Admit it—you can’t resist your cat when she makes that adorable face asking for more treats. What about those puppy eyes your dog makes when he wants more of that lovely treat? It’s impossible to say no to!
But before you go ahead and give another pet treat, you might want to ask yourself some of the most important, deal-breaker questions. Giving pet treats is one of the smarter methods of house training dogs and cats, but make sure you answer these 5 important questions first.
Question # 1: "Do these pet treats have the right ingredients?”
Just because your pet’s everyday diet is balanced doesn’t mean that you’re completely justified in giving your pet unhealthy treats. You don’t want your pet associating treats with unhealthy food!
The solution is simple: check the label! Thankfully, most pet treats have an ingredient list so you can easily find out if it’s too high in sodium or salt. You can’t go wrong with organic pet treats—we’re sure your vet will be more than happy to provide you with a list.
Pet Treat Tip: If your pet pees way too often, that means the treat has way too much salt in it!
Question # 2: “Am I feeding my pet natural or organic treats?”
Natural pet treats, as described by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, refer to ingredients that are made from plant or animal ingredients that did not go through chemically synthetic processes. Organic pet treats, on the other hand, were made from a formula approved by the USDA National Organic Program.
Pet Treat Tip: If all else fails, why don’t you try making homemade pet treats yourself?
Question # 3: "What dangerous pet treats should I watch out for?”
Aside from too much sodium, you also have to look out for treats that have way too much fat for your dog or cat. Some vets would avoid buying treats that weren’t made in the US altogether, because there have been toxicity issues then and again.
Pet Treat Tip: Protect your pet’s kidney! Don’t buy jerky produced outside the US, as this is one of the most commonly reported problems in pet treats.
Question # 4: “How do I give my pet a treat?”
Pet treats are very helpful when you’re training your house training dogs and cats—for rewarding them for a job well done, reinforcing excellent behaviour, helping them get over their fears, training them to learn new tricks.
But don’t overdo it! Large treats should be broken down into smaller pieces to be given to your pet all throughout the session. This will sustain their interest, and keep them from getting too full.
Pet Treat Tip: Giving treats isn’t the only way to reward your pet for a job well done. There are other methods that are just as useful, like giving your pet verbal praise. We’ve also been asked, “Do silent dog whistles work?” Based on our experience, it’s been pretty effective.
Question # 5:"What should I avoid when giving pet treats?”
There’s a couple of things you have to do for your pet training sessions to be truly successful, and it all starts with making sure your treat is a prize that they love in the first place! It has to be healthy, sure, but it also has to taste great! When giving treats, make sure there’s no time lag between the behaviour being rewarded and the treat.
Pet Treat Tip: Why stick to one treat when you can experiment with different kinds? Your pet will surely love having different flavours exploding in their mouth!
Once you ask yourself these questions—and once you’re satisfied with your answers—then it’s time to train your pet and be the best duo that all the other pet lover will envy!