The Skinny on Dog Treats
16 April, 2013

Our dogs love to eat!  So, what better way to show our dogs love than to give them healthy dog treats.  Of course we don’t want to spoil our dogs too much or overfeed them.   However, dog treats are a great way to reward our dogs for good behavior and for following our training tips.

Below are some tips on the how, when and why to use dog treats.

Use dog treats when your dog is calm

Use treats to reward your dog’s good behavior only when he or she is calm. Never use dog treats to reward an excited, over-stimulated pup.   You should let your dog smell the treat first, but hold it away and wait.  Your dog might jump on you because he or she is excited. If this happens, move back and then wait.


After a while, your dog will figure out what he or she needs to do to get the treat.  Your dog will wait patiently and look up at you in anticipation.  When your dog is calm, then give her or him the treat.  He will then know that he or she is not only being rewarded for good behavior, but also for being calm while waiting for the reward.

It’s best to give your dog treats in between meals

In between meals is the best time to give treats. Choose a treat that your dog will enjoy. If you are using treats as a training tool, your treat won’t work as well right after your dog has had a full meal. Make sure you give your dog treats in between meals and not immediately before or after a meal.  He needs to be a little hungry for the treat to be effective.

What ingredients to look for in dog treats

When choosing a dog treat, make sure it’s something your dog will like and something that’s appropriate to give a dog. When buying treats (and food) for dogs, it’s good to follow the same common-sense rules you’d use when shopping for yourself. Look at the ingredients list.   Make sure that there is at least a little protein, carbohydrates and not too many fillers; the fewer ingredients the better.

As most dog owners know, there is a list of human food that isn’t great for our dogs.  Meat scraps always work well for our pups but stay away from chocolate.  And, don’t give your dog anything rich or filled with butter as they have more sensitive stomachs than we do. There are many things that we eat that dogs are allergic to or literally can’t stomach.

Your Veterinarian can give you some good recommendations

Your veterinarian is always the best person to get advice and recommendations on what treat or food works best for your dog.   Your dog’s nutritional needs will vary based on age, breed, and other factors.  If your vet isn’t available, try your local pet specialty store. They can be very helpful in determining a great, nutritional treat for your pet.

Be consistent when you give your dog treats

Remember, dog treats are a form of affection. They need to be given at the right time and for the right reasons. You can actually confuse your dog if you’re not consistent in how and when you give your dog treats.   They are only effective when given the same time and/or for the right reason. 

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