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Dog Treats & Dog Bones

Thursday May 7th, 2009

To share food is to share love. Most dogs love to have a treat handed to them, and food that smells like your hand is a big deal. Your dog will also appreciate a variety of flavors and textures. (Think of it this way--do you always want the same flavor of ice cream?).

You don't want to go overboard, however, since treats count in your dog's total daily caloric intake. Think moderation, or you'll soon be taking away all treats and putting your dog on a diet.

Top treats

  • Go for small aromatic treats if you're training your dog. You can break them into still smaller pieces for fewer calories and more rewards.
  • Biscuits offer a good crunching experience, help remove tartar, and can be broken into pieces, perfect for saying "I love you, you are such a good girl."
  • Puppies and seniors do best with small, softer treats.
  • Read the label. Some treats have a high salt or fat content. Most people don't realize, for example, that rawhide and pigs' ears or snouts are high in fat and calories and are frequent contributors to pancreatitis and obesity. Look for hypoallergenic treats if your dog has food allergies.
  • Aggressive chewers need something large and tough; there are many treats and bones on the market designed just for them.
  • Go with the knotted type. Power chewers who like to masticate rawhides into a soft, disgusting mess will be occupied longer with a knotted rawhide than a flat one.

Safety

  • Supervise time your dog spends enjoying a treat, since choking is a possibility, particularly with bones and rawhides. Veterinarians mention that no one would buy some of these treats if they realized they might spend a thousand bucks on emergency surgery to remove the two-dollar treat.
  • Never offer cooked bones, such as chicken bones and others from the dinner table, because they can splinter and damage the throat or intestines.
  • Feed some treats outside. Basted rawhide or pigs' ears can stain carpeting and make a real mess, especially if your dog has a beard.
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