Nowadays, there are almost as many brands of treats and goodies for dogs as there are for humans. And why not? Our dogs have different tastes in foods, when given the choice, and what one dog may love, another might not even like a little bit. And in the same way a young man might prefer one candy bar over another, treats also can have differing values to a dog (as in, he likes cheese, but he LOVES bacon). Further, I love to mix up training treats for my dogs because I think they probably can tire of any one treat given repeatedly. One last caveat: always limit your dog’s intake of a new treat until you know it’s not going to affect your dog’s system negatively (as in, giving your dog diarrhea). Again, as with humans, dogs’ stomachs can need time to adjust to foods they haven’t tried before and too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Also, remember to take calorie intake from treats and training into consideration and feed less at meal-time.
Speaking of meal-time, many dogs will work very well simply for their dinner. However, if you try to train your dog straight from his usual food bowl, you will both be very frustrated very quickly. Trust me on this and just get a completely different bowl out of the cabinet – or better yet, a measuring cup – and place your dog’s kibble in it. By the way, (and yes, this should be obvious) there is a big difference between a Measuring Cup (8 oz) and a Solo Cup (19 oz). Solo Cups should only be used to feed dogs over 80 pounds (ideal weight, not your border collie). Okay, off my soap box on over feeding. That’s for a different post.
Treats Dogs Love.
- Cheese, minced (you might be surprised at just how small a crumb of cheese can be and still be enticing to your dog)
- Hot dogs, minced (to take the watery greasiness away, microwave minced meat in a single layer on a paper towel for 1 minute, up to 5 times)
- Scrambled eggs (a little messy, but pretty popular around here, for sure)
- Canned dog/cat food (place your chosen brand in a squeeze tube that can be found in camping and travel gear)
- Plain yogurt (again, place it in a squeeze tube for less-messy handling)
- Mashed potatoes
- Plain, unflavored popcorn
- Green Beans – fresh or frozen
- One Lucky Mutt in Edmond has a wide variety of freeze-dried treats. One of my favorites is Merrick’s Lamb Lungs. These can last for a long time in storage, plus you get lots of treats for an amazingly small volume, so they aren’t as expensive as they seem at first and they are a one-ingredient food (lung), so you won’t be filling your dog up with artificial and non-digestable junk.
- Freeze-dried liver (also found at One Lucky Mutt and PetCo).
- There are a multitude of soft, stinky treats in the pet-food aisle of most grocery stores that have no nutritional value. That doesn’t stop them from tasting good, they just are not nutritionally good for your dog. Use sparingly, like candy.
- Peanut Butter – Krema is a brand of peanut butter that has one ingredient: peanuts! (no salt, sugar, or any unpronouncable ingredients, simply peanuts). But any peanut butter you’d eat would probably be okay for your dog, with one HUGE exception: it canNOT be sweetened with Xylitol. Recently, manufacturers have started marketing to the sugar-free crowd by using this artificial sweetener in more products on the grocery store shelves, including peanut butter). Xylitol is highly dangerous to dogs. That’s probably also a topic for another day.
Feel free to comment and let us know your ideas for yummy treats.