With Much Treats Comes Much Responsibility: Giving Treats at the Right Time, for the Right Reasons | Times | Bow & Wow

With Much Treats Comes Much Responsibility: Giving Treats at the Right Time, for the Right Reasons

Treats come in all shapes, sizes, flavors and even functions. Most pet parents give treats as an expression of love for their furbabies, but there’s actually more to giving treats than just that. Treats can be a critical component in training, rewarding good behavior, nurturing the bond between you and your pet and some can even double as supplements!

While treats can be an enjoyable addition to your pet’s diet, too many treats can be unhealthy. Keep in mind that treats should make up no more than around 10% of your pet’s total caloric intake. Too many treats can lead to obesity, diabetes and can make your pet nutritionally unbalanced. Here are some tips for giving treats to your furbabies, the responsible way:

 

1. Use treats to reinforce a calm, submissive state

Never give treats to an excited pet as it will reinforce that kind of behavior. Wait for your pet to calm down and pause in quiet anticipation. At that precise moment of calm, give her the treat.

 

2. Give treats in between meals

In between meals is the ideal time to give treats. If you are using treats as a training tool, your treat won’t work as well right after your pet has had a full meal. Make sure your treat giving occurs in between meals and not immediately before or after a meal.

 

3. Don’t give ‘just because’ treats often

If your pet is getting treats at random, when you ask them to work for a treat (sit, come, shake), they will have no reason to do so. Why would they work for it when they can get it for free later? It’s okay to give ‘just because’ treats once in a while, but we shouldn’t do it often as the treat loses value as a reward. The more training the dog is undergoing, the fewer “just because” treats they should get.

 

4. Choose high quality, healthy treats to get them motivated.

Of course, their health is our main concern and we should ensure that the treat we’re giving is something that is good for them. Look at the ingredients list. If the ingredients include things you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce, it might not be the best treat for your pet.

 

Remember, treats are a form of affection. They need to be given at the right time and for the right reasons. All pets enjoy treats, but our responsibility as pet parents is to make sure that we’re giving them healthy treats, and in moderation.

 

Sources: Petmeds, Caesar Millan, Jenna Mcdonald, Pet food institute

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