The following is an excerpt from Petfinder.com’s The Adopted Dog Bible
Dog treats come in many varieties — from all-natural snacks made from fresh, wholesome ingredients to discount bulk items you purchase by the scoop in many pet supply stores. Below is a rundown:
- Biscuits and Cookies. There are more types and flavors of biscuits and cookies in a typical pet food aisle than you can shake a stick at. Some are high in fat, and thus, high in calories. Because they are usually grain-or flour-based, biscuits and cookies can be potential allergens. In addition, they can cause plaque and tartar build- up.
- Chews. Chewy treats come in a variety of sizes and flavors. As the treat is chewed, it massages your dog’s gums and helps reduce plaque and tarter build- up.
- Nylabones.Made from nylon, plastic polymer, or rubber, Nylabones are exceptionally strong, completely digestible, and made for the enthusiastic chewer. A word of caution, however: If your dog is a particularly aggressive chewer, he may bite off small pieces of the bone, which can pose a choking hazard. The same goes for any bones that are too small (puppy- sized) for your dog: He may inadvertently swallow the bone, which could become lodged in his throat.The Nylabone website gives helpful hints for choosing the right type and size of bone for your dog.
- Pig ears.Pig ears, which are made from real, dried pig ears, have a high fat content and can lead to obesity if given in high quantities. They can also cause stomach upset in some dogs.Pig ears can also be a source of salmonella bacteria, so be sure you purchase the ears from only reputable companies. Imitation pig ears are available at most pet supply stores, and these are lower in calories and more easily digestible.
- Rawhide bones.All rawhide bones are not created equal. Check to make sure that the bones you purchase have been manufactured in accordance with the highest USDA specifications (bones made in other countries are often inferior). Consider size, shape, hardness, and flavor, and choose a bone that matches your dog’s chewing rate and habits (some dogs won’t touch a bone that is too large, but will chew for hours on a smaller bone).A dog who chews for short periods of time with a soft bite may find rawhide chips, sticks, or twists more enjoyable. Rawhide bones are low in calories and may prevent destructive chewing.As with chews, pig ears, and Nylabones, rawhide bones should only be given to your dog when you can supervise him to avoid possible choking. Once the treat is small enough that he could swallow it, take it away from him and throw it out.
- Ready-Made Treats For something a little healthier, give your dog fresh, ready-made treats such as small bites of meat, chunks of cheese, cantaloupe balls, celery sticks with peanut butter, apple slices, or carrots. These treats are not only delicious, but healthy, too!
Just like people, dogs need variety in the foods they eat, so alternate the type of treats you offer.