Everyone likes to indulge in a tasty snack at some point in the day—whether they stand on two feet or four! While we’re all guilty of spoiling ourselves at times with an unhealthy treat whose ingredients are hard to pronounce, it’s important to be mindful of what we’re routinely putting into our bodies. The same goes for our four-legged friends.
Store-bought dog treats that are often marketed as being “healthy” and providing “benefits” for your pooch are typically filled with preservatives, high salt content, and contain artificial colours and flavours. Even a seemingly more natural human treat, such as a 1 oz piece of cheddar cheese, can be the human caloric equivalent of feeding a 20 lb dog one and a half hamburgers! While feeding your pooch conventional dog treats or table scraps will probably provoke some drooling, it can also lead to serious health problems in the future, including obesity.
In this blog, we’re listing healthy snacks that will make for satisfied taste buds and tummies for our beloved pups.
When fed in moderation, apples and pears are great drool-inducing snack options for your pooch! Not only are these fruits crunchy and tasty, but a couple slices of each will give your dog a boost of essential vitamins, including A, C and K, and minerals, like potassium and copper. Just make sure to never feed your dog the seeds or cores of these fruits (we don’t want any tummy aches!).
Bananas make for another low-calorie snack that is both yummy and packed with vitamins C and B6, potassium and copper. Apples, pears and bananas are all great sources of fibre, meaning they make for the pawfect snacks to maintain your pup’s healthy weight. Just make sure to only give your pooch a small portion, depending on their size, as these fruits, despite their benefits, are still high in sugar (even natural sugar needs to be monitored!).
Is your pooch in the mood for something a little tangier? Try giving them a couple blueberries, raspberries or slices of strawberries. Berries are chock full of antioxidants, giving a boost to your pup’s immune system and overall health. These three fruits are also full of vitamins and minerals that will keep your dog doing zoomies like they’re a puppy again! Feed these berries fresh or frozen, the latter being a great option during the summer months.
Keep in mind that not all berries will give your pooch the waggies. Make sure you know that the berry you’re treating your pup with isn’t poisonous to them.
Watermelon makes the pawfect snack for a pooch, especially after a big walk or if your dog loves sitting by the radiator all winter. Watermelons are 92 percent water, making them a great source of hydration along with being rich in fibre, potassium, and vitamins C, B6 and A. Be sure to take out the seeds and cut off the rind before feeding your pup this delicious treat that you both can enjoy.
Cucumbers are another healthy, low-calorie treat that will refresh your pup—being made up of about 96 percent water. Safe to eat raw, cucumbers are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and K.
Know how we are supposed to “eat the rainbow” to keep ourselves healthy? The same goes for Fido, so make sure you don’t forget about treating them to some orange snacks! Cooked pumpkin and sweet potato are known for being great sources of beta carotene (which converts into vitamin A), making them optimal for eye, bone, skin and coat health. Your pooch having a tummy ache? These orange superfoods also have smooth digestion benefits. To top it all off, incorporating these autumn favourites in your dog’s diet as a snack or mixed in with their food can also protect them from liver and kidney disease.
Carrots are another orange snack that your pup shouldn’t skip out on. Not only are they high in vitamins like A and K, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium, but when eaten raw, cut up carrots are great natural teeth cleaners!
Fuel Up On Those Greens!
This may come as a surprise to some pawrents, but pups like their greens! Green beans are a favourite snack for many pooches who can eat this nutritious, fibre-filled veggie either raw or cooked (just make sure it’s chopped up for them). Different variations of peas—including snow, sugar snap and English peas—are another tasty green snack that’s been given two toes up by most dogs. Just like with green beans, be sure to opt for either raw or steamed peas that aren’t cooked with any salt or oils.
Not A Fan Of Fruit Or Veg?
Ok, so your pup has been rolling their eyes over all the fruit and veg that we’ve listed in this blog so far. For the pickier pooch, you can’t go wrong with offering them a small portion of peanut butter as a snack. While high in (mostly healthy) fats and calories, giving your pooch a small portion of peanut butter fed through a feeding toy (like a Kong) will have them satisfied and occupied. If treating your pup to some creamy or crunchy peanut butter, just be sure that peanuts are the only ingredient (some store-bought variations contain xylitol—a sugar substitute that’s dangerous for our four-legged friends).
With winter approaching, there’s nothing like warming up the house by doing some baking. It’s even more special when you’re baking a snack that your pooch (and even you!) can enjoy. Try out some of these easy-to-make recipes, like these peanut butter banana biscuits (made out of banana, peanut butter and oats) or these peanut butter sweet potato cookies (again, just three simple ingredients!). You can’t get much healthier and natural than this. Think my pooch will mind if I steal a few?
The 90/10 Rule
Just like for us humans, over-indulging in even the healthiest snacks can become unhealthy. For pups, it is advisable that they follow the “90/10 rule”, which means 90% of their consumed calories comes from their daily complete, balanced diet while 10% comes from treats. Make sure you know how many calories your dog should be consuming, depending on their size, and treat them accordingly. Don’t be fooled if after implementing the 90/10 rule, your Chihuahua starts dressing up like a Great Dane—they’re just trying to get more treats!