Walk into a pet shop or supermarket and you'll soon see racks full of treats for your pet. From chewy bones to training snacks, from soft mousses to chewy sweets: you can't see the wood for the trees in the snack world anymore. So how do you know which treat to buy for your dog or cat? To give you a helping hand, we have written a handy guide for you. This month is all about treats for your pet!
Why snacking is good for your pet
As with people, snacks for pets are a delicious treat to snack on between meals. And because it makes your dog or cat so happy, it can sometimes happen that you give too many treats! So it's always important to keep in mind that snacks are a complementary food, i.e. snacks should never replace meals and you should always keep an eye on the calories.
But fortunately, treats aren't just about getting fat. Snacking also has a lot of advantages:
- Treats strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Think of a treat as a kind of gift: that's what makes you happy, isn't it? By giving your pet a treat once in a while, you let him or her know that you care.
- Treats are ideal during training. Your dog or cat will do anything for a delicious treat. That's why treats are ideal to teach him! Make sure your pet does the trick for you, not for the treat 😉.
- Snacking is entertainment! Snacking is not only delicious, it's also a good distraction! It makes your dog totally relaxed by nibbling on a bone. And cats can be entertained for hours by hiding treats in toys.
- Snacking can be healthy. Treats don't always have to be unhealthy. Chewy snacks contribute to healthy dog teeth, for example, and there are also many snacks with healthy ingredients, such as fish oil or omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (such as in our Dentabars).
What to look out for when buying treats
Well, you know why you should buy treats, but what should you pay attention to if you are looking for a responsible snack for your dog or cat?
- Short list of ingredients: the shorter the list of ingredients, the smaller the chance that there are unnecessary ingredients in it. Also, pay attention to ingredients you don't know: chances are these are additives.
- Artificial additives: some snacks contain artificial substances that give the snacks a certain scent or colour. Totally unnecessary, because for a dog it really doesn't matter what colour the snack is. And if the snacks are made with good, natural ingredients, the taste is irresistible anyway!
- Look at the first ingredient in the list: a list of ingredients is built up based on the quantity of the ingredients that it contains. The higher on the list the ingredient is noted, the more of it is contained in the snack. If it's a natural ingredient, you're certainly in the right place 😊.
- Avoid added sugars, salt and a high fat content: just as for people, too much salt, sugar or fat is not good for your pet either. Some snacks contain salt because ingredients such as fish naturally contain salts, but avoid added salts, sugars and fat as much as possible.
What types of treats are there?
Back to the supermarket and the sea of choice you'll find there in the snack section. Now you know what to look out for, but which type of snack suits your pet best? Are you looking for something your dog can gnaw on, or would you like to spoil your cat with something tasty? Snacks, as well as Pets Unlimited's snacks, can actually be divided into three main categories: chewy treats, training treats and pampering treats.
Chewy treats are of course snacks your pet can chew on. Just like humans, dogs and cats can also suffer from dental plaque. You can brush your pet's teeth, but you can also regularly give them a chewy snack. Chew treats are often hard snacks that scrape the plaque off your pet's teeth when your dog or cat chews them. Chewing also helps to keep the gums healthy!
For dogs, of course, you have the well-known bones or pig ears, but there are also many other options. Cowhide is also an ideal chewing ingredient, and the handy thing about cowhide is that you can fold it around a tasty filling. What's more, cowhide doesn't splinter either, something that can happen to bones. So even if your dog isn't very fond of a standard bone, few dogs can resist a tasty chicken filling (the Twisters), or a delicious bar of bacon wrapped around a rawhide stick (the Chewsticks). That's why you'll see that many of our chewy treats are made from cowhide, with just that extra delicious surprise for the taste.
And it's not just dogs that have snacks for their teeth: there are also many cat treats for sale that make a good contribution to healthy teeth. These treats are often harder and a bit bigger, so your cat really has to chew them.
You probably know that your pet loves food and will do anything for it! That's why treats are also an ideal exercise aid, provided you use them in moderation, of course. Fortunately, there are special training treats to prevent your dog or cat from getting over-excited during training. These treats are often a lot smaller and low in fat. Because they are smaller, you can easily take them with you when you train outside! For example, our small Chicken Breast Strips of Sushi contain little fat, but a lot of chicken for a delicious smell and taste. Your dog will do all the tricks for that! And yes, you can even train your cat, although it will probably take more patience (and more treats 😉). Fortunately, our snacks are easy to eat and are packed full of tasty, healthy fish!
Sometimes you just want to spoil your dog or cat, to show that you love him or her. Because you know what they say: love goes through the stomach! For the ultimate pampering moment, you are looking for a larger treat full of flavour, with which your pet will be as sweet. And fortunately, you have a lot of choice in treats that are secretly healthy; two birds with one stone, so to speak. For example, our Salmon Strips are packed full of salmon, so they don't need any artificial aromas, colours or flavourings. And what about the Delicups? Thanks to the large proportion of fish, there are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in this pampering snack!
So snacking doesn't always have to be bad. Many treats contain healthy ingredients or contribute differently to your pet's health. Snacking is also fun and delicious, and ideal to reward your dog or cat after good behaviour or just to pamper them. So pay close attention to the list of ingredients the next time you step into the supermarket and treat your pet to a tasty treat!