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While our dogs love it when we bring out the treat jar, too many could cause them to gain weight.
Dog treats should ideally make up no more than 10% of their daily calorie intake.
But how can we resist those adorable puppy-dog eyes when they want feeding at all times of the day?
Sometimes mealtimes just aren’t enough for our greedy little scavengers. Just like us, they enjoy a snack or two.
But rather than dashing straight for the treats, there are a number of healthy alternatives you can give them instead - many of which you’ll already have in the kitchen cupboards.
From carrots to apples, many of our own foods can make a healthy snack for our dogs.
Unsure of what you should be feeding your furry friend? Here are 11 nutritious foods that make healthy treats for dogs.
Cooked lean meat
Some cooked lean meat is a healthy treat your dog can enjoy. It’s especially good for treat-based training.
Cooked plain chicken is a good choice due to the omega-6 fatty acids which help to keep their skin and coat healthy.
But it’s important to keep your dog away from any cooked bones as they can prove particularly dangerous to dogs, especially if they splinter.
A quick and easy snack to feed your dog, apples can help with your dog’s digestive system due to them being high in fibre. Apples are also full of antioxidants and can also help with teeth cleaning.
Just make sure you don’t let your dog have the seeds or core as these contain small amounts of cyanide which are poisonous if consumed.
A vegetable we’ve almost always got in our kitchen anyway, carrots are full of vitamins and rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene. Much like apples, the texture also helps to keep their teeth clean.
Most dogs enjoy carrots, either cooked or uncooked, but ensure they’re cut up small to avoid them being a choking hazard.
Packed full of vitamins, blueberries are another fruit that provide a healthy snack for dogs.
High in fibre and vitamin C, they’re a quick and easy treat that need little effort from you, simply pop a few in your dog’s bowl for them to enjoy.
Similar to carrots, pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, as well as being full of fibre and other vitamins.
Come Halloween when we’ve got a lot of unwanted flesh from pumpkin carving, rather than wasting it, it can be used as a healthy snack for our dogs.
You can also buy it in a tin, although you should buy the unsweetened version.
Absolutely jam-packed with goodness, green beans are a good source of iron, calcium, fiber, folic acid, potassium, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, C, and K.
A nutritious snack for dogs, just make sure they are unseasoned.
Practically made up from water, watermelon is a tasty treat that will help to keep your dog hydrated, especially good on hot days.
Just remember to remove any seeds as similarly to apples, they can be dangerous for dogs. You should also keep them away from the rind.
Cooked sweet potatoes
While there is some preparation required on your part, a cooked sweet potato is another vegetable that is good for our dogs.
High in beta-carotene, fibre and vitamins B-6 and C, they’re beneficial for a dog’s digestive system.
Keep them plain and ensure they are cooked and not raw.
While dogs can eat bananas, they are only okay in moderation due to the high sugar content. Too many and your poor dog may end up with an upset stomach - not nice for you or them.
A few slices are fine as they are high in fibre and low in low in cholesterol and sodium.
Strawberries are sweet, juicy and absolutely delicious. And it’s not just us who thinks so, they also make tasty treats for our dogs.
Again, this is a fruit that is only okay in moderation due to its high sugar content, although they are jam-packed with antioxidants. They also have an enzyme that can help whiten your dog’s teeth.
A healthy option that is full of protein, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, sweetcorn is another vegetable that our dogs can enjoy.
Just make sure you DO NOT give them corn on the cob. Their stomachs can’t digest this and it can cause dangerous blockages.
A greedy Beagle was lucky to survive after eating corn on the cob.
Foods to avoid
While we share an incredible bond with our dogs, it’s important to remember that our digestive systems are completely different.
Some of the foods we often enjoy can be incredibly toxic for dogs, sometimes even proving fatal.
Here are some human foods that can be dangerous to dogs:
- Macadamia nuts
- Corn on the cob
- Xylitol (artificial sweetener)
- Yeast dough