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How, when and why to treat your dog

There’s nothing quite like the feeling that comes with seeing the happiness that a special and well-timed treat can bring your dog.

However, when it comes to treats, your dog can sometimes have too much of a good thing. While it can be tempting to use treats to make your dog happy and excited, it’s important to use them wisely.

So how often should you treat your pet? Can treats be healthy? And when and how should you use them? Here’s some advice on how best to treat your four-legged friend:


How often should you treat your pet?

Treats should make up no more than ten percent of your dog’s total dietary intake, as a general rule.

Feeding your dog too many treats can result in nutritional deficiencies as well as unnecessary weight gain.

The best way to give treats to your dog is to measure out their daily allowance and break this into smaller pieces so you can give smaller treats throughout the day.

You can also take away a portion of your pet’s regular meal and offer it as a treat in between meals. For instance, this could include offering one of the Nature’s Gift ready-to-serve meatballs, or some small slices of a chilled roll. However, if you do this, it’s important to ensure your dog is still receiving a consistent and measured daily allowance overall.


What should you give as a treat?

Not all treats are created equal, and some are definitely better options for your four-legged friend than others.

It’s best to avoid feeding your pet table scraps and leftovers from family meals, which can sometimes contain ingredients that dogs can’t tolerate, and have the potential to cause digestive upsets. 

The Nature’s Gift range of Mini Treats are a great alternative. They are nutritous and come in a range of delicious flavours including Chicken, Kangaroo and Liver flavours.

Mini Treats can also be offered daily, and are easy to break up into smaller fragments, meaning you can treat your pet without exceeding their daily allowance.


How should you use treats?

Treats can be a fantastic way to reward dogs, and to enhance the special bond you have with your pooch.

Dogs learn by positive reinforcement, offering a treat after they have displayed correct behaviour will encourage them to repeat that behaviour.

Never give a treat for ‘free’. Instead, give your dog the opportunity to practice their obedience or even perform tricks before offering a treat. This is great mental enrichment for dogs and will strengthen the bond you have with them.

Conversely, it’s also important to ensure you don’t give dogs treats for negative behaviour.

Keep in mind that if you give your dog a treat while begging when you are cooking, you will only be rewarding them for begging. Instead, give them the opportunity to ‘sit’, and then offer the treat for doing that instead.