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What Makes a Good Dog Treat and How to Feed Them

Dog treats are not only highly enjoyable to your dog, but can also offer many nutritional benefits. Delve into our guide to find out what makes a good dog treat and discover the best ways of using them to optimise your dog’s health and happiness. With ProDog’s natural dog treats, you can rest easy in the knowledge that the goodies you’ve chosen will also be supporting their nutritional intake and overall well-being.

Anna Bain

Author: Anna Bain

What Makes a Good Dog Treat and How to Feed Them

Healthy dog treats can support the following:

  • Dental and oral health
  • Joint and mobility
  • Digestive system
  • Toilet habits
  • Immune function
  • Weight management

Alongside the physical benefits, healthy treats can also contribute to emotional health and behaviour. ‘Good mood food’ is a saying that applies to dogs as much as to humans.

The mind and body are linked, and therefore what you fuel your dog with will impact their happiness as much as their health.

Natural whole foods can support the systems and functions of the body that affect mood and behaviour [1], whilst the act of chewing, innate to dogs, is an activity that can calm, soothe and relieve boredom in dogs.

What are the different types of dog treat and when should they be given?

Healthy training treats

Food is an excellent motivator for many dogs and, as such, can be the best tool to use when training a dog. But whilst the skills we teach our dog are necessary to support your dog to live safely in the world, it’s essential to carefully choose the best dog training treats to use as that all-important incentive.

Filling your dog with treats made with inappropriate ingredients that are highly processed and include synthetic additives will not benefit your dog’s health in the long run. It may even be detrimental to their mood and behaviour [2].

Our selection of natural dog treats for training will encourage your dog to learn and, and repeat the desired behaviour whilst also looking after their nutritional needs. This high-reward, delicious selection offers a variety of healthy training treats for you to choose from.

  • Made using lean proteins
  • Naturally air-dried or freeze-dried to maintain the quality of the raw ingredients.
  • Softer texture, ideal for young pups and older dogs.
  • Small enough to not over feed, but still a high reward value
  • Novel protein options, such as ostrich for dogs with intolerances or allergies to more commonly farmed meats, who require hypoallergenic dog treats. Check out our novel protein dog food range too.

ProDog natural dog training treats are sure to be a winner.

Dental dog snacks

Chewing is one of the best ways a dog can keep their teeth clean and breath fresh, yet this only applies if the right snacks are chosen.

Grain-free dog treats, animal protein based and minimally processed to ensure the nutritional value is maintained, are the best choice for dental dog chews and all-around dog health.

Ironically, many dental dog treats use ingredients, such as grains high in sugars and starches, that fuel bad bacteria in the mouth, are difficult for dogs to digest, spike insulin and consequently impact fat storage and weight management[3].

In contrast, our range of dental dog treats are expertly selected to provide oral hygiene support whilst being easily digestible and adding beneficial vitamins and minerals to the diet.

Your dog will be delighted with their new tasty chew, whilst you’ll know the secret benefit of them gnawing on our natural bones and long-lasting chews is their teeth are also getting a good clean.

Made from single protein ingredients, naturally dehydrated, with zero additives and rawhide free (see details on risks of feeding rawhide), which all means you can give your dog a chew they love, with the peace of mind you are enriching their diet and caring for their teeth and gums.

The added benefit of regular chewing on healthy dog treats is no more dog breath!

Choose from our selection of dog healthy dog chews. For the power chewers, try Calf Hooves.

Long-lasting natural dog treats

Dogs are designed to chew. They evolved in the wild, gnawing on animal parts from the prey they hunt or scavenge. Whilst better socialised than their wild ancestors, domesticated dogs still have the innate need to chew, nibble and gnaw.

This action stimulates dogs’ minds and releases endorphins which helps to calm [4], whilst also helping to clean their teeth and keep gums healthy.

Providing dog treats, fulfilling this instinctual need, will support a healthier, happier dog. Whilst many long-lasting dog chews are on the market, many are not ideal for supporting their dietary requirements. The best choice is chew options that are minimally processed, as close to raw dog treats as possible.

Our range of long-lasting natural dog treats provides just that, naturally dehydrated, using air drying methods to maintain the vitamin and minerals in the raw ingredients.

With a variety of long-lasting dog treats to choose from, we’re sure you’ll find one your dog loves. For smaller, more delicate teeth, try Kangaroo Jerky, and for the power chewers, Venison Skins or a Yak Milk Chew Bar are great choices.

Bones and chews

Dogs are often portrayed in pictures and comic books with a bone, and for good reason. The old saying ‘Give a Dog a Bone’ is wise; raw bones and chews are a great way to enrich your dog’s diet.

Raw bones provide beneficial vitamins and minerals and allow dogs to express their natural desire to chew, providing enjoyment, mental stimulation and a natural way to exercise and strengthen jaw and neck muscles. [5]

Learn more about feeding bones to dogs in our all-you-need-to-know guide.

Aside from the pleasure dogs get from a recreational bone or chew, the hours of delight dogs experience gnawing at a bone is clear to see. Certain bones are also a fantastic way to aid your dog’s joint development because they are rich in calcium and other minerals.

A large Ostrich bone is excellent for power chewers, and the honeycomb texture is perfect for cleaning teeth as your dog happily munches away. For smaller dogs, pups or those dogs not used to bones, softer chews made with naturally dehydrated animal proteins, such as our Lamb Shoulder Strips, maybe a good place to start.

