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What kind of dog treats?

17 years ago

We adopted a dog from the Humane Society on Sunday and I can't for the life of me figure out what treats to give him. There are just so many to choose from. He's 4, so fully grown, not a puppy.

I remember reading somewhere to be careful of rawhide things because the dog can chew it and choke, but isn't that pretty much true of anything?

I'm looking for treats to give him when he's been an exceptionally good boy, or when I need to keep him occupied for a little while (like when I'm leaving for work in the morning). I need something that he can chew on for a while that will last. I've heard people mention stuffing Kong toys with stuff, but what kind of stuff? I think that's the kind of treat I'm looking for. My parents used to get some sort of bones from the butcher and keep them frozen and give them to the dog. Is that ok? What are they called?

Thanks! I'm so excited for our new dog. He's such a great boy!!

Comments (22)

  • 17 years ago

    Rawhide and the greenie chews are not good as they can get caught in the dog's digestive system and require surgery to remove. I use Nylabones, the very hard type for my dog as she is large and chews with great gusto, but they have varieties for many types of chewers. They last a long time and the dogs like them. Also, just plain old Milk Bone biscuits for rewards and I love Healthy Balance dog food for meals. It's expensive, but contains all the vitamins and nutrients they need for great coats and healthy digestive systems. She rarely has stomach problems unless someone slips her some human goodies cause she's so cute.

    Good luck with your new dog.

  • 17 years ago

    The chewies that my dogs and I agree on (safety and nutrition are my critieria, taste is their's) ~ Raw knuckle bones but only under supervision (no smoked bones). Stuffed kongs if I'm leaving them for a long time - you can stuff their breakfast in a kong, or just smear the kong with peanut butter and smush in a banana. Bully sticks. Very safe chew, that will keep them busy for maybe an hour, and they love them. Yes skip the rawhide, skip the pig's ears. I use kibble for training treats, any high quality brand, or homemade treats - liver snacks are a favorite. Snips of hot dog are a 'high value' treat when needed to train or reward.

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  • 17 years ago

    Congrats on your new dog. What's his name and please post a pic.

    I usually give those baby carrots, Nutro treats (same type of food I feed), marrow bone from butcher (fully cooked, cleaned of all marrow and rinsed well) and the marrow bones are only an occasional treat. I think that's what your thinking of.

    I like the kong thing only my guys give up before they get the treat! They are the laziest, even tho there's food inside. I think for training, I would just use pieces of the food you are feeding him for treats. You don't want to create a weight problem, and training time calls for lots of treats.

    No rawhide, pigs ears or greenies.

    Best of luck to you!

  • 17 years ago

    I thought peanut butter was in the list of bad foods for dogs. Mine never get peanut butter. Or any dairy but they are lactose intolerant:-)
    I do like to cook turkey sausage then put pieces inside kongs. The sausage is rubbery and hard for them to get out. A roll costs about a dollar or so and that's about 10 slices/patties. I buy the frozen rolls and cook them for our breakfast sometimes and the dogs get leftovers in Kongs.
    My dogs will not touch the nylabone unless they are extremly bored. One has lasted for several years now.

  • 17 years ago

    Thank you! The baby carrots are a great idea, I remember our old dog loving them. I'll look for the other things you all suggested as well. He doesn't seem very food motivated so I think I'm going to need some very special treats if I want to do any serious training.

    Our dog's name is currently Sam. I say currently because we didn't like the name he came with from the pound and we've spent days trying to think of a new one. This one seems to be sticking, for now. His picture is in the link. He's awesome!!

    Here is a link that might be useful: {{!gwi}}

  • 17 years ago

    The only chew treats I allow my dogs to have is the bully stick. Pieces cannot be broken off, so there is no choking hazard. Only thing is I will take it away when it gets small enough where they can't hold it in their paws.

  • 17 years ago

    My vet says too much peanut butter can cause pancreatitis down th line but in moderation it's ok and she feeds it to her dogs.


    Training and rewards: Charlee Bear liver treats. Very pocket friendly.

    Settle down time: Medium Kong with Grreat Choice (petsmart) medium biscuits, dipped in peanut butter then wedged inside peanut butter side down.

    Special occasions: American beefhide bones from Petco. Only place I know of the get the American bones.

