by Molly Bradley
Learn what foods and treats leave your dog both butt-wagging happy and feeling good inside, too.
If you have a dog, you probably love to treat them well — which means, naturally, giving them treats. You know who loves that even more? Your dog.
But outside regular dry-food meals, feeding your dog isn’t always straightforward. A lot of biscuit brands out there add a lot of heft in the calorie department, so your dog winds up taking in way more than is ideal for his diet. Or, despite the fact that you’ve been feeding your dog pieces of your food you’re preparing or your leftovers, you suddenly read that even things as innocuous as grapes, raisins, and all kinds of seeds and nuts are toxic for her. Not to mention that the oldest dog treat — a plain old bone — is actually not necessarily good for your dog, since if she accidentally swallows any pieces, it could cause intestinal problems.
So how should you be treating your dog? Certain natural foods are a safe bet: try giving your dog small pieces of banana, apple, berries, or watermelon; or on the veggie side, try small amounts of broccoli, brussel sprouts, celery, cucumber, and green beans. You can also see if they like cooked potato or sweet potato. Steer clear of cherries, avocado, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and tomatoes.
In terms of store-bought dog treats, first, opt for ones that aren’t rock-hard: you don’t want treats to put any stress on your dog’s teeth. Your dog may also have some additional food sensitivities particular to him, so you’ll want to take a close look at the ingredients listed on the packaging.
Even if your dog doesn’t have specific allergies or sensitivities, it’s always best to feed him treats that are as neutral and easy on the belly as possible. Portland Pet Food Company, a Portland-based foodmaker, is great example: it uses spent grains from beer production in breweries around Portland to simultaneously reduce waste and feed real food to dogs. (And in case you’re skeptical, there’s no alcohol involved in the treats themselves!) Their biscuits contain zero preservatives, GMOs, artificial coloring, or any other artificial ingredients that you’d steer clear of in your own food.
On top of the variety of flavors they offer — their original flavor, bacon, and pumpkin — they make grain- and gluten-free treats using gluten-free flour, garbanzo flour, and eggs.
There are a ton of wonderful products out there that let you feed real, nutritious, and safe foods to your dogs. If you’re ever in doubt, ask your vet for recommendations. In the meantime, please give your dog a scratch behind the ears for us. (We hear he’s been a very good boy.)