none) preservatives or additives in a treat can have a dramatic effect over a longer period of time.

Talk to your vet if you’re concerned that your dog isn’t getting the right nutritional value from their diet, and we recommend that you make a habit of reading labels and learning the right snacks to suit your individual dog’s needs.

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