Doggy Nutrition Treats Can Be Tricky

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Doggy Nutrition Treats Can Be Tricky

by Michael Russell

There is no denying that treats are a positive and effective behavioral training tool. Furthermore, many people like to feel that they are not wasting their own food if they give the leftovers to their dog, or they will add leftovers to the dog's meal to improve the flavor for the dog. However, too many treats or the wrong kind of leftovers can be bad for the dog's health and even lead to dangerous disease conditions or early death.

Dog trainers many times like to use treats, which are easy to pocket, non-greasy or dry and treats that they can also eat. This has led to some unusual foods being used for dog treats, including such things as raisins or dry bits of hard cheese, or popcorn, for example. Some of these foods can be health hazards to the dog.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center lists raisins as toxic to dogs. Hard Cheese is healthy, but can lead to constipation of the dog if over fed and furthermore, greatly increases the caloric intake and popcorn offers no caloric increase to the dog but if salted the sodium can be dangerous. Leftovers such as chicken or any cooked meat that is still on the bone can cause splintered bone punctures to the digestive tract and any cooked foods which contain onion, a common ingredient in most stews and casserole type dishes, is also dangerous for the dog to ingest. Onion is a food, which should be avoided raw or cooked. Many vegetables are safe for the dog when raw but if cooked can lead to digestive upsets or even vomiting.

It is important that the trainer recognize that overfeeding can lead to obesity in the dog and that when you give an inordinate amount of treats as a training tool you can also be adding to the caloric intake of the dog. Obesity in the dog is a huge health problem for modern dogs and can contribute to early death, immune deficiency disorders, kidney or liver failure and diabetes.

The best way to avoid such problems is to recognize that dogs should be fed dog foods and should be treated with dog treats. It is possible to make healthy dog treats at home and many safe and healthy recipes can be found just by looking them up on the internet. Dog treats abound in all the pet stores too. To avoid increasing your dog's caloric intake, all that needs to be done is to measure out the amount of food that your dog can have in a day and allot some of the portion to be set aside and given to him as a treat. If your dog does not eat "plain food" as a treat and is not motivated by a treat, which is his regular dog food, then commercial dog treats can be given as a substitute for as much as one third of the regular dog food your dog eats daily. If you do this, you are avoiding the introduction of unusual or possibly toxic foods into the dog's system and are also avoiding over feeding.

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