While most dogs are only too keen to eat anything that’s put in front of them and plenty of other things too, not everything that your dog might get their teeth into will be good for them and in some cases, even food and treats that are fine for most dogs may potentially cause problems for your own dog.
A reasonable amount of dog owners need to be fairly speculative about the treats and snacks that their dog has, for instance if your dog is on a restricted diet, suffers from a sensitive stomach, or is prone to allergies that can lead to problems such as skin issues and general discomfort. If your dog is one of these, readymade off the shelf treats, which are often full of sugar, grains and other non-essential ingredients may potentially have a negative effect on your dog, and be unsuitable for them.
Most of us like to give our dogs the odd snack or treat, and treats can also be an invaluable training aid too, so if your dog is sensitive to most pre-packaged treats, you will have to look for alternatives. In this article, we will look at what type of treats you can make or buy for a dog that is prone to sensitivities.
One of the biggest triggers for dogs with food allergies is wheat, and also potentially other grain based products too. As most store bought treats contain grain of some sort, finding a treat to suit your dog can be a challenge! If you are prepared to spend a little more money, you can buy grain-free treats from larger supermarkets and from your vet or a specialist pet store, but you can also have a go at making quick and simple grain-free treats at home.
Calf liver or lamb liver sliced into thin strips and baked in the oven at a low temperature for a couple of hours so that they dry out is a cheap and effective way to make your own treats with no grain, and these will keep in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks, and can also be frozen.
Dogs that have sensitive stomachs but do not react badly to grain give you a few extra options of treats to make at home too. There are masses of recipes on the internet for make at home dog treats, and one of the most simple of these is to make oatmeal biscuits for your dog, using roasted flakes of oat mixed with boiling water, barley syrup, brown rice and a little whole wheat flour. Shape your biscuits and bake in the oven at a high heat for around half an hour, and then allow your biscuits to cool before offering them to your dog.
While many dogs will quickly turn their noses up at a healthy treat such as fruit or veg, many other dogs will be perfectly happy to try something healthy, and if you can convince your dog that fruit and veg is a treat, you will be way ahead!
Not all fruit and veg products are suitable for dogs, so if you want to avoid potential toxins and overly rich things that might give your dog the runs, stick to a small list of tried and tested treats that agree with your dog.
Chunks of ripe pumpkin, broccoli, banana, strawberries and pears are all fine for dogs, but remember that some fruit and veg is toxic to dogs. Never feed onion, avocado, grapes, raisins, or nuts of any type, as these are all potentially toxic.
Chicken is a great treat, as there are so many different ways to prepare it, it is highly unlikely to trigger allergies, and most dogs very much enjoy it. The simplest way to prepare chicken for your dog is to skin a plain chicken breast and then boil it in plain water or roast it in the oven, before cooling and chopping it into squares that you can keep in the fridge. Never add salt or anything else to the chicken, and do not fry it. Remember to remove all bones before offering chicken products to you dog.
You can also cook your chicken and they dry it out in a warm oven for a couple of hours, to make it less messy and more convenient to carry with you on walks.
Mix up a simple stock or gravy using stock cubes that have no added salt, allow it to cool, and then decant the liquid into an ice cube tray. Freeze the tray, and then use the individual cubes of frozen stock as a special treat to help to keep your dog cool during the hotter months of the summer.