There are several reasons why people give treats to their dogs. Dog treats are useful to help you bond with your pet and show it some love, and to reinforce good behavior or reward results, especially while training. You can also use dog treats when you just want your pet to sit still for a while and you need to keep it busy or when your pet is a hungry little fella and you just want to appease it in between meals without actually overfeeding it.
It’s important to note that dog treats are not substitutes for actual food. In fact, treats should only make up about 10% of your dog’s diet and if you want the idea of treats to be exciting and rewarding for your pet, you probably shouldn’t give it treats too often. And when you do, they should be given in little quantities and in bits.
Just like humans, dogs have preferences when it comes to treats and certain treats would only be truly appreciated in certain instances. For instance, while trying to keep your dog entertained and busy for a while, giving soft and chewy treats which it can finish up in no time would not be a smart idea. Instead, you should give a somewhat tough and chewy or bone-like treat which would keep it busy for a while.
Dog Treats Buying Guide
Before moving on to the most common types of dog treats in India, here are a few things to note before buying treats for your pet.
Go For Natural Ingredients
Look for brands with high-quality and natural ingredients; some brands use these terms just as marketing campaigns so you should be careful to pick those that are actually made of natural ingredients.
Favor Natural Sweeteners
Look for brands that favor natural sweeteners over artificial ones such as honey, molasses, etc.
Avoid Artificial Treats
Avoid brands that use any artificial additives in the form of food dyes, preservatives, humectants, etc. Avoid brands that have a long list of ingredients; this might mean that most of them are artificial. Brands that list only a few ingredients and go straight to highlighting their natural ingredients would be your best bet.
Check Health Status
Check the ingredients for anything your pet might be allergic to or anything that might be potentially harmful. Consider your reason for getting the treat, this would help you decide what type you should get.
Consider the health status and age of your pet. Overweight pets should not be given high calorie and high fat treats, and puppies should not be given treats that are too tough. In fact, some treats have the target ages labeled on their packaging. Make sure to get age-appropriate treats.
Types of Dog Treats in India
Although other types of dog treats exist, these are the most common and probably the most accessible types of dog treats used in India.
Cookies, Biscuits and Snacks
These dog treats are collectively known as Crunchy Treats. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors. Some of the flavors commonly found in crunchy treats include chicken, peanut butter, and mutton.
Generally, they contain about 10-12% moisture and should be accompanied by water to aid digestion. Crunchy treats are usually harder for dogs to break down so they might not be good when trying to offer quick rewards for good work done, especially during training.
As a way to show love and bond with your pet though, crunchy treats are great options. This is because your pet would take longer to consume it and this would give you enough time to play around and cuddle. They are very likely to make a mess of it though so you should be ready to deal with crumbs and the like but their crunchy nature also makes these treats a good choice to help get rid of plaque build up, thus they can be used as part of your dog’s dental care routine.
Try not to give too much of it to your pet to avoid over-feeding and excess sugar intake. Make an assessment of its size and give this treat accordingly. Be careful to select a high-quality brand. Some of the most popular brands of crunchy dog treats in India are Royal Canin, Himalaya, Choostix, Meat Up, and Pedigree. You can purchase them on Amazon, partner sites, or even at a local mall or dog store. Before picking any of these brands, ensure that they contain the right ingredients, and are suitable for your pet; look out for chemical ingredients and ingredients that might be harmful to your pet.
Alternatively, you can locate a local bakery that makes dog treats. These are becoming more common and certain cities in India have special dog bakeries that manufacture high quality treats made with natural and fresh ingredients.
Crunchy treats are affordable, very accessible, and the variety of crunchy treats available ensures that you have a lot of options to pick from and that your pet-dog never gets bored.
Rawhide is the untanned dressing skin or hides of animals such as cattle or horses. They are hard and make for good slow-eating treats for special occasions. Rawhide which is in the same category as pig ears is a pretty popular dog treat option and might seem like a good idea because they seem natural and healthy. In reality, they pose a lot of health hazards. The major difference between rawhide and pig ears is that pig ears are more digestible.
Rawhide is mostly indigestible and can very easily choke your dog. Their indigestible nature frequently causes gastrointestinal issues among other health complications. They are so often treated with lots of chemical additives which make them a very unhealthy choice for your pet. Some times, rawhides even contain harmful microorganisms which could potentially result in complications such as diarrhea, bloody stools, vomiting, and so many other diseases.
You should also avoid rawhide as a dog treat if your pet is overweight, old, prone to excess weight gain, or if it has a rather tender stomach as they contain generous amounts of calories and fats.
However, certain kinds of rawhide made specially by vets have higher digestibility and could be good for the teeth. If you must give rawhide to your pet, ask your vet for directions to get this healthier type. Even with this, your pet should only be given rawhide under supervision to avoid choking accidents.
As an alternative to rawhide, you could introduce chew sticks to their diet. Just be sure that it is not excessively hard or too large for your pet. Again, this is to avoid choking accidents or chipped teeth.
Bones are great sources of calcium which is very important in the development of strong bones and teeth. For a really long time, bones were considered to be the best dog treat but with an advancement in knowledge, it’s been discovered that bones are not a good choice of dog treats for your pet.
Bones have been known to cause broken or chipped teeth, as well as choking. They also cause gastrointestinal complications such as perforation or blockage. Of all the types of bones, those from poultry birds, the antlers of deer, and cooked bones are the most dangerous.
A good alternative is bone-like treats which are really made of corn-starch or chewy sticks. You could also opt for digestible and less hazardous bone alternatives. Although the effectiveness of this method is not really known, some of these chewy sticks and bone-like treats are shaped like bones to make them more appealing to dogs. You should be careful about how often your dog consumes these long-lasting chews as they usually contain a lot of calories.
To provide a good source of calcium for your pet, you should ensure to give it food that contains all the nutrients it needs which includes vitamins and minerals. Treats should not be used as a way to supplement your dog’s diet; health supplements exist for that purpose.
Although these are the most popular kinds of dog treats in India, other types exist. These include soft and chewy treats, freeze-dried and jerky treats, long-lasting chews and bone-like treats, other animal parts (pig ears and hooves), human food (fruits such as apples, vegetables like carrot, and lean meat). While giving human food as treats, you must make sure that they do not contain ingredients that might be harmful to your dog. Some of these ingredients include grapes, onions, chocolate, hot dog, cheese, and even garlic which should only be given in minuscule amounts and after speaking to a vet.
Some dog owners also make their dog treats themselves at home. Home-made treats, though time-consuming, are great because you have control over the sort of ingredients contained in the treats given to your pet.
Whatever type of treat you decide to give your pet, remember to keep it simple and restrict it to about 10% of its diet. Keeping your dog truly happy doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can keep a happy dog without breaking the bank. One of the best treats you’d ever give to your dog is quality time and attention. Have time to play around the yard, schedule some cuddle time, give reassuring touches; these would ensure that your dog stays happy and loved up constantly.