Giving your dog treats can be an effective source of reward during training when using positive reinforcement techniques and methodologies. With the frequency treats are given during training and to reward positive behaviors, it is important to make sure the treats you are using are healthy.
Many dog treats available on the market contain fillers, such as grains, that have a low nutritional value. In some cases, these grains and other fillers can cause allergic reactions or digestive issues in our pups. These risks can be safely avoided by seeking out grain-free treat options. At PupJoy we specialize in organic treats and feel it is important we stress the issues with non-organic or treats containing fillers.
Fillers represent the ingredients that pet treat manufacturers sometimes add to their products in order to reach certain calorie and energy requirements. Fillers usually include grains, rice, and corn and are considered empty calories because they do not provide our dogs with the nutritional content they need— namely protein. Fillers are an inexpensive way for manufacturers to bulk-up their treats and food options which is why they are so commonly found in our pet food options.
Unfortunately, fillers are associated with a number of health issues in dogs. They can lead to digestive problems and food allergies in dogs with sensitive tracts. Fillers can also make it more difficult for dogs to absorb all the nutrients they require to stay healthy causing nutritional deficiencies. Dog food and treats with fillers can also cause unhealthy weight gain which increases the risk of your pet developing serious health problems.
Taking the time to seek out grain-free dog treats can help assure your dog avoids these problems, including empty calories. Look for dog treats that contain healthy alternatives to grain based fillers such as quinoa. Quinoa provides vital nutrients such as protein and magnesium that are an important part of a healthy dog’s diet.
It is important to make sure that the vast majority of your dog’s nutrition is coming from their food— in balanced, fresh meals— as opposed to in treats (just like us humans) and focusing on meals over snacks. Treats are fabulous for training and occasional rewards, but make sure you choose healthy, organic treats so you can reward your dog with health and nutrition.