If you’ve ever watched a dog show - or been in one - then you are familiar with the copious amount of dog treats that go into getting that perfect hair-do, stance, and smile in the ring. In fact, treats are behind many of the amazing things that dogs do. As they say, behind every good dog is a good bag of treats. (Well if they don’t say it, you heard it here first.)
So if you are going to be giving your dog treats for the show ring, the obedience ring, or just because they make your heart melt, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.
Treat Giving Tips
Treats are called treats for a reason!
- They are intended to be an addition to your dog’s normal diet, not a replacement and shouldn’t be given in large quantities.
- If you do plan on giving more treats than usual, make sure to adjust your dog’s daily intake of food accordingly.
- Know when to give the high-value rewards (that normally come with more calories) versus your standard treats.
- Talk with your vet about adjusting your dog’s diet when introducing new foods and treats.
- Choose treats that offer health benefits to your dog, rather than fillers and preservatives - treats don't have to mean "junk food"
How to Choose Treats
Treats can be anything from human food to doggie specific delights and there are many healthy options to choose from. Try a variety to find the ones that really entice your dog and save those for special events! Every show dog handler knows the treats they choose are extremely important to the success of their training!
Functional Dog Treats
Dog handlers love treats with a purpose. These treats are filled with specific vitamins, oils and supplements that can help impact your dogs health over time. These do need to be fed in specific quantities, so they are perfect for saving for after a bath or trim, versus filling up a bait pouch. Learn more about Functional Dog Treats here.
Fresh Breath Dog Treats
If you want your dog to impress the judges when they get up close and personal, a fresh breath treat can go a long way. Look for a treat with parsley and mint for fresh puppy breath.
If you’re in a pinch! Dog Treats
Sometimes you’re headed to an obedience class and realize your treat jar is empty. Some great on the go choices include: string cheese, natural hot dogs, plain chicken, dog-safe fruits and veggies like carrots or apples, peanut butter or plain yogurt. Or check out this list of pantry snacks and give a few a try!
Good for you Dog Treats
If your dog is not getting the activity level needed to balance out the calories in your treats but you still want to support their overall health and beauty with good-for-the-body vitamins, minerals and oils, it is important to choose low fat options, or treats that feature good fats such a coconut oil or flaxseeds.
Calming Dog Treats
Dog shows can be stressful situations - noises, lights, and crowds. Calming treats with lavender and lemon balm help reduce anxiety, allowing dogs to focus and enjoy the experience.
*photo credit: Dobro Golden Retrievers