You may have heard of puppy fat, but dog obesity is a far more serious problem. A shocking 52.7% of dogs are overweight or obese, and thus at risk of diabetes, joint damage, heart disease, and dozens more health problems. An animal hospital may have already instructed you to reduce your dog's calorie intake, but what about treats? While treats aren't essential, it can be hard to break the habit. Plus, many dog training techniques rely heavily on a treats-based reward system. If you need or want to continue feeding your dog treats, don't fret! Try one of these 4 treat options for your chubby pup.
1. Use their regular food
According to behavioural expert veterinarians Dr. Kersti Seksel and Dr. Gary Landsbery, roughly 3 hours of a dog's day should be spent eating. When dogs eat all their food from a bowl, it's devoured within minutes. To meet this ideal daily structure, you have to make your dog work for their food. Try using pieces of your dog's regular kibble or wet chow as a treat. This way, they'll expend much-needed energy and get the right daily intake.
2. Try fruits and veggies
Fruits and vegetables aren't just good for humans. They can boost your dog's nutrition too. Try chopping small amounts of fruits and veggies to use as treats for your pooch. Make sure you remove seeds, pits, and rinds before feeding them. Most fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs, but make sure to avoid the following harmful foods: grapes, raisins, onions, citrus, avocados, tomato plants, rhubarb, and potatoes.
3. Liquids vs. solids
Many solid treats come in large portion sizes that render them useless for overweight dogs. With a liquid treat dispenser, you can give your dog one small, controlled lick from the tube every time you treat them. You can buy low-calorie liquid treats online and in stores, but low-fat yogurt is also a great option. Pick up an unsweetened yogurt with active bacteria – it'll even help your dog's digestion.
4. Treats don't have to be food
While training usually works best with a food-based reward, regular treating can be substituted for a non-food delight. Does your dog get excited about a certain toy, a walk in the forest, or a good belly rub? Try switching out some of his or her edible treats for a fun activity. They'll be ingesting fewer calories and may even burn some in the process.
For more ideas about healthy treats for your dog, contact a local asdfasdfasfd.