Dogs fed a raw food diet are often much better equipped to digest bone content due to the stomach acidity promoted by a raw-fed diet. For dogs fed a commercial diet, the stomach acid is often altered from the natural intended balance [6]; therefore, extra caution should be taken when feeding bones to non-raw-fed dogs, starting with softer, more easily digestible chews, such as Rabbit Ears.

In addition to being a fun chew for dogs, Rabbit Ears with fur also help cleansing of the intestines; a natural method of internal parasite control.

For tailored advice, contact our expert feeding advisor today.

Whatever your dog’s requirements, our large range of dehydrated dog bones and chews has a healthy dog treat to set their tail wagging.

Try a Sample Pack

5kg raw dog food box + 2 x healthy treats + FREE delivery from £16.95

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Why choose ProDog for your natural dog treats

The ever-growing stacks of enticing dog treats on supermarket shelves promise a product that is rewarding to our beloved fur friends; however, not all dog treats are made equally.

When choosing those tantalising titbits to spoil your dog, selecting minimally processed products as close to nature as possible is the best choice.

Rest assured, when ordering ProDog healthy dog treats, you can reward to your heart’s content, knowing you are bringing happiness to your dog’s day and fuelling their health.

We select naturally dehydrated treats, ensuring the nutritional value of the raw ingredients is maintained. We only use quality proteins, which means our treats get top marks from our canine critics for tastiness and the all-important drool factor.

As long as you’re calculating their treats into their daily food intake, the sky’s the limit. Our handy calculator tool can help you to work out the ideal feeding quantity for dogs on a raw food diet.

Raw dog treats versus natural dog treats

Natural, raw dog food treats offer your dog a plethora of benefits. The obvious, ‘truly’ raw dog treats are mineral-rich, meaty bones. Bones should always be fed raw and never given to dogs once cooked, as they can be a splinter risk.

Another truly raw treat that some dogs love is fruits. If yours does, blueberries or raspberries are an excellent raw dog food treat choice. Caution should always be advised when feeding fruits due to the sugar content, but now and again is fine as a tasty treat. Check out our “What Can My Dog Eat” guide to check out more dog-friendly foods.

Feeding raw meat products as treats can be messy and unhygienic, so our range of delicious and nutritious natural dog treats may be the answer. Our range offers the next best thing to raw dog treats, being naturally dehydrated and made with quality proteins only. When you feed your dog a natural treat, you also give them the benefit of a healthy choice.

Due to our quality ingredients and minimal processing methods, ProDog treats deliver a convenient way to spoil and reward your dog whilst also complementing their diet. A whole food, raw diet rich in animal-based proteins is preferred for a dog to thrive.

Their body can assimilate and absorb the nutrients with ease, meaning they are receiving the fuel they need to maintain great energy, balanced mood and healthy immune system via their daily treats, as well as at mealtimes.

Many commercially available dog treats on supermarket and pet shop shelves contain grains, sugars, starches and artificial preservatives, which can all contribute to insulin spikes leading to weight storage, weight gain and nervous, excitable mood and behaviour.

In contrast, whole food, animal protein-rich foods help to support a healthy gut, leading to balanced internal conditions, fuelling beneficial bacteria and maintaining a healthy immune system.

Though treats are undoubtedly important to a dog’s daily enrichment, choosing the right treats is crucial to ensure long-term benefits.

What treats should you feed your dog?

The first step is choosing the appropriate treats based on your dog’s preferences. Some things to consider:
Which proteins do they like? Do they have any food intolerances? What size breed are they? ( larger breed dogs with strong chew capabilities will require different treats to smaller breeds or pups with more delicate teeth).

Also, consider the types of chews in relation to the purpose you want to feed them. For example, treats to help teach your dog skills in training are ideally small because you will give your dog a lot over a relatively short period.

Our training treats come in handy bite-size pieces designed to go straight into your treat pouch or pocket and provide tasty rewards for a job well done. For smaller dogs, you could break these further into smaller morsels to avoid piling on the pounds.

Our long-lasting treats are great for keeping your dog’s mind occupied during downtime. Maybe you need to get on with some jobs around the house or work at the computer, activities where you ideally would like your dog to relax or occupy themselves.

Our bones and chews can provide a great way to engage your dog’s mind, calm your dog down and deter boredom by giving them a delicious snack to get their teeth into.

If you plan to use enrichment toys such as treat balls or puzzle toys, our Kangaroo Jerky are easily broken into pieces to fill their toys, providing brain games for doggo to exercise their mind, with well-deserved tasty treats at the end.

Frozen bone broth in an ice cube tray for those warm summer days is another excellent treat, providing a cooling and mineral-rich, electrolyte hydrating, tasty snack.

How many treats should you feed your dog?

Treats should be included in your dog or puppy’s daily feeding amount. For raw-fed dogs, our handy calculator tool can help you determine the recommended quantity of food to give your dog based on age and weight.

It can be very easy to underestimate the number of treats you feed your dog, as they are usually provided in small amounts throughout the day. A few treats here and there don’t seem significant, but you’ll be surprised how the quantities can add up.

As much as your dog may love treats, if you overdo them, you may find your dog not eating their meals. If your dog is turning away from their food bowl at meal times, check out our guide for more tips to help fussy eaters.

Treat feeding tips

If you’re using our training treats as a training tool, it is best to give your dog one at a time, in quick succession, As you progress, further delay the time between each treat reward. So from 1-second delay, increase to 2 seconds and so on.

Please ensure you keep an eye on your dog while they are eating their longer lasting treats to avoid accidents. Avoid direct eye contact or staring at them intently, though. This could make your dog possessive and present with guarding behaviours around their treats and meals.

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