Pet Nutrition

Best Natural Dog Treats 2019

Dogs Love Food Treats

Our dogs usually do pretty much anything for food treats. Sit, lay, roll over, fetch, when training our dogs we use treats as rewards for good behavior so they will repeat the behaviors later on command with or with the treat.

The better the treat, hopefully, the better our dog listens to us. We have to be careful with the quantity and quality of the treats we are giving to our beloved pets. This is where we can do better as owners by only giving our dogs the best natural dog treats possible to not only make sure they are eating healthy and getting the nutrients their bodies need but also in helping them not eat too many and get too many calories in the process.

What is a Natural Dog Treat?

Just like healthy food for humans, dogs need healthy, natural food and treats. Dogs love and eat fruit and veggies just like we do. And they probably aren’t as picky when they are given fruits and vegetables either!

So, please, skip the snacks that are high in fat, sugar, preservatives, and calories, and try offering your dog some fruits and vegetables.  But please read on as there are some things to be careful with as well!

Top Single Ingredient Natural Dog Treats

  • Red Peppers – Packed with vitamins, raw red peppers are a sweet treat for dogs. Give fresh or slice and freeze for a cool frozen treat.
  • Pumpkin – Rich in alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, zinc, iron, potassium, and vitamin A, pumpkin is low in fat and high in fiber, which helps overweight dogs lose some pounds!
  • Apples – Sweet, crispy apple slices contain calcium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and pectin. Throw away the apple seeds and stems which contain cyanogenic glycosides. I like to share my apple with my dog, but not too much!  These are also good training treats – just cut them in small pieces.
  • Carrots – Did you know that frozen baby carrots will naturally clean your dog’s teeth?
  • Cauliflower and Broccoli – Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower help fight cancer. But watch out for too much fiber in your dog’s diet, in particular, raw cauliflower can cause gas so keep portions small!

Be careful or stay away?

  • Oranges (citrus) – The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain varying amounts of citric acid, essential oils that can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in large amounts.  BUT, small doses, such as eating several pieces of the fruit within, are not likely to present problems and many dogs love a few pieces here and there.  (Some dogs do get stomach upset so just see how they respond to a few pieces of your orange next time.)
  • Grapes and Raisins – Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure.  Until more information is known about the toxic substance, it is best to avoid feeding grapes and raisins to our pets.
  • Macadamia nuts – Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs.  Avoid.
  • Avocado – Avocado is primarily a problem for birds, rabbits, donkeys, horses, and ruminants including sheep and goats. The biggest concern is for cardiovascular damage and death in birds. However, the seed is toxic to dogs.  I recommend that you avoid the entire avocado for your Pets.

Store Bought Natural Dog Treats

Avoid anything that’s hard: bones, antlers, or hooves. Did you know that a lot of the new treats on the market are fracturing teeth?

Rule of thumb: If you can push your thumbnail into the treat and it leaves a mark, the treat is probably safe to eat. If it doesn’t, the treat might be too hard for your dog to safely chew.

By Dawn

Dr. Gleason is a graduate of Colorado State University with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM). She is certified as a Canine Certified Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP) and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA).

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