Whether you’re teaching your canine companion the basics of ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ or you just want to remind them how much you love them, dog treats are an important – some would say indispensable – part of dog ownership. As long as they don’t form the bulk of your dog’s diet, treats are a great way to show them who’s boss … and keep their tail wagging for more.
Most berries are safe and healthy
If you’re getting sick of the same old dog treats, then why don’t you try berries? Most berries – including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries – are perfectly safe for your dog to eat.
The added bonus is that they’re extremely good for your dog, too. Berries give your dog a dose of vitamin C, antioxidants and fibre which, just like for humans, may help to keep them happy and healthy. Plus, they are low in calories and sugar – so they are a real good-for-pooch treat.
Avoid any fruit with pips in them; and you’ll probably find that dogs will naturally avoid some more tart or tangy berries.
If your dog has never tried anything but dog food before, then start slow by giving them a couple of berries. Watch out for any signs of an upset stomach or digestive issues (you’d notice this when you next scoop up their poop), or for any signs of allergy or other issue (look out for unusual behaviours like intense itching). If anything seems out of character, call your vet.
Once you know your dog can happily handle a handful of berries, then you’ve got the perfect healthy treat to help with training.
Your berry bushes may suffer
The only downside to feeding berries to your dog? If you’re growing your own strawberries or blueberries, then you might find that the berries get eaten straight off the plant! Dogs are extremely good at sniffing out a delicious berry – so you’ll either need to get stuck into some serious training or fence off your berry plants.
Just remember, treats should only make up a small portion of your dog’s diet. Pet nutrititionists recommend that treats make up no more than 10 per cent of their total calories each day – the rest should come from a balanced dog food.