How can you tell if your pet is happy? Dr. Rolan Tripp, a specialist in veterinary behaviour medicine and founder of the Pet Happiness Network, knows how.
He outlines the importance of high-value treats to keep your TM happy while teaching it new tricks or trying to catch its attention.
Dr. Rolan suggests replacing 10 percent of the balanced food you feed your dog with healthy dog treats when you’re actively training it. Or when you simply want to reward its good behaviour.
By keeping this rule, you will avoid the risk of overfeeding your Tibetan Mastiff. However, there are many more aspects to consider, if you want to keep your dog really healthy.
Find The Healthiest Treats For Tibetan Dogs (And Most Other Breeds As Well)
You shouldn’t give your dog treats that take up more than 10% of your daily calorie intake. At the same time, you want that treats provide some healthy and organic nutrients for the percentage of food they replace.
There are three important aspects you want to look for in healthy dog treats:
– They are provided in the right bite-size and hardness for your dog’s mouth and teeth.
– They are made of a single and natural (ideally organic) ingredient.
– They are easy to chew, tasteful and long-lasting.
Treat Bitesize and Hardness
Puppy treats are better if they are small and reasonably hard, while treats for senior dogs should be soft for their aging teeth. Generally speaking. Healthy dog treats should be the right size and hardness to avoid the risk of choking or suffering internal injuries.
Single, Natural (And Ideally Organic) Pet Treat Ingredients
The healthiest treats for dogs are made of only a few or one natural organic ingredient. Why so? Because then there are very less chances of presence of artificial additives. Take this Swedish 100% certified Organic treat, for example:
Wild Game Mix Dog Candy
The Swedish Organic standard is even stricter and better regulated than the EU and USDA organic standards. The association responsible to set the standard for “Organic foods” in Sweden is the KRAV.
Of course, Organic KRAV certification guarantees non-GMO additives, and ensures that the farm animals have been fed “Organic-grade” feed.
The KRAV also ensures that agricultural and processing companies are regularly audited under strict conditions, thus guaranteeing credibility and responsibility.
For more details on the standards set for organic and certified dog foods originating from Sweden, check the KRAV Standards.
Nutritional Value Of Dog Treats
The nutritional value is also important.
For example, treats for young dogs are better if they are protein rich to support their growth, while treats for senior dogs should provide the vitamins and minerals they need to support their physical changes.
The Wild Game Mix Dog Candy is a Freeze-dried dog candy that contains 100% meat from organically fed and bred moose, wild boar, reindeer and deer.
The energy equivalent per 100 g of meat has approximately 65% protein content, 29% fat and 3% water.
Are The Treats Long-lasting, Chewable, and Tasteful?
A treat needs to be tasteful to fulfill its purpose of being a reward – that’s obvious. But it will be no good if it only lasts for a second in your dog’s mouth.
The best treats for your dog must keep your bestie chewing for a while, doing it some good in the form of relaxation, cleaner teeth, fresher breath and better nutrition.
What Treats Are Bad For Dogs
Rawhide is a very popular treat, but often, it is also very dangerous. Most rawhide treats are chemically cleaned and preserved, and many come with artificial coloring or flavourings.
But one of the biggest risks of rawhide bones – as well as some other edible chews – is choking and blockage. The rawhide can get stuck in different parts of the digestive tract, and sometimes it can only be removed with surgery.
Chewing Bones As Treats For Mastiffs Is Healthier?
Ok, if rawhide is bad, then chewing bones with no rawhide should be good, right?
It is not that simple.
Some products are advertised as healthy alternatives to rawhide, but they can be even worse. You can find many unnecessary and harmful items in their ingredient list, such as the controversial maltodextrin, artificial flavourings and colourings.
You should also stay away from any packaged treat with no published ingredient list, or with misleading or vague labels.
We can’t stress this enough: always read the complete ingredient list, and check that the big, colorful labels on the package are coherent with that list.
Take, for example, Healthy Centres salmon-flavour treats. The words “healthy” and “salmon” are the first you see when you look at the product.
But when you look carefully at the ingredient list, you immediately find some… “contradictions”.
The treat includes wheat flour, hydrolyzed poultry protein, colourant, and salmon flavor… but no salmon. The truth is that there’s nothing really healthy (or salmony) in this treat. This is clearly misleading and unethical marketing that hurts your dog’s health.
The Healthiest Natural Tibetan Dog Treats?
We already said that the healthiest dog treats are those made with a few protein rich natural ingredients – only one ingredient, preferably. But you will get the best of the best if that single ingredient is also organic.
Organic ingredients are free from many dangerous hidden ingredients that can be identified in foods simply qualified as natural.
Natural vs. Organic Dog Treats For Tibetan Mastiffs
If a crop is treated with artificial fertilizers, the products grown can still be classified as natural. But not as organic.
The same rule applies to crops treated with pesticides, or grown from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
There are many single-ingredient organic treats, even organic rawhide treats.
Organic Rawhide Chews
However, there are some very important things that you need to keep in mind when giving dogs organic rawhide chews:
Firstly, rawhide chews are made for puppies and dogs that love to chew all day long. The treats are made from dried and brined animals skins. They are meant to last long as chew treats and break off slowly into smaller pieces.
But it also depends on your dog’s chewing habit and strength. For example, Tibetan Mastiffs are strong chewers, and because of that there is a possibility that your dog might break off the rawhide chew treat into smaller parts and ingest them. Yes, that is not a pretty sight.
The treats won’t digest in your Mastiff’s stomach and can cause intestinal obstruction. From that perspective, it is best if you refrain from giving rawhide chews to dogs that cannot handle them and look for alternatives.
Other Organic Chews And Treats - Smelly But Healthy!
Other options among organic treats are some that could make you sick just by smelling them – or asking where they are extracted from.
Don’t be scared off by such products – remember that your dog’s taste is different from yours. So, don’t discard some potentially good treats just because you would rather not look at, or smell, them.
Non-Organic Bully Sticks
Bully sticks are a perfect example: they are made from the pizzle (penis) of a bull.
It is a high-protein beef muscle from which dogs of any size and age could get a lot of great benefits: healthy coats, strong muscles and clean teeth.
And bully sticks also satisfy a dog’s natural instinct to chew.
However, I didn’t find any certified organic bully sticks on the market.
Non-Organic Dried Pig Ears For Small Dogs
Pig ears are also some odd but preferred options among natural dog chews.
They are not recommended for big dogs like Tibetan Mastiffs, since pig ears are small and can be swallowed.
But for delicate chewers and small pooches, pig ears can be a delicious and natural treat. However, be aware that they have a high-fat content.
Organic Jerkies (Chicken Nibs)
Organic jerkies are usually considered safe treats for dogs. Among the healthiest jerky treats outstand organic chicken nibs jerky dog treats, such as Primal’s.
They are made with organic chicken, without hormones or antibiotics, and contain no preservatives. Besides the organic chicken, they have only two other ingredients (both organic): honey and sea salt.
Chicken Jerkies With Vegetables And Fruits
If you want another nutritious treat, you can investigate Evanger’s treats for dogs.
This one is a chicken jerky dog treat that also has fruits and vegetables and is grain-free. It has only 6 calories per treat, which guarantees you won’t be overfeeding your dog by rewarding it with these treats.
However, I don’t see an USDA organic label on the package.
As you can see, it is not difficult to pick healthy treats for your dog to keep it properly rewarded for behaving well or for learning new tricks. But please read the package and think twice before diciding if it is a match for your beloved Tibetan Mastiff.