No matter how much we humanize our fur babies, simply saying "good boy/girl" or giving them a peck every time they do something right doesn't work for them. Since they're driven by food, treats are the perfect way to let your pets know that they're doing a good job.
That said, treats, in general, aren't as important. But high-value treats are basically everything your pet needs to grow mentally and physically.
High-value treats, made from good quality meat, are excellent reinforcements for rewarding your pet's good behavior. They literally help them learn their name. So, when you say their name, they respond immediately.
That's also why treats are such an integral part of pet training. But it's not uncommon for pet parents to overdo the rewards and end up giving their pets a tonne of health issues.
How can the wrong treats affect my pet's health?
Pet treats aren't regulated by the FDA the same way that human food and drugs are. While they're approved only if the treats are manufactured honestly and under sanitary conditions, manufacturers aren't provided with a list of 'no-no ingredients.' So, it's the pet parents' responsibility to be careful with the ingredients to avoid problems such as shedding and organ damage. The wrong treats can also affect your pet's liver, which can be life-threatening.
Ingredients to avoid in your pet's snacks
Animals are allergic to certain ingredients that can cause minor issues such as stomach infections as well as major conditions like organ failure. Here's what you should avoid:
- No wheat or soy or corn
Since wheat contains gluten, they aren’t safe for dogs. It can induce an allergic reaction. Some gluten products also have melamine - a component of plastic - which can be extremely toxic for your pets.
A by-product is literally a fancy word for remnants or waste. Certainly, it can't be the right element to introduce in your pet's daily diet. By-products should offer your pets all kinds of nutrients derived from the liver, intestines, kidneys, etc. in theory, but manufacturers don't really quality-check them before incorporating them in your pet's treats in reality.
- Saturated oil
Saturated oils can increase blood cholesterol levels in your pets leading to fatal arterial diseases. So, every time you see these words on your pet treat's ingredient list, ditch it because you'll literally be paying companies to send your pet to the vet.
- Artificial food color
If it's not safe for humans, it most probably isn't safe for your furbabies. Artificial food dye is one of the reasons why so many pet parents avoid store-bought treats. Although you canfind better store-bought treats here, you should always steer clear of treats that use artificial food dye.
Most commonly found in peanut butter, treat manufacturers use xylitol as a sweetener, which is mostly safe for humans. But it's quite the opposite for animals. Dogs can't stomach xylitol without it increasing the toxic levels in their bodies.
- Anything you don't recognize
If you're an average customer, you've most definitely seen the words "natural flavors" on your food's ingredients list. But you rarely know what the natural flavors are. Ingredients that you don't recognize are more dangerous than those you do. So, if your pet treat package has an unusually long list of ingredients that you need multiple Google searches to understand, ditch it right away.
What to look for in your pet's treats:
- 100% natural ingredients
The more natural, the better. The general rule of thumb is that you should immediately recognize all the ingredients on the list and they should all be natural.
- Calorie count
A typical pet treat has 12 to 55 calories. Ensure that you don't overfeed them as it can lead to obesity.
- Fresh, not frozen
Although frozen treats are okay for your pet, you must make sure that your treats are made with fresh meat before they're frozen. Otherwise, you're simply feeding your pet doubly frozen and stale food.
- Hardness of the treat
Depending on your pet's dental condition, you should ensure that the treats are comfortable for your pet to chew.
- Limited shelf life
BHT, BHA, and propylene glycol extend the treat's shelf life by up to 25 years. On the other hand, treats with a limited shelf life are made using natural ingredients and are thus, much safer.
All-natural treats to try at home
As production costs grow, so does the price of pet treats. Since it can't always be affordable to buy healthy treats from the stores, you can fashion your own treats at home:
- Peanut butter (only for dogs)
A perfect evening treat, peanut butter can also be used to make a cake for your dogs. But make sure that your pack doesn't contain any xylitol and has only peanuts and salt.
- Banana and apples
These are two fruits that contain relatively less amount of sugar, so they are great for your pet's health. You can also use either of the fruits for an entire training session by chopping them down into small pieces.
- Frozen chicken stock
Unsalted chicken stock/broth is an excellent cheap substitute for expensive treats. All you have to do is make plain chicken stock/broth with chicken bits, pour it into an ice tray, and freeze. Pop and thaw a cube every time you wish to reward your fur-baby for a good job.
- Raw carrots and green beans
Natural is always healthy. Besides, raw carrots and green beans, you can also give steamed broccoli and asparagus as healthy DIY treats.
Healthy treats for pets with anxiety and pain
CBD is not only effective on humans but also on our four-legged friends. So, if you're trying to offer relief to a young or old pet who's suffering from severe anxiety, aggression, separation or abandonment issues, or even chronic pain, JustCBD pet treats are the answer you're looking for.
These treats are infused with high-quality CBD solutions that calm your pets no matter where they are. You can also use them to give your pet a less hassled travel experience and quickly boost their mood. You can also check out our other healthy CBD products and find the best deals for your pet’s nutritional needs.