"Questions to Ask Yourself Before Offering Your Dog a Treat

"Questions to Ask Yourself Before Offering Your Dog a Treat

Health & Safety

Offering a dog a treat can be a great tool during training, but the problem is that many owners use dog treats as a “quick fix” or to pamper their pets for no real reason. It's much better to reserve any treats for special occasions so that your pet really does appreciate them rather than expect them.

Not Just Any Treat

It's really important that any treat you offer your dog is a healthy one. They need to contain vitamins and nutrients that will benefit your dog's diet which is why when you buy any it's important to read the labels very carefully. They should not contain too much fat, sugar or salt and sodium and they should never make up more than 10% of your dog's calorie intake (daily).

Treats that contain far too much sodium and salt can seriously impact your dog's overall health and general well-being. Offering a dog any will make them drink excessive amounts of water which means they will need to go to the toilet that much more too.

Is Your Dog on a Therapeutic Diet?

If your dog has to be fed a special diet because of an ongoing health condition, you need to be careful what sort of treat you offer them because they could have a negative impact on the good a diet is achieving. There are many dental treats on the market which claim to be very good at keeping a dog's teeth in better condition. However, for dogs on any special sort of diet, it would be a mistake to give them any of these dental treats without first talking to the vet.

Special Treats for Health Conditions

As previously mentioned, dental treats are very good at keeping the build-up of tartar down and in preventing a condition called gingivitis from developing. There are some treats that manufacturers claim can help dogs with certain health issues, but it is always advisable to discuss this with your vet first. They would be able to tell you whether any of them are okay to give your canine companion and whether they would do any real good.

For dogs suffering with allergies, it's really important that any treats they are given do not trigger a nasty and painful reaction. Feeding incorrect treats can also trigger some very nasty gastrointestinal reactions. The tiniest amount can cause a bad reaction which is why it's really important to buy hypo-allergenic treats if your dog suffers with any sort of allergy health issue.

What About Natural Treats?

It's important to check out the labels of any treats that claim to be 'natural'. If they are, they should be no artificial colourings, preservatives or additives. The ingredients need to be as natural as possible although this can prove to be very confusing with some labels not being as clear as they should be.

What Treats Should Be Considered as Real No-nos?

The treats to avoid at all costs are those that contain high levels of sodium or salt. There are other treats which are best avoided and this includes any jerky treats especially if they come from countries in the Far East or Asia. The reason being there have been a lot of reports where many dogs that have been given them have then suffered from kidney disorders.

People Food Can be a Problem

Many owners don't realise that a lot of “people” food is just too fatty for dogs to digest properly. Some human food is much too spicy for them too which can seriously impact their digestive systems. Rich foods can make dogs quite ill and could be the cause of many health disorders like an inflamed pancreas.

It is far better to play safe and avoid giving your dog any sort of people food as a special treat because you could end up making them very sick and which could result in you having to pay a heavy vet bill. Foods you should never offer your dog, even in tiny quantities include the following:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Sultanas

Even if there is a tiny amounts in other food, you should never give it to your dog and this includes things like a meatball or spaghetti sauce.

Best Time to Give Your Dog a Treat

Offering your dog a treat or two because you feel like it is never a very good idea. It is far better to reserve them as “special treats” or for when you are training your canine companion to do something. Treats should be used to reinforce good behaviour, but they can also be given to dogs as a way to help them overcome any anxiety or fears. However, you need to be careful just how many you give your dog because overdoing it could result in your pet putting on far too much weight.

The other thing to bear in mind is that when dogs are given too many treats, far too often, the reward has less value and your canine friend begins to 'expect' them rather than appreciate the fact you give them a treat.. A well trained and happy dog will see a pat as a great reward from their owners as much as they would appreciate being given a treat if not more so.


A real “value” treat needs to be used when training a dog so that it means something to your canine friend. However, you need to find out what sort of treat your dog likes best which means a little trial and error to begin with. The key is never give them too many treats at any one time in a single day. It's important to read the labels of any treats you buy to make sure they don't contain any preservatives, additives or salt and sodium. The more natural the treat is, the better but this does not mean you can give too many of them either!

Newsletter icon
Get free tips and resources delivered directly to your inbox.


Pets for StudWanted Pets

Accessories & services


Knowledge Hub


Support & Safety Portal
All Pets for Sale