Treats To Use When Feeding a Raw Diet
That’s it, your dog has switched to a raw, real food diet. You’ve done it. Delicious moisture-rich meats, fresh whole foods and only the finest supplements your money can buy go into that bowl. Yet, you have a whole tub full of mini Bonios left… You ask yourself, is there really a difference between natural treats and processed treats?
What treats can I give my dog, and how many can I give them?
The one thing all dog owners agree on is how absolutely great it feels to give to our dogs. To have that exchange of energy, to give love as we do when we give them a treat. Which treats to use, treats to feed and treats for dog training can be something of a concern once your dog is eating a healthy raw diet. How do we ensure our dogs have the most natural treats instead of processed ones?
Provide extra nutrition
Depending on the size of your dog the treats you give them can have quite an impact of their diet, their daily intake and of course their weight. Natural treats can also equally be very useful time to provide extra nutrition your dog may need, but not be so keen on eating from there bowl. My dog for instance will just not eat plants material (veggies, fruits or herbs) alongside her raw meat. Yet if mixed in a treat I can make sure she is getting the Phyto-nutrition that will support her body to detox environmental toxins.
Types of treats for a raw food diet:
- Small training treats
- Chewing treats
- Bedtime ‘biscuit’ treats
- Everyday exchange of love treats, could be kefir or even canine non-dairy ice cream.
What to avoid in a dog treat:
- Grain – all types
- Preservatives such as BHA/BHT
- Cooked bones dipped in fat
- Pigs ears
- Rawhide chews in the shape of bones, littles shoes etc. (which are anything but raw)
Why add something like grain into your dog’s treats when you have taken the courage to remove it from your dog’s meals? There are now heaps of treats out there created without grain. I like to support small businesses home-making fun grain-free baked biscuits – perfect for a pre-bedtime treat.
As for preservatives, unfortunately, lots of packet treats have harmful, even proven carcinogenic preservatives in them, such as BHA or BHT. Often they are meaty treats we find and want to use for high-value, small training treats. The meat needs preserving to prevent it going ‘off’ in your pockets or in an open bag. The preservatives are often not listed as an ingredient either, making it confusing as to whether they are included or not. The simplest small training treats to use are dehydrated liver treats , or even home-made liver cake.
Bones for chewing, chomping and canine enrichment
Market stalls, Pet stores and even some of our supermarkets sell a fair amount of dry chewing bones. Most of which are cooked and dipped in fats. Making them smell (to the dog) and even look appealing yet are the exact type of bones we want to avoid for our dogs. They splinter easily and the fats often cause loose stools. Traditional ‘pet shop’ Pigs ears also fall into that category. As do Postman’s legs and open-boxed knuckle bones. Rawhide and rawhide sticks seem like a great choice. After all they last a while, they appear to degrade down and be eaten easily. However, that is part of their problem. They are largely unregulated, covered in chemicals and are actually one of the most processed items in the pet food industry. Gut blockages are very common from feeding these. The absolutely best way round this is to feed dehydrated raw dog treats emerging on the market now. These are real meat, simply dried to reduce the moisture, and that way preserved. They have no other preservatives added to them. Dogs love them!
Raw meaty bones
Raw meaty bones, chewy bone-free raw Tracheas and a definite healthy choice. Not only aligning to the raw food diet but proving nourishment at the same time. These will be found in the freezers of your pet store. A whole other article could be written on raw meaty bones, but the general gist is leisure chewing bones are Marrow (making sure they are not too hard for your dog), Lamb ribs or Beef ribs. The packaged dry shelf marrow bones are not good for dogs again commonly causing loose stools. Raw bone is completely different to cooked bone! Raw bone still has a moisture content, making it dramatically easier for your dog to chew on, digest and breakdown. Also, less likely to splinter, if at all. Smaller more meaty bones such as chicken wings, necks or duck wings tend to be swallowed or eaten fairly quickly, these can still be considered a treat for some dogs, especially larger dogs. But will not necessarily provide the entertainment enrichment side. Raw meaty bones such as lambs ribs mentioned provide not only Calcium but Magnesium, Iron, Boron, Essentials fatty acids and even Vitamins K, E and D. All extremely nourishing for a dog on a raw diet.
Further natural chews range from natural tree roots, stag antlers, hardened yak’s milk chews and a whole host of dehydrated meat parts as mentioned above. These are perhaps the most fun to present for your dog. With literally zero chemicals needed for the processing these are not only healthy, but safe and in alignment with the raw diet. You can have fun finding out which your dog prefers and which ones last them the longest.
You will also find that some are very easily chopped into small pieces to be used as training treats, or everyday treats.Examples of these training treats include and dehydrated cow ears, rabbit ears (even with or without fur) dried hooves, venison meaty strips and even pig’s pizzle (and yes that is what you’re thinking it is).
Fruit and Veggies
Lastly, let’s mention fruits and vegetables. These are generally safe treats, and some dogs love berries as treats, frozen ones in the summer, and even frozen banana goes down well. Organic carrots are packed full of nutrition too. We’ve written extensively on what foods your dog can eat. Make sure to check the page out for some dog-friendly food inspiration!
What is the aim of these treats?
What we would recommend is first of all consider what the aim of your treats is. What is the emotional angle you would like to gain, for you, your dog, or both of you, and then which of these suggestions, best suits you both? If you are clever, every treat you provide can be nourishing and practical. If you’re giving them a treat your dog has gone off their raw food, then, actually, as we discuss in the article, you might actually be better limiting the amount of food you’re giving them.
At the end of the day (or middle, or beginning!), treats can be a useful addition to your dog’s raw food diet. Check out our extensive range of training treats for dogs which make the perfect addition to a raw fed dog’s diet.