There’s treats. And then there’s TREEEEEEATS.
Make sure the ones you give are really packing a punch.
Are you currently reading this on the couch while thinking about preparing a delicious snack (Popcorn? Guac? Maybe you should go buy guac…). Take a look over at your pet—they’re feeling the same thing. Animals experience boredom just like us, and they too enjoy a fun food surprise to brighten up their day.
But how much is too much? Vets agree that treats should be no more than 10% of your pet’s daily calories (check the calories on the nutrition label from both your dog’s daily diet and the treats and do the math). With that in mind, you want to make sure that the few treats you’re giving them are really worth it.
For one thing, they should be packed with as much flavor and nutrition as possible. Sure, you could give your pet the standard dog biscuit or kitty nibble, but then you’ve wasted calories on something they may not even be that interested in. It’s time to take your pet’s taste buds to Flavor Town with a little miracle called freeze-dried treats. They’re nutritional powerhouses—flash-frozen to keep all their raw nutritional value intact and packed full of protein. They also have a really strong flavor profile, which dogs go nuts for, as well as a texture that cats love (not an easy task, since cats aren’t always into treats). You can serve them as is or re-hydrate them for pets with sensitive mouths.
Want a treat that stimulates your pet’s taste buds and their brain? Try a chew. Chews entertain your pet by giving them something to do with their mouth that’s not just eating (raise your hand if you chew gum for this very reason). But aside from keeping them from gnawing on your expensive new sneakers, chews also provide major dental benefits by scraping off plaque. They come in a huge variety—pig ears, sweet potato chews, bully sticks, knuckle bones and so much more. For heavy chewers, stick to really tough items like raw frozen bones and antlers. But a couple of things to note—never leave chews unsupervised and never give your pet a chew that’s smaller than their mouth (also, discard them as they wear down and become too small). These are choking hazards, so be careful.
Finally, if you really want to give them the best of all worlds, try a treat-dispensing toy. It can be as simple as a Kong or as complicated as a puzzle toy, but now getting the treat out is as satisfying as eating it. We can only assume this is similar to the sensation of scraping that last delicious spoonful out of the peanut butter jar—you have to work for it, but so worth it.