Feeding treats to your dog is not the same as giving candy to a human child (even though it will probably make the dog just as happy), for the simple reason that dog treats can be a real health boost for the dog if you choose the product wisely. You see, while kids are into sugar and tend to like the unhealthiest treats the best – dogs like anything that tastes like a big chunk of juicy meat. The dog food industry has caught onto this, which means that there is now a large selection of healthy and nutritious treats to choose from when picking out a special reward for your furry companion.

You can choose dog treats in accordance with your dog’s individual needs; such as treats that boost the immune system, that help the fur grow strong, that promote a soft skin and prevents skin irritation, or a treat that nourishes the bones and joints.

How to Pick Out a Healthy Treat

When learning to care for your dog and his or her nutritional needs, the first think you want to pay attention to is the content of the product you are planning to buy. All quality products should have a list of ingredients printed on the packaging; making it easy to see what went into the making of the product. The lack of an ingredient’s list should be seen as a red flag, and a sign that you are probably better of choosing a different product.

Once having located a list of content, you want to have a look to make sure there is real meat in there, as this gives the treat a delicious natural flavor, and a scent that your pup won’t be able to resist. Stay clear of artificial substitutes (flavor, color and preservatives), since there is no need for these in a delicious and healthy training treat. Natural ingredients are recommended both for dog treats and for your dog’s daily diet, and you recognize them easily once learning to read through the list of content before purchasing a dog product.

Omega 3 & Omega 6

These two fatty acids have multiple health benefits; both for humans and dogs, and it can be given to your pup as part of their breakfast and dinner, as supplements or by providing dog treats enriched with Omega 3 and/or Omega 6. The benefit of a treat is that you provide your dog with nutrition while rewarding a wanted behavior, which is a win-win for the two of you. You will usually find these fatty acids listed among the ingredients, or you could keep an eye out for different types of fish oils; as these contain Omega naturally.

Fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 are great for enhancing brain function; and reducing (and possibly even eliminating) inflammation in the brain which could otherwise cause a great number of health issues. The brain controls everything in the body, so keeping it sharp and functional should be topping the list of health priorities for your pup. Fish oil and Omega 3 and 6 are also beneficial for the heart; as it helps prevent cardiac disease and treats the heart with the love and care it deserves. The kidneys also benefit from these fatty acids, and it is a miracle supplement for those wanting to keep their fur babies happy and healthy for as long as possible.

Fiber

Fiber is essential for a happy and properly functioning doggy stomach; and it helps the digestive track work as efficiently as possible. Many know it as the way to stabilize an upset stomach and the dog’s stool, and it can be a remedy for loose stool and diarrhea. Dog treats with a high percentage of fiber is an excellent choice for a dog with a sensitive stomach, since it could help them digest their regular food better. Imagine finding a dog treat that could make your pooch healthier, and that promotes a healthy metabolism and a functional digestion.

Fiber is found in many natural products; with fruit and vegetables being good examples. If you want to give your dog extra fibers, then you should look for dog treats containing items such as pumpkin, apples, carrots, green beans, peas, bran and brown rice.

Antioxidants

These gems are close to magical when it comes to health and health benefits, and there is little to nothing they can’t seem to do! Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that helps maintain a soft and healthy skin, it supports and improves eyesight, helps digestion and the production of white and red corpuscles in the blood, it is beneficial for lactation and aids in the healthy growth and development of your dog. Vitamin C is another antioxidant known to boost the immune system – protecting your fur pup from viruses, bacteria and disease. It helps strengthen blood vessels, heals wounds and scar tissue, among other things.

Vitamin E, Selenium and Curcumin are other antioxidants often recommended for dogs, and if you are interested in dog treats with plenty of antioxidants – then you want to look for ingredients like (but not limited to) apples, berries, beans, cabbage, broccoli and barley.

Keep in Mind

Even if you choose the healthiest treats available, it is still important to remember never to overfeed your dog. Break the treats into smaller pieces if possible, mix them with fresh fruit and/or vegetables if you train a lot with your dog, and reduce their daily kibble portion on days when they’ve been fed more treats than usual. Excess weight in dogs is a big health issue, and something you should try to avoid at all costs.

This does not mean that they can’t have the occasional treat; especially if you have done your research and chosen a treat type that is healthy and that provides them with fiber, vitamins, minerals and more. There are excellent options out there, so just take yourself the time to try and locate them. Not only will your dog love a healthy dog treat with natural ingredients, but it might also enable your four-legged friend to live a longer and healthier life.

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