You have your new puppy and want to give them a range of healthy, natural treats that are safe for their breed and age. Young dogs and puppies are constantly looking for things to chew and stop them from getting bored so, often, dog owners turn to food-based chew products to satisfy their puppy. Anxiety can also cause puppies to be destructive so a healthy chew can be used to encourage them not to destroy other items - puppies should not be allowed to chew furniture, but an olive wood stick may be a good alternative!
Treats and chews come in all shapes and sizes, but what benefit to they bring to your puppy and how do you know if they are safe?
Only feed your puppy food that you know is safe for them. If in doubt, check online!
Size - treats (not chews) should be small in size, soft and easy for your puppy to eat. There are many reward treats on the market and your pup will enjoy their snacks more if they are easy to fit in their mouth. Small treats can be carried with you so you can reward good behaviour when out on walks or in and around the house - ideally buy in a large quantity as you are going to need them!
Flavour - ideally you want your puppy treats to be tasty and have an aroma to entice your young dog to eat them. There is no point having a treat that doesn't excite them. Treats should contain no artificial flavours - dogs don't need them. Always look at the ingredients on the label carefully and shop with trusted brands.
Texture - a puppy treat can be hard or soft. We suggest you choose softer treats when younger to introduce them to natural treats and chews and then select slightly harder snacks when pup is a little older and entering the teething stage. Teething puppies like to chew!
Ingredients - choose single protein treats where possible or treats with minimal ingredients. Puppies have immature digestive systems and need simple treats, especially in the early days. Avoid treats with additives and fillers.
Grain Free - we believe that dogs do not need grain in their diet and puppies are no exception. A natural chew should not contain wheat or gluten so always check the label!
Brands - customers should avoid shopping with retailers who do not have clear labelling which lists ingredients and composition on them. Avoid buying unlabelled treat boxes and bulk chews through a site or business that claims to be healthy but have no sourcing information on them.
Ages - always look for an indication of how many months old your puppy should be for certain treats and always supervise them when eating any kind of treat or chew. Dogs should not be left alone with any kind of chew.
When a puppy's teeth start fall out, they have an overwhelming urge to chew. This helps to loosen the teeth naturally and encourage the new adult teeