Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easy Grocery Store Dog Treats

Life has gotten busy! With spring here and plants to go in the ground, lawns to mow and general life I haven't made Max treats in a while. With so many pet food and pet treat recalls lately, it's tempting to go "off the grid" and make everything yourself. There are plenty of people who do. I, however, am kinda lazy sometimes and so I've compiled a list of my go-to treats when I just don't feel like doing a full effort.

You can see a full list of Max's foods here but every dog is different. Find out what makes your dog beg and use it to your advantage. If you're in doubt talk to your vet. This is by no means comprehensive but a few ideas to get you started.

If you decide to make your dogs treats (make is a very loose term here) don't be afraid to try different foods. Be aware though, there are a few foods you should NEVER feed. These include:
  • Grapes or Raisins (Can cause kidney failure)
  • Onions/Shallots/Leeks/Chives/ Large Amounts of Garlic (Can cause Anemia)
  • Chocolate (Theobromine can cause tremors and cardiac arrest)
  • Macadamia Nuts (vomiting, ataxia, weakness, hyperthermia, and depression)
  • Bread Dough (swelling from the yeast fermentation)
So what can you feed your dog? It's a long list but here are a few ideas to get your creativity going!

Easy/No Prep

Peanuts are a great training treat and are usually available in those "oops, I forgot to grab treats" moments at your local gas station if a grocery store isn't convenient. Try for the dry roasted or plain with as little salt as possible.

Cheese, whether cut off a block, string cheese or deli sliced, works well for a quick treat. I've found cheese sticks easily at most convenience stores in a pinch.

Hot dogs or any type of lunch meat your dog likes is a quick option for a high value treat. Just let the hot dog cool a bit if you get it off the rollers at your C-store!

Peanut butter is my go-to to keep Max distracted or to give pills. You can even find small containers of it with the condiments at C-stores sometimes.

Banana Chips (or any other dried fruit) work well, are portable without worrying if they're going to spoil, no utensils required and I can make the pieces as small as I need. Just remember no raisins or grapes.

Fresh Fruit can be a great option when you're on the go. A lot of C-stores are carrying fruit now and I've even known people to swing through a drive-through for the little sliced apple packs when they're in a real bind. Just be sure to grab a utensil if you need one to get to the fruit.

Nuts can be a good treat in a pinch or when you're grabbing some for yourself. Don't go overboard since they contain a higher amount of fat and only give commercially shelled nuts with the least salt possible. Steer clear of Macadamia nuts.
*Walnuts are commonly on lists of "what not to feed". The concern stems from toxic mold that grows on the hulls. The meat of the nut is not toxic.*

A Little Prep

Eggs are a great source of protein. Scramble it, hard boil it and dice it or crack one over your pets food for a fresh mix in. If you use egg whites primarily for yourself, add the yolks into your dog's food for a tasty treat! 
*A lot of sites will tell you not to give raw eggs since it can lead to a biotin (Vitamin H) deficiency. Avidin is the offending enzyme contained in egg whites and is usually neutralized when you cook an egg. When you feed a raw egg the avidin binds to some of the biotin, found in the yolks. Biotin deficiencies are rare and Max has several sources of biotin (red meat and peanuts are great sources) in his diet so I choose to give whole raw eggs. If you're concerned, talk to your vet or only give raw yolks.*

Canned Green Beans are a great filler when you need to help your dog feel full without adding a lot of calories, just try to get the least salt version available. These make my "A little prep" category because I don't carry a can opener around with me.

Raw veggies can provide great variety though you might have to cut them up first. I usually give Max some of whatever I put into dinner which can range from tomatoes to bell peppers, carrots, green leafies, or broccoli. Veggies can also provide taste difference and extra fiber. If you're in a jam grab a bag of baby carrots or grape tomatoes for instant treats.

Raw meaty bones are the most high-value treat we offer (so far). You've seen these at high-end pet food stores. We decided this was a racket and picked up a slab of beef back ribs instead. We cut the ribs apart through the meat and freeze individually. Max gets one a week. He eats the meat right away and then gnaws on the bone the rest of the week. Use a protein your dog loves, make friends with your local butcher and never ever ever give cooked bones, which can splinter and cause internal havoc. If you're worried about fat you can trim the meat. 

I hope this gives you some ideas for adding variety to your dogs diet with minimal cost and fuss. Got a food your dog loves I left off? Let me know in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment