Giving snacks and treats in moderation is part of the loving relationship you have with your dog, but consider the rest of their diet too - We look at the potential minefield of treating your dogs, advising on what, when and how to go about it
We all love to treat our dogs, and as well as them thoroughly enjoying it, it’s a tried, tested and very effective way of rewarding good behaviour or saying ‘well done’ for learning a new trick. We may also use treats to help keep our pets’ teeth clean or simply as something to chew on. More often than not though, it’s just because we love them!
But it can sometimes be a case of too much of a good thing. In fact, obesity and dental problems in dogs are very often the result of ‘over treating’ – coupled with a lack of understanding about proper diet and the need for good nutrition.
Sugary, poor quality, cereal-based treats and biscuits are one of the biggest culprits, and a major issue for canine health. Often these treats are packaged like doggy sweets, cleverly marketed and sold by big companies in supermarkets and pet shop chains. We all know we shouldn’t give our children snacks full of colourants, preservatives, food waste, salt and sugar, and we should definitely think twice about giving them to our dogs as well.
Reading and understanding the labels on food and treats is vital. At Scampers we put all the ingredients of our packaged products on the shelves – but we’re unique in that respect, so you need to put the legwork into learning the jargon and making sure you’re in a position to make an informed choice.
We understand that giving snacks and treats in moderation is part of the loving relationship we all have with our pets, but you need to consider the rest of your pet’s diet when doling these out, and adjust the rest of the food intake where appropriate.
Remember also that a treat needn’t be packed full of sugar and calories – healthy treats can be just as tasty and they’re actually good for your animals too. Aim for natural treats that contain no derivatives, preservatives, colourants, sugar or salt. Grouping treats together into different categories can help you understand when and how to feed them to your dog. First of all, there are functional treats, such as chews and bones, which are great for dental care.
Our dogs love tucking into things like hearts, kidneys, liver and raw meaty bones too, which you can now buy from our store (Natures Menu has just brought out a fabulous selection), but deer antlers are becoming a firm favourite too: they are 100 per cent natural and chewing on something like this also releases endorphins and even serves as a form of exercise for your pet (try Farm Food Antlers®, their 'Roots' are great too!).
Perhaps you’re training a puppy? In which case you’ll need some tasty, easy-to-store treats for instant rewards – we recommend Barker&Barker , which makes a great range of low fat, natural doggie snacks – their liver treats are especially good. If you just want to tell your pooch you love him, try Hungry Hector, which makes gourmet natural treats including the Doggie Oggie Cornish Pasty and Scrummy Mackerel Flapjacks – all of which are fresh, packed full of goodness and recommended by vets. You might also like to try Betty Miller’s wholesome dog biscuits, which even come in gluten free and lower calorie versions – as well as the Whiffy Dog treat, which contains peppermint and charcoal to reduce bad breath and flatulence!
For out and out indulgence, check out Billy + Margot, a company which Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Deborah Meadon chose to invest in on the TV show. It makes gourmet treats including special doggy ice cream (a great ‘lick’ for summer). They even now have a doggy popcorn! Best of all, company founder Marie Sawle is a trained nutritionist, so while the treats may be delicious, they are also good for your dog too.
To see all the other treats we have to offer, pop into Scampers and speak to one of our Pet Care Advisors about the most suitable treats for your pets
Scampers Natural Pet Store is located on the A142 Soham By Pass, between Ely and Newmarket and only 15 miles from Cambridge
Scampers, Your Pet’s Natural Choice.
Copy reproduced courtesy of Nicola Foley / Cambridge Edition magazine.