There are a lot of dog treats out there which are high fat and filled with artificial preservatives, which aren’t great for your dog’s health. If you’re concerned about your dog’s weight or just looking for a healthier alternative, check out this list for our favourite 7 healthy dog treats for training.
Many dogs are incredibly food orientated. Their ears prick up at the mere sound of a packet rustling and their high-powered noses can pick up the scent of something delicious faster than you can say sit! Due to their love of food, it’s generally quite easy to train them with treats, but of course there’s the worry that too many of these will lead to weight gain or an unbalanced diet.
We’ve created this list to tell you all about the best healthy dog treats for training, perfect for teaching everything from a reliable recall to your dog’s next big fancy trick. Always make sure to factor treats into your dog’s daily ration and reduce the size of meals to balance it out.
1. Cooked lean meat
If you need high reward dog treats for training when you really need to command their attention, try some lean meat. Plain, boiled chicken breast with no oil or seasoning can be suitable – cutting up into very small pieces around the size of your little finger nail works best. In addition to being gentle on most stomachs, chicken is filled with omega-6 fatty acids which help to promote healthy skin and coat. Salmon is sometimes fed as a healthy dog treat as it’s full of omega-3 fatty acids. However, this is higher in fat so should be given in very small quantities and not fed to dogs with a history of pancreatitis. Be sure to avoid processed meats that have added salt.
2. Your dog’s dinner
Your dog’s regular dry food can make a great healthy dog treat. This is a good choice for overweight dogs on low fat diets, or other pets that are on special diets for underlying health problems. Measure out a portion of their daily ration and keep this in a pot to use for training treats that day. Additionally, you can try using dog puzzles or a food dispensing toy so they can eat, learn and play all at the same time.
3. Peanut butter
You must never feed a dog peanut butter that contains salt, sugar or artificial sweeteners. Xylitol in particular is extremely toxic, but can be listed under a range of names including Birch sugar and E967. If in doubt, do not feed it!
However, a spoonful of unsweetened peanut butter without any additives can make a great dog treat for training in moderation, or can be popped into a Kong for an excellent distraction. Peanut butter is actually a good source of protein and it’s full of vitamins and nutrients.
This may surprise you but pumpkin isn’t just delicious for humans, it also makes an excellent healthy dog treat too! Pumpkin is full of fibre and vitamins for a shiny coat. You can use the cooked flesh of fresh pumpkins as a seasonal treat. It’s perfect for around Halloween when there’s lots of leftovers from pumpkin carving! You can also use unsweetened tinned pumpkin too.
5. Apple slices
Apple slices can make a tasty dog treat for training. Aside from being deliciously crunchy, apple can help to clean the residue off your dog’s teeth and freshen their breath! The apples should be sliced small to avoid choking, and only fed in moderation due to the sugar content.
Always make sure they’re unseeded and never give them the core as the seeds contain a small amount of cyanide which can be harmful if given frequently over a period of time.
6. Fresh vegetables
There are a number of fresh vegetables which can be used as dog treats. Carrots, green beans and broccoli are all suitable choices but be careful as chunks of raw vegetables can get lodged in your dog’s oesophagus or further down the digestive system, especially if they gulp rather than chew. Consider grating or chopping the vegetables into very small pieces. Green beans in particular contain iron and vitamins, but don’t give too many fresh vegetables as they may cause tummy issues such as loose stools and flatulence.
7. Purina dog treats
Purina has a wide range of dog treats to suit your dog's needs, including functional treats from the DENTALIFE range to help keep your dog's teeth clean. For training try something from the PURINA ONE TRUE INSTINCT Trios and Bites range. These protein rich treats are the perfect size for obedience training!
Always remember that the healthy dog treats listed above are only intended as a treat. They should never be given as a substitute for a complete and balanced diet and always make sure to feed in moderation. If you have a dog that’s overweight, be sure to consult with your vet and they’ll be able to suggest appropriate weight loss measures and which healthy dog treats may work best.