How and When Should Treats Be Used?

4We love our dogs and we show our love by giving them treats. Many people regard their dog as their baby, lavishing on them various gifts and comforts which we imagine make life better for our dogs. But our dogs, as loving and smart as they are, are not just small furry people and we must be careful of how much we treat them. So how should we treat our furry friends?

Be careful with treats

The easiest and most obvious way to show love and affection for our dogs is by giving them food treats. The danger with this of course is that we can easily overfeed them and make them fat, in turn making them ill with obesity related conditions like arthritis, diabetes and heart problems. This is the last thing we want as we want our pets to live long, healthy and happy lives with us. So ideally, food treats should be given with a purpose. First of all, if you give extra food treats to your dog then you should also proportionally reduce the amount of his regular food so as to balance out the number of calories he consumes in a day.

Secondly, dogs need to be stimulated mentally as well as physically and they love to have a job to do, so a good idea is to make him work for his extra treats. You can buy interactive feeding bowls from good pet stores or internet websites into which you place either treats or his regular dry food. The object for the dog is to work out how to get the food out and also to slow down the rate of eating, a boon if your dog is a bolt-eater! A Kong toy does the same thing; place in it a mixture of, say, peanut butter and dry biscuit and watch as Fido works out the best way to empty the Kong.

Choose your moments

Remember though, that a treat is only a treat if it is given sporadically, or as a reward for good behaviour. If treats are available all day long there is not so much enjoyment for the dog if it’s just a part of his routine. Also, you – as the pack leader – should always be in control of when he has a treat, not him!

It doesn’t always have to be edible

Finally, treats don’t always have to involve food. Dogs get bored with the same old toys and love to get new ones. So use toys in the same way as the food treats – to reward him, and keep him stimulated and happy.

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