Treating Your Dog with and without Food

When you love your pup, you want to spoil him with hugs, scratches and healthy dog treats whenever he's being a good boy. But do you know what kind of dog biscuits you should be buying? Knowing what to look for and how often your dog should indulge is crucial to his health when treating him. Here's what to look for when treating your furry best friend while keeping him healthy.

Dog healthy

How to Choose

When purchasing dog biscuits for your furry friend, you want treats made with healthy, natural ingredients. Those that are loaded with fats and sugars aren't good for your pup, just like human treats wouldn't be for you. Dogs can gain too much weight from unhealthy snacks, so be sure to read all labels for ingredients before making a purchase.

Ideal Balance™ and Science Diet® dog treats are healthy snacks with many flavor options your dog will love. If you're looking for a grain-free option, try one of our Science Diet® Grain Free Treats like the Chiken and Apples treats, made without wheat sources or artificial preservatives. For dogs with dental issues, you can treat with Science Diet® Dental Chews with Real Vegetables. Dogs aren't known for great-smelling breath, but these treats freshen up your pup's mouth.

If you enjoy your time in the kitchen, keep in mind you can always make your own dog treats. Try this recipe if you'd prefer to make his treats at home; your dog will drool in anticipation. Brands like Hill's® focus closely on what goes into your canine's food so that each dog treat isn't your standard biscuit. In particular, you'll never find artificial coloring or flavoring; your dog deserves natural ingredients that are as healthy as they are satisfying well after he consumes them.

Treating Him Right

Dog motivational training. Trainer gives the husky dog a reward

If you're potty training your pup or teaching him new tricks, dog biscuits can be a huge motivator. Your four-legged friend will appreciate the reward and may even learn more quickly if you use treats as a training tool. However, don't feed your pet too many! Even healthy dog snacks can be overeaten, creating lethargy that defeats his willingness to have fun with you. It's also important to keep in mind that as your dog ages his metabolism will slow down, so make sure to slowly back off the treat regimen during training as he starts to catch onto verbal commands.

Keeping your dog active is another fun way to bond and encourage healthy behavior. If your dog is overweight and you'd still like to share snacks with him, consider bringing them with you for long walks. You can treat your dog with Hill's Science Diet Baked Light Biscuits with Real Chicken, a low-calorie biscuit formulated specifically with your overweight dog in mind. Just like a person in training, rewarding your dog for physical activity will get him excited to exercise in the future.

Table Scraps Are Not Treats

Never give your dog your leftovers. Human food tends to be high in calories, as well as certain vitamins and minerals that aren't always what your dog needs. Feeding from your plate also encourages similar bad behaviors such as begging or overeating. To keep your dog from begging, your best bet is to provide nutritious meals and snacks at scheduled times throughout the day—if not during his daily loop through the neighborhood.

Treats can be a fun way to share with your dog, but don't spoil him too much; you never want your dog's daily comfort food to be more than 10 percent of his daily nutrition. It isn't a good idea for him to snack on treats before meals, either. You want your pup to embrace good habits, such as finishing his healthy meals and not snacking all day long.

By choosing healthy dog treats with the above nutrition, you'll be spoiling your pup in the best possible way.

Contributor Bio

Erin Ollila

Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.

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