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Many people think treats and yummies outside of meals are a mandatory part of being a pet parent.  Treats can be extremely helpful when training a new puppy, housebreaking, rewarding established good behavior, learning to use a doggie door, and more.  Some dogs even have a large repertoire of tricks that they learned with treats as a motivation.  Fido may love his munchies, but your pet sitter in Tempe recommends every dog parent take some things into consideration when deciding if they should dish out the desserts. 

First, is your pooch at a healthy weight?  If he’s overweight, you may want to scale back on the treats or choose a low-calorie treat.  Avoid human food for treats as it usually contains more calories and ingredients that are unnecessary for a balanced doggie diet.  When this Tempe dog walker discovered one of my dogs gaining weight, I started breaking the treats in half or even thirds.  If underweight, look for treats that have a higher protein or calorie content and consider what you are feeding for meals also.

Second, what are you feeding at mealtimes?  If Fido eats a high-quality, grain-free diet, he needs equally high-quality treats.  It wouldn’t make sense to feed cheap treats full of by-products and fillers.  You should also remember that if your pup has allergies, his treats must not contain his allergens.  Keep things balanced so you’re not overfeeding the treats as compared to meals. 

Third, what is your purpose for feeding treats?  Are you trying to teach a skill or trick or change a behavior?  Consider also using praise as reinforcement and use small treats so you don’t overdo it.  This Tempe pet sitter has trained foster dogs to run into their crates when I leave simply by opening the treat bag. It makes going out the door so much easier!  Are you feeling guilty at dinnertime?  You may create a begging dog unintentionally.  Timing with treats can be everything.

Many pet parents see the enjoyment their furkids derive from treats and love giving them special “nummies.”  Just keep these things in mind when breaking out the goodies so you can keep your pooch happy and healthy! 

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