Our dogs' favourite word. The almost universal sound that can induce the most Instagrammable head tilts and that gets almost all bums on floors in a split second, as something indubitably delicious is sure to follow.
The word "treat" in itself has a negative, indulgent connotation; something saved for a special occasion, something naughty or unhealthy that shouldn't make too regular an occurence. Or should it?
Put plainly, when your treats are artificial, full of flavourings, colourings, salts, sugars, fats and unnatural elements, they aren't giving your dog much goodness. There are a vast range of natural, air dried and "clean" treats available to include in your dog's diet, to enrich and enhance their meals while still bringing benefit in each bite.
Despite their makeup, treats should still only constitute up to 10% of their daily food, and should be considered and weighed up as part of their daily calorific intake.
Your dog's oral hygiene can reap great rewards from hard and crunchy chews, as the abrasion and repeated crunching against their teeth can help to remove built up dirt and plaque on and between teeth when maintained on a regular basis. As well as maintaining external health like this, treats can help boost the nutritional content of their daily food. Fishy treats rich in Omegas and immunoboosting vitamins, hairy treats to clean the intestinal tract as they pass through and unusual, novel proteins that your dog doesn't usually consume like goat, camel and buffalo all enhance the variety your dog is exposed to and can provide some essential nutrient boosters day by day.
The simple act of chewing is an instinctive and evolutionary behaviour, employed not only for survival and digestion, but also recreation and enjoyment as well as stress busting and relaxation. Chewing has been shown to lower their heart rates, to provide a focus for anxious or overstimulated dogs and to re-centre their energy on a productive task.
When "air dried", the moisture is removed in a slow and steady process to preserve the meat and as much of the fresh goodness as possible. Many natural treats are single protein as they are often made from entire parts (ie. chicken foot, bully pizzle, cow ear) which comes in incredibly useful for dogs with sensitivities and allergies, allowing parents to eliminate irritants from their diet.