Treats for Man’s Best Friend
A walk along any pet aisle in any supermarket will reveal a huge range of ‘treats’, many of which are designed to provide a ‘feel-good factor’ to the dog’s owner.
Of course, many contain the good things for dogs and are put together in consultation with food scientists, but they also, often, contain unnecessary ingredients to provide that feel-good factor, as well as ingredients to aid processing and improve profit margins… in-store and distribution shelf-life being one of them.
Joe The Cocker is in the finest of health.
Since Joe came home, as s sickly 9 week-old puppy, his health and wellbeing have been the top of my agenda.
After getting his badly abused digestive system back to health, and seeing him gain weight at the correct rate, Joe has been on a raw diet.
His diet has been a commercially produced, human food-grade, complete raw feed. Complete, in this case, means nothing else required. the feed contains the protein, minerals, fibre and fats that he needs. All obtained through natural meat, fruit, and vegetables in properly balanced proportions.
In the same way as a zoo weighs all the food for the animals, all of Joe’s food is weighed, and he is weight monitored every month (during a walk we pop into the vet reception). This allows us to track his weight and adjust his food accordingly. It also gets him used to going to the vets.
Joe’s food comes in a 1.4kg deep-frozen ‘chub’ (like a sausage). every other day a chub is thawed and his meals weighed and portioned into small plastic tubs and kept in the fridge.
As I write, he has a chub of duck thawing.
So popular is raw feeding that a quick look on Amazon yields over 230 different items!
Joe has few treats but those he does have are carefully selected to be the best they can be. His treats (used for training and reward) include:
- Frozen sprats – £3.00 from the fishmonger
- Frozen pumpkin – raw
- Frozen Sweet Potato – cooked
- Broccoli stems – most people throw these away, but dogs love them!
- Home Dried Lambs liver – £2.00 produces a good amount for training treats
- 100% natural Commercial treats
- Personalised ‘special’ treats for Christmas and birthday etc. (see photos below)
The above are personalised treats made to exacting standards in the UK by Afternoon Paws Ltd. Joe loves these.
Make your own treats:
During Joe’s first puppy class I learnt about drying treats using a dehydrator. Now I’ll dry inexpensive ingredients to use as ‘high-value’ treats for training sessions with him.
All dogs are intelligent, some more than others, and Joe, being a Working Cocker Spaniel is pretty smart, but this means that he needs regular brain stimulation, hence the treats.
What I found was an inexpensive dehydrator would allow me to produce high-value treats for next-to-nothing.
A quick look on the shelves of the local supermarkets yields a lot of cheap offal and chicken breast/thighs on their last use-by date. I snap these up and dry them.
The following photo shows 500g (dry weight) of chicken breast and sliced lambs liver after dehydrating. Total cost of the ingredients around £3.50 from Tesco. Compare this with the same weight in prepared liver treats from, say Pets At Home, where they will cost you up to £35, and you can see where the savings come in.
I use a simple dehydrator from Amazon, like the one below, and also use it to dry fruit for myself.
True, they are not the same as humans, but they are also not dustbins. Their diet is what makes them, in the same way as ours make us.
Think about what you are feeding your dog, because they can’t, and they trust you to provide good quality, safe and nutritious food.