    Good behavior: Nutro canned desserts, assorted flavors. Usually I stuff it in kongs.

    Toys: Rubber sqeeky ball, Booda rope bones, Nylabone fist-shaped rubber chews, a sheet of kleenex

    Special gear: Frisbee, tug ropes, assorted balls, kongs

  • 17 years ago

    Training treats are not the same as something he can chew on for ahwile to keep him occupied.

    I am leary of anything that can be chewed on for ahwile and will only use when those when I am watching him, which defeats the purpose of keeping him occupied so I can do something else ... because I need to watch ...

    For training, I use small soft treats that can easily be snapped up in one bite. I like to use liver treats. Dogs that are not food motivated, often change their minds when they get liver treats. I take a bag of liver treats and slice each treat to three or four peices, so they are even smaller.. mainly attention getting and reward for training purposes type items.

    For simple reward treats, I also use small puppy size hard bone shaped things that have no artificial colors or flavors. I buy them in bulk at the feed store. My dogs get these when they get into their crate, each morning or when they simply look like they need a treat...

  • 17 years ago

    Quirky, that is a great list! V cool.

    Cork, notice there are no fancy meat-shaped treats on that list. Those treats are mostly formed wheat and gluten with coloring.

    Give your dog some time. It frequently takes a week or more for a dog's appetite to return after a big change like re-homing.

    Cork, thank you so much for adopting an adult shelter dog!

    Pictures? Need pictures.

  • 17 years ago

    He's adorable. The name will come to you, maybe something funny he does will remind you of a tv, movie or book character? We aren't very original and usually use people names for our dogs. Cats are Oliver, Handsome and Louie.

    When we rescued our old gal, the former "family" named her Thumbelina - they had small children and probably watched alot of Disney films:). We didn't really like the name, and couldn't even come up with a nickname derived from Thumbelina. She was almost 4 mos old and had no problem adjusting to the new name we chose. She's been Martha since the day we brought her home!

    My younger boys are Lowell and Chester. My long gone first lab was "Sonny". These aren't their paper names, but names we call them. They each also have so many nicknames - too long to list!

    What a lucky boy to go home with a family who loves him! Best of luck to you, and I wish you many years of joy and companionship with your new dog.

  • 17 years ago

    Thanks again everyone. Things are still going really well with Sam. We had our first vet visit yesterday and all things considered I think he behaved very well. The vet said he's very healthy and seems like a great dog. He gave me a few pointers about behaviors I should keep an eye out for and all in all it was a great visit.

    Are the liver treats the name of a prepared treat, or do you mean actually chicken livers or something? I'll buy him a kong and the bully sticks which sound great too. I'm sure we'll hit on something he likes.

    We own 20 acres and took him up for the first time the other day to check it out. I have a small video of one of his moments. He had such a blast. He's FAST and he was a tired boy by the time we went home. We just love him.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Sam's visit to the land

  • 17 years ago

    The liver treats, aka "freeze dried liver" comes in a couple of forms. One is in a bucket and there are cubes of freeze dried liver inside. A little too big to use for training but good to stuff in kongs. Kind of pricy.
    There are little training treats, the Charlee Bear brand is one of them that has tiny amounts of that encapsulated by a cracker-like shell. You don't have to prepare any raw foods. Using raw food is another debate for another day.

  • 17 years ago

    Cork, your Sam is so cute. And all these wonderful treat tips have been great, for I, too have been looking for healthy treat tips. I have a question. Some of the follow-ups mentioned greenies. Could someone specify what these actually are. I have not heard of them and I don't want to ignorantly give these to my dogs. Also, are Healthy Edibles okay?

  • 17 years ago

    Thanks for the tips on the liver treats, I'll check those out.

    I think I can actually answer the "greenies" question as I saw them at petsmart the other day. It's a name brand of treats. The link shows them on their website.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Greenies

  • 17 years ago

    I once heard that a vet said that any piece of food given from a human hand is considered a treat by a dog, that is there is no need to spend money for special treats. Sure enough, my four-legged son responds in this way. He used to get Milk Bones and such, but now, due to an allergy, I exclusively use one or two bits of his regular dry food, and he is every bit as eager to work, perform, or just accept them as a treat.

    As for things to keep him busy, I've never had to worry about that as he seems to find all sorts of things to do. He is a strong chewer so I have to be careful what I give to him. He loves the hard plastic cube that you can put bits of dried food into, that will disperse as it is rolled around. However nothing takes the place of his hard rubber ball. It goes with him from room to room as he follows me around. I did purchase a new one just in case the old got lost, but there must be nothing like the slobber on the old one, as he doesn't pay much attention to the new one, even though it is in every way the same.

  • 17 years ago

    > "I once heard that a vet said that any piece of food given from a human hand is considered a treat by a dog, that is there is no need to spend money for special treats."

    In response to that I'd say the dog has to like the treats and not spit it out. You can also use kibble but for training it has to be something the dog goes crazy for. And it cant be a choking hazard or bad ingredients.

  • 17 years ago

    For my dogs (1-yr-old lab, 13-yr-old springer spaniel) I prepare a mix which I put into marrow bones & freeze, for when I go to work. I'll vary the recipe, but it mostly is: plain yogourt, cooked rice or pot barley, kibble, cooked carrots, & whatever leftovers are around (cooked potatoes, for example). I mix it together and fill the 3 or 4" marrow bones, freeze them, and each day the dogs get one as I go out the door. For a longer lasting treat, they get the knuckle bones from the pet store, or (frozen) bones with the marrow still in from the grocery store (your dog needs to get used to these, otherwise he'll get the runs!). I got the idea for this from a labrador forum I go on, and there are many variations of the stuffer kong or marrow bone. Try googling "stuffed kong".

  • 17 years ago

    When I was training my pup initially, I'd feed her breakfast as 'treats' and dinner as 'treats' I'd put the kibble in my pocket and give her a piece everytime she did a command right. When she'd do exceptionally well, I'd always have a low-fat pupperoni stick broken into pieces as a special treat to reward her excellent behaviour.

    Yesterday I used to same method to finally teach her shake. She used to hate having her paws touched, so we left that trick alone until she got used to having her paws touched. I fed her breakfast through training, and when she finally put her little paw out on her own, I gave her a few pieces of pupperoni sticks and lots of pets. She gave her paw everytime after that, and she's even almost got 'other paw' down, too. I seem to have the most success when I give her special treats when she does the trick/command on her own, rather than the same I had been giving her to teach the command with.

    I also use the liver bites, for training, too.

  • 17 years ago

    Agreed, kudos to you for getting a pound puppy. Best thing to do is give it nice long walks everyday. That is the best treat of all. Other than that, most dogs will let you know if they prefer balls over stuffed animals etc. You can go get a sports ball (not a racket ball - they can get caught in a dogs throat) some tennis balls, stuff the kong with carrots, peanut butter, broccoli, cottage cheese - or cubes of Natural balance meat sticks and dog cookies. If you can break it up, you can fit it throught the hole - then fill it up. When it gets hot, you can plug the small hole and fill it full of water, they can also be run through the dishwasher for general cleaning. Watch your dog when it does its business, sometimes treats can give your dog the runs. I have found rope toys to be the longest lasting with my dog, they help clean his teeth, acting like floss. I would avoid any rawhide. If you want to get a syterilized bone or a hoof to start out with, I would try those. Costco also carries a good selection of treats including dried chicken and dried duck. Good luck with your new addition, I hope you post more about how things are going and what you discover about your new pet.

  • 17 years ago

    What a beautiful dog! Do you know his parentage by chance? Sam is a great, short name. Thanks for the film clip - your acreage looks gorgeous and Sam will have a wonderful life on it - glad you found each other.
    My dog loved almost any kind of vegetable and would do nearly anything for lettuce believe it or not!!!

  • 17 years ago

    My two guys love cauliflower! The vet recommended it when on one of our visits. They also enjoy carrots. Both are crunchy which the boys love.

  • 17 years ago

    cheryl_p, I was told he's shepherd/lab mix, and the vet agreed. He definitely has shepherd ears and body, but a lab nose/face/forehead. He's adorable. :)

    I bought baby carrots this weekend. We'll be trying those out in his new kong soon. I tried stuffing his kong with cheese but he couldn't get it out and just gave up. He's definitely not food motivated. Strange.

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