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Top 5 Healthy Dog Treats
At the age of three Rusty, a German Shepherd mix who had been abandoned by his first owners, joined my husband and I in our family. At the humane society we adopted him from Rusty got some basic training but as he got used to us we of course looked to enhance and further that training. Luckily he is a very smart dog and he learned quickly!
As every good trainer will attest to, tasty treats are an excellent way to ensure a dog stays interested in the lessons he's learning. And I really wanted to ensure that Rusty would spend his whole life learning - not only would it make him more fun to live with, but it would help his mind stay sharp as he got older thus enhancing his quality of life. So shortly after adopting Rusty, I realized I had better find some tasty (but healthy!!) treats to use to motivate him in our training.
Mine and Rusty's Top 5 Healthy Dog Treats
1. Wet Noses Little StarsOrganic Dog Training Treats
2. Zuke's Mini Naturals
3. Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Dog Training Treats
4. Castor & Pollux Organix Organic Dog Cookies
5. Zukes Hip Action Natural Dog Treats
#1 Wet Noses Little StarsOrganic Dog Training Treats
What first drew me to these treats is their small size - perfect for a long training session, or many training sessions in one day, without adding to many extra calories to Rusty's diet! Even better, they're organic, made in the USA, contain no chemicals, no preservatives, no wheat, corn or soy. We've tried three different flavors: cheddar cheese, peanut butter, and sweet potato and although Rusty enjoyed all three, cheddar cheese is his favorite so that's the one I continue to buy. These are especially nice for taking on walks (and who doesn't need high value rewards for teaching good on leash behavior!) as they have a nice cookie-like texture, not too soft - which means no crumbling in my pockets.
#2 Zuke's Mini Naturals
Just like #1, I love the small size of these treats (each treat has only 3 calories)! They have a great soft texture, which Rusty loves They're made in the USA, without any artificial colors/flavors, and no wheat, soy or corn. And they even have the added benefit of providing antioxidants - great for dogs' brains! There are many flavors to choose from (salmon, chicken, peanut butter, pork, duck, wild rabbit). The only one we've tried is the salmon, because salmon is Rusty's all time favorite flavor for anything - but I would imagine the other flavors are tasty too.
What's the most important factor to you when choosing treats for your dog?
#3 Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Dog Training Treats
Another wonderful small sized treat with a low caloric content. Rusty loves to learn (like most dogs!) so the smallest treats truly are our favorites; that way he can earn lots of rewards every day without the risk of packing on excess pounds. These treats are full of healthy and high quality-ingredaints to provide omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (very valuable to maintaining healthy skin and coats, and even more important, healthy cognitive and brain functions). These treats also come in a variety of flavors (salmon, beef, turkey and chicken), though as mentioned previously Rusty's favorite flavor is salmon, so that's the flavor we stick to with this brand as well.
#4 Castor & Pollux Organix Organic Dog Cookies
Wonderful tasting (according to Rusty) and wonderfully healthy dog cookies. These are made in the USA, featuring 95% organic ingredients and contain no soy, corn or wheat. Even with their slightly larger size, these still have only 8 calories each. They're easy to break, though of course breaking them means crumbs, so I tend to just give them to Rusty whole, which means I don't use them as often as our smaller treats, but they're good to have at home for a bigger reward.
#5 Zukes Hip Action Natural Dog Treats
This is the only one on my list that hasn't been taste tested by Rusty - but it was taste tested by another of my canine family members, Charlie, a big-hearted golden retriever my parents adopted back when I was a teenager, who lived a long full life but has since passed away. Later in his life Charlie developed arthritis, and the number one selling point on these treats was the glucosamine and chondroitin, for his joint and hip health. The fact that they're made in the USA, with other essential vitamins and minerals, and with no artificial colors or flavors and no wheat, soy or corn was of course of importance too. And then of course, the fact that Charlie loved them! Hopefully Rusty will stay arthritis free and never need the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin, but if he does I will definitely start stocking up on these treats again.