Grow your own? Alternative and healthy dog treats
What sort of things do you like to give your dog as a treat? Markies? Gravy Bones of leftovers from your plate? Most dog trainers recommend using something extra tasty if you’re using treats to train your dog – like cooked sausages or small pieces of chicken - but according to a recent article in Metro, it’s the concept of the treat that your dog enjoys, as most dogs eat them so quickly that they don’t even taste them!
Speaking about which treat is best for your pooch, canine nutrition expert Georgia Woods-Lee from the University of Liverpool suggests that it is better to give your dog something healthy and nutritious from the veg aisle and that the ideal treat for dogs is actually a raw courgette!
Courgette pic by Angele J on Pexels
Courgettes contain lots of water, are low in calories and won’t cause any health or digestive issues, plus dogs really like them!
‘There is a rule of thumb that treats should make up about 10 per cent of daily intake, but it is very individual,’ she said.
‘Courgettes are a favourite of mine because they are very, very high in water and very, very low in calories. They are accepted by most dogs and they can literally eat them until they come out of their ears. There are no detrimental effects to eating courgettes.’
According to Georgia, the act of giving and receiving the treat is the part that the dog enjoys, rather than what it is or what it tastes like.
Dalmatian pic by Bethany Ferr on Pexels
Our lurcher Murdock likes to have a treat in the evenings and usually hangs about near the treat box giving us the eye. We haven’t tried him on courgettes but he is partial to a raw carrot. He likes them whole and uncooked and gnaws on them like a bone. He doesn’t always finish them though and we sometimes find chewed up carrot pieces down the back of the sofa!
One concern you may have about courgettes is the price, last year they were in short supply, but they are still cheaper than other meaty chews or hides designed for dogs and are more nutritious and lower in fat and calories too. You could also grow your own carrots or courgettes to feed to your dog, and spring is the best time to start sowing some seeds to grow vegetables in your garden or even a window box – what could be better for your pooch (and your wallet) than some home-grown treats!
Corgi pic by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels
A lot of owners will give their dog a little bit of what they are having or share from their plate but this can actually be quite dangerous as your dog may not process certain foods in the same way that we humans do and some foods are actually toxic for dogs.
According to the RSPCA, our dogs need a well-balanced diet to keep them healthy and happy. Their diet should also be suitable for their lifestyle, age and any health needs too:
‘Human food isn’t ideal, as most of our meals won’t provide dogs with the nutrition they need. Some human foods, such as chocolate and onions, can even be poisonous to dogs.’
Pizza dog pic by Photo by Ivan Babydov on Pexels
Other toxic foods for dogs include macadamia nuts, avocado, grapes and raisins. If your dog is the sort to wolf something down without checking to see what it is then you have to be really careful not to leave anything containing raisins lying about is this could have severe consequences for you dog.
Thinking of sowing some veg for your dog? In addition to courgettes, the Kennel Club suggests trying them on carrots, broccoli, green beans and pumpkin. They also suggest peanut butter as a really good source of protein and this can be applied inside a Kong or Lickimat to keep your dog occupied whilst you are out. Some people also feed their dogs apple, but the Kennel Club suggests doing this in moderation as they contain sugar and should be fed in slices as they could present a choking hazard.
Labrador pic by Gabe on Pexels
Right now is the perfect time to sow some seeds if you’re thinking of trying your dog on some veg. Do you feed your dog any of these healthy alternatives? Perhaps you’ve got a suggestion for our list? As always, let us know in the comments section below!
Main pic by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels