Saturday, November 8, 2014

Healthy Treating for Dogs

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© All Things Dog Blog
Tanner and Oliver Get Rewards
 for Practicing Doga with Me

If I told you it was okay to eat a half a bag of cookies each day, you’d likely be shaking your head in disgust that I would offer advice such as this. Just like you and I, our dogs need to limit their treats, taking in only that amount that they need to maintain a healthy weight along with adequate energy for their daily activities.

Whether your dog’s job is one that provides a service to your family or is simply a companionship addition to you and your household, Fido’s treating needs are still much less than the average dog treat commercial on TV may infer. Keep in mind that choosing a healthy treat is as important as knowing when to cut off your pup from the cookie jar. Lower fat, higher fiber treats have health benefits and work to help his overall health stay in line with what you would wish for him. 

Here’s how I look at treating. When I’m training my dogs, they are earning their treats by performing behaviors that I ask of them. The energy that goes into these performances is much like a dog that herds, provides a service to a family member, or actively guards your home. They have to think about what they're doing in order to get it right, at least until it becomes habit. And then they have to physically perform the action. It's my job to energize this with the appropriate nutrition and reward in order to keep the behavior building to my goal.
© All Things Dog Blog
Tanner's Hip Makes a Great Yoga Block
If you take this step a little further, you can see that a dog that competes in athletic activities such as dock diving or sheep herding (Yes, some dogs actually do this for farmers, but competitions also exist.) will most certainly burn more calories and require more food and/or treats than the average pet of similar size and breed. All these factors come into play.

I suppose you see where I'm going with this. Healthy treating really depends on your particular dog and his unique health and activities. Below, I'm going to share some of the best #TreatRight tips from the #TreatRight Twitter Party, held Sunday, October 27 by Event Barkers on behalf of Merrick Petcare:

  • Choose treats with no artificial colors or preservatives.
  • Your dog will love fresh fruits and veggies and lots of real meat.
  • Know where your treats come from. Like Merrick pet food, Merrick treats are USA-made with NO ingredients from China. 
  • Look for treats that are grain- and gluten free with no corn, wheat or soy. 
  • Healthy treats can help reinforce good behaviors. Look for treats with nothing artificial. 
  • When selecting a chewy treat, look for ones with no corn, soy, wheat or sorbic acid. 
  • When seeking high-proten treats, choose ones with meat as the #1 ingredient, with wholesome fruits and veggies, too. 
  • Remember that even dental chews count as treats in the calorie department. Merrick Dental Chews clean dog’s teeth with fresh ingredients like alfalfa and parsley to help freshen breath naturally.
  • Further, the Merrick Dental Chews are grain free and gluten free with no sorbic acid or sodium copper chlorophyllin.
  • When choosing dental treats, choose ones recommended for the size of your dog.  
  • For the safety of your pets, observation is recommended when giving your pets treats or chews.
  • Treats can help boost brainpower, build confidence, reinforce good behaviors and provide bonding moments. They're perfect for encouraging
    your dog to join your for yoga practice! Join us for the All Things Dog Blog yoga instruction that includes your dog as a partner. Grab a mat and your dog; then click the link to join in!
  • Use the Merrick Pet Care Store Locator to buy near you: http://www.merrickpetcare.com/find-our-products
  • Finally, remember that a good variety of treats keeps your dog interested in the activities you train him for, making for all around better performance and bonding.
Join us next Saturday for more tips on how to build a better bond with your dog.


Happy tails,

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We are worked with Merrick Pet Care through our partnership in Event Barkers to produce this Twitter party and share product news with our readers. 

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