Deciding what treats to give your dog?

We love to spoil our pets, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by offering them something special to eat or chew. Have you ever asked yourself why you buy the treats that you do, or why your dog likes some treats and not others? Chances are you know your pet's tastes better than anyone, and have a good idea what they might like, and what will be best to offer. Your dog may already show a preference for certain flavors or textures, or he may have some habits or behaviors that need to be take into account. Dog treats aren’t just a way to show your love, they can also be great tools for training and reinforcing good behavior.

So what are some things to consider when seeking the perfect treat for your pet?
The two main considerations when shopping for dog treats and dog chews should be your dog’s personal preferences in regards to flavors and type of treat, followed closely, or in conjunction with your pet’s physical conditions and lifestyle. Treats should constitute no more than 10% of your dog's diet to prevent them from packing on extra pounds or developing other digestive complications. There are so many different types of treats available in today’s market, which can make the decision on what to offer your pet a daunting task. To help you sort it all out, let’s look at some of the options.

Natural Chews
The treats and chews pets desire most will offer great taste, enticing aroma and an appealing texture or composition that makes your dog want to chew. What could be better than natural products like meaty treats, jerky, and real animal bones to appeal to your dog’s carnivorous instincts. Natural chews are processed just enough to seal in that mouth-watering flavor, typically either simmered in their own juices or smoked for your pet to crave! There are hundreds of natural dog treats on the market today, and many are suitable for dogs of all breeds, life stages and sizes. Just as with any other type of treat, you’ll want to consider the size of your dog and his chewing habits or capabilities before you make a selection. For example, if your dog is a strong chewer, you’ll want something that doesn’t break or splinter easily, such as a Bully Stick or Yak Cheese Chew. For smaller dogs, Bully Bites or Beef Tendon Bites make a great alternative to the bigger sticks. You probably won’t want to offer your chihuahua a smoked beef femur, but maybe a softer product like Venison Sticks would make his day.

Rawhide, in any of its forms, is a classic chew for canines. You can find it in a variety of shapes, sizes, types and flavors. Rawhide chews help to exercise jaws, and help clean teeth naturally, and they hold natural appeal to dogs who appreciate the scent, taste and texture they present. Many dogs do however struggle to digest rawhide and the popularity of this product is declining rapidly as a result of these issues. One alternative that does not cause issues with digestion is ears. Lamb ears, cow ears and pig ears provide great taste and texture while being easily digestible. They provide great chewing to help clean teeth and are available in a range of flavors from natural to peanut butter (a firm canine favorite!)  Again, you should choose your preferred product based on the size of your dog.

Dog Biscuits and Cookies
Classic dog biscuits provide the crunchy texture dogs love, and they promote healthy teeth and gums. Biscuits are offered in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, flavors and formulas, including low-fat options to keep pets trim, and all-natural, gourmet dog treats such as Brewscuits with wholesome, beneficial ingredients. A variety of soft treats are also available which are great for smaller dogs, seniors, and pets that simply prefer soft textures over crunchy.

Smaller treats, whether crunchy or tender make excellent training treats offered as rewards for good behavior.