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Dog Treat – How to Select the Right Dog Treat

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Choosing the best dog treat is important to some pet owners. Dog treats are fun to give, can be useful in training, and is a nice way to bond with your dog. There are dozens of types, styles, sizes, and brands to choose from, and trying to choose the perfect dog treat can be difficult. Here are some tips to help you choose the best one for your dog!

Features to Consider in a Dog Treat

  • Quality of ingredients
  • Calories
  • Consistency of ingredients
  • Size (size of treat relative to size of your dog)
  • Veterinarian-approved
  • AAFCO approval (see more below)
  • Palatability, Flavor, and Appeal to dog
  • Safety
  • Cost

    Desirable Features of a Dog Treat

    The ideal dog treat is one made of good quality ingredients, moderate to low in calories, consistent in ingredients (thus unlikely to cause stomach upset from bag to bag), very appealing to your dog and safe.

    The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) publishes feed regulations and ingredient definitions. If the dog food (or treat) follows the guidelines set forth by AAFCO, the label will include a statement that says "Formulated to meet the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile for Puppies/Adults/Senior.”) Some companies create treats to be in compliance with the AAFCO standards.

    It is also important to ensure you are buying the proper size relative to the size of your dog. Dog treats that are too large or too small can cause esophageal obstructions in some dogs.

    It is also ideal if they don't cost you a fortune!

    Ideal Choice for a Dog Treat

  • Choose a treat formulated specifically for your dogs size. If you are going to feed treats, choose complete and balanced treat with AAFCO approval. Hill's® Science Diet® makes great quality treats formulated to meet AAFCO approval that are relatively low in calories, consistent and made of high quality ingredients.

    Tips for Feeding Dog Treats

  • Good nutrition may be the most important factor affecting your dog's health. This is especially true in growing puppies. Feed the best quality food you can afford. Treats are like candy bars for us, not something we need but something we may like. Remember, they don't NEED the treats. Do NOT supplement treats for a good quality core dog food diet.

  • This is worth repeating. There is nothing in a dog treat that is nutritionally required for your dog if he or she is on a good quality dog food. They are just that, a “treat” or a “snack”, not dissimilar to potato chips or a Snickers bar for us. We might like it, but we don't necessarily “need” it.

  • Consider low-calorie treats for dogs with weight control problems. Another alternative is to break up treats into small pieces to make them last longer, thus giving less (and less calories). Always read the labels for caloric content.

  • It is not a requirement to meet AAFCO standards in order to sell pet food, so buyers beware. Check the labels and compare products.

  • If your pet suffers from food allergies, for example to beef, chicken or egg, watch for those ingredients on any dog treat you buy for your pet. There are hypoallergenic dog treats available from food manufacturers.

  • If your pet is on a special prescription diet, ask your vet which treat is best for your dog. In this case, the best treat might be a homemade. You can usually purchase the canned version of the prescription food and use it to bake treats.

  • Dog treats that control plaque and tartar in dogs is a great option. Consider that the treat may help control some tartar and plaque but the most effective method for providing good dental care is daily brushing.

  • Make sure that you select the right sized dog treat for the size and weight of your dog. Also, watch how he chews and eats it. Some treats have been associated with causing problems such as esophageal foreign bodies. Make sure your pet does not “gulp” the treat or eat it in big prices. For more information on possible complications, read "Are Greenies Safe"?

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