The 23rd of February is Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day and although no one knows who created this holiday, we can bet your dogs can’t wait to enjoy a tasty treat!
Treats come in all shapes, sizes and styles just like our dogs do, so the treats you give your dog should match their age, size and health. By testing a variety of treats you can figure out what is best for them and what makes their tails wag!
In this article we will discuss the timeline of dog biscuits, benefits of treats, safe and toxic treats and how to give your dog treats.
Timeline of dog biscuits
Benefits of treats
- Training: Treats are one of the best ways to enforce positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement involves training your dog and rewarding them with something they like, such as treats. By rewarding them each time they carry out the desired behaviour they will be more likely to behave this way again and after a while treats won’t always be needed and you can start to use other real-life rewards such as play, attention and freedom to explore.
- Dental health: Treats can benefit your dog’s dental health by reducing plaque, preventing tartar, massaging their gums and stopping bad breath. There are plenty of specialised treats which help with dental health such as dental chews, bully sticks and biscuits. Although dental treats are easy and convenient, it’s important for you to continue with regular checks and cleaning of your dog’s teeth and gums. Read our blog Pet Dental Health Month for our 6 tips to help prevent dental problems and keep your pets’ mouth clean and healthy.
- Physical and mental stimulation: Offering treats during training and offering them in different forms is an excellent way to mentally and physically stimulate your dog. Treats and stimulation go hand in hand to keep your dog’s busy and prevent them from carrying out destructive behaviours. Some examples of how you could offer your dog treats include, snuffle mats, puzzle toys and scatter feeding.
- Overall health: Most treats, especially natural treats are extremely beneficial to the overall health of our dogs. They can aid better digestion, aid joints and bones, help your dog maintain a healthy weight and improve overall appearance and health. Ensure to not overfeed your dogs with treats and remember to keep them to 10% of their daily intake.
How to give your dog treats:
Treats are exciting things for our dogs and no surprise they get over-excited when they hear the rustling of the treat bag or smell a tasty treat. However, it is not a good idea to give your dog a treat when they are acting over excited as they will begin to associate excitement with rewards. Treats are best given when your dog is being well behaved and calm, here are a few training tips to help you ensure your pooch stays calm when you give them treats:
- The best way to hold treats whilst giving them to your dog, is by either holding them between your fingers and thumb or having them placed flat on your hand. This should generally prevent your dog from snatching them from you and make them take treats nicely.
- If your dog is acting over excited whilst you’re giving them treats use both commands and your body language to show them that you disapprove of their behave. Once they have calmed down then you can give them their treat.
- If your dog tries to snatch the treat from you or snap at you, hold the treat in a closed fist and only release it when they lick or try to take the treat gently, keep doing this until your dog learns that the only way, they will receive treats is by being calm and taking treats nicely.
Safe and toxic treats:
As we mentioned before they are many shapes, sizes and styles of dog treats but not all of them are safe for our dogs to consume. Toxic treats can cause serious issues such as vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and organ failure. If you think your pet has ingested something toxic then ensure you contact your vet for help and advice. The table below shows a few examples of safe treats you can give to your dog and a few that are toxic and should be avoided:
|Commercial – Biscuits, chews and freeze dried||Onion|
|Eggs||Grapes and raisins|
|Fish – salmon, tuna and cod||Avocado|
|Meat – pork, turkey and chicken||Garlic|
|Vegetables – carrots and broccoli||Chives|
We hope your dog’s enjoy Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day and ensure to join in by either buying your pooches favourite treats or by finding them a dog friendly recipe online and making them yourself!