Here’s an obvious statement: Dogs love treats! They’ll do just about anything for a tasty bite. That’s exactly why they come in handy during command/trick training sessions and the oh-so-fun housebreaking phase. While there are a lot of treats on the market that are sure to make your dog’s tail wag, I recommend swapping many commercial snacks for healthier, homemade options.
Check out the following infographic to see five easy dog treat swaps that will help clean up your pup’s diet. Then, make sure to keep scrolling down to find out why you should trade the treat options on the left for the ones on the right!
Dog Treat Swaps
Commercial Jerky vs. Homemade Jerky
Dogs go nuts for jerky and those fake bacon strips. But with ingredients like sugar, dyes, and questionable preservatives topping the ingredient list on commercial options, it’s safer to just make your own. I love making homemade chicken, beef, and salmon jerky for my two canine kids. The best part? I only use one ingredient! Watch the video below to see how easy it is to whip up a batch of homemade chicken jerky. You can use this same dehydrating method with a lean beef and fresh salmon, however, cook times will vary!
Milk Bones vs. Homemade Biscuits
If you’ve ever read the ingredient label on the back of the Milk Bones box then it may cause your eyebrows to raise. One notable ingredient is BHA. Butylated-hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a toxic preservative that’s used to extend the shelf life of many dog foods and treats. It works by preventing fats and oils from spoiling. The problem is The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program have both linked BHA to cancer. The preservative consistently produces tumors in laboratory animals. While The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits BHA in dog foods, and there is some controversy surrounding the ingredient, ask yourself: Why would someone even want to gamble with their dog’s health? When in doubt, leave it out of your pup’s diet!
Also, I personally feed my dogs a wheat-free diet and Milk Bones do contain wheat. Instead, you can easily make your own biscuits. I have a bunch of recipes right here on the Proud Dog Mom website, but here is one of my favorites:
Snausages vs. Freeze Dried Meats
Listed on the Snausages In a Blanket ingredient list, you will find wheat flour, corn syrup, various dyes, BHA, and Propylene Glycol. These are all questionable ingredients that your pooch is better off avoiding. To still let your dog enjoy a beef flavor, try an all-natural freeze dried beef. When something is freeze-dried, it is first flash frozen at an ultra-low temperature. Then the moisture is removed by a vacuum process. Through this process, the food is naturally preserved—so there’s no need for controversial chemicals. Another benefit of freeze-dried meats is that they hold most of their nutrients. My dogs have tried the iHeartDog’s freeze-dried meats and loved them!
Dog Dental Sticks vs. Carrots
Not all dog dental sticks are bad. But if you don’t have time to inspect ingredient labels then a great alternative is carrots or another crunchy, dog-approved vegetable! Tossing a carrot to your pup will give him something crunchy to occupy his time with, and it will nourish his belly with various key vitamins and minerals (double bonus)!
Rawhide Bones vs. Stuffed & Frozen Classic Kong
Growing up, my dogs loved to slobber and chew on rawhides, and we never even thought to question whether they were healthy for our pups or not. We just assumed they were. But you know what they say about assuming. Today we know that rawhides are covered in chemicals, pose a choking risk, and are linked to intestinal blockages. My family found that last one out the hard way when, about a decade ago, my mom’s toy Poodle, experienced intestinal bleeding from rawhides. Thankfully, little Tina survived and is still with us today, but there are a lot of dogs out there who aren’t so lucky.
Instead of rawhide bones, some sources will recommend antlers. While it’s a better option than rawhides, aggressive chewers have been known to break their teeth on antlers.
Bully sticks and raw marrow bones are two other options that are advertised as all-natural and safe for dogs. But I personally prefer to play it extremely safe and freeze a little all-natural peanut butter/banana mixture in a classic Kong—keeps my dogs busy for a long time!
What are some of your favorite commercial snack swaps? Let us know in the comment section below!