Good dog treats have much in common with good human snacks — they’re healthy, nutritious and addictive. They should be as free of preservatives as possible. With this criteria in mind, you can purchase good treats for your dog or make them at home with very few ingredients. Your dog will be healthier for it, and your wallet will breathe a sigh of relief.
Fresh cattle bones from the butcher are terrific dog treats. Your pet will love them, they don’t splinter and chewing on them help keep your dog’s teeth clean and tartar-free. One or two bones per month are adequate for the health benefits. Throw away the bone pieces when they get small enough for your dog to swallow. Avoid pre-packaged smoked dog bones, as the smoke flavoring can upset some dogs’ stomachs.
Ice cubes are good treats for dogs, and some dogs come running whenever they hear a plastic ice cube tray crack open. Ice cubes aren’t as hard as bones, so don’t worry about your dog chipping a tooth. If you really want your dog to enjoy ice cubes, designate a special dog-only ice cube tray and use low-sodium chicken or beef stock instead of water.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Apple slices (fresh or dried), baby carrots, celery chunks and pumpkin squares make great dog treats, especially if you add a smear of peanut butter before serving. The oil in peanut butter is also excellent for your dog’s coat. Avoid giving your dog onions and pieces of citrus fruit (lemon, orange, grapefruit), as these foods are poisonous to dogs.
If you have leftover plain rice from dinner, roll into one-inch balls and freeze. These treats are great for rewarding dogs with stomachs too sensitive for fattier goodies, and can be thawed and added to your pet’s kibble for a treat-filled meal.