How to Choose Healthy Pet Treats

How to Choose Healthy Pet Treats

By Mike Steele

Each year, more and more pet owners are taking advantage of positive changes in the pet food industry. Many of the unnecessary, and sometimes undesirable, ingredients once used in pet treats are being replaced by more natural alternatives. Pet owners and pets alike are reaping the benefits of these healthier alternatives.

The caveat: not all manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon. Many still make treats and biscuits with ingredients we consider off-limits, like chemical additives. In order to make sure your pet is getting a healthful treat, read the label carefully.

Make sure it has:

• No artificial colors.

• No artificial flavorings. Quality ingredients have enough flavor of their own.

• No artificial preservatives, including BHA, BHT, sodium nitrate, and ethyoxquin. Look instead for natural preservatives like citric acid, rosemary, and vitamins C and E. (Vitamin E is often labeled “mixed tocopherols” on ingredient lists.)

• No added sugar, corn syrup, or salt. You want to keep your pet healthy, so why not make sure his treats are the healthiest they can be?

Treats can prove invaluable in rewarding positive behavior and in reinforcing behavior learned during training. They’re also a fun, inexpensive way to show your dog you love him. When choosing a treat, be sure to consider:

• Intended use – if you plan to use treats during training, smaller treats are a good choice. They’re quickly consumed and provide minimal distraction from training tasks.

• Frequency – if you plan to treat your dog often, consider smaller, lower-calorie treats which will help him stay slim.

• Age & Health – puppies often prefer smaller treats, and seniors with sensitive teeth often prefer soft treats. Dogs with food sensitivities/allergies can benefit from hypoallergenic treats.

• Pooches preferences – treats are available in several different shapes, sizes, and flavors sure to fit your dog’s unique tastes.

Mike Steele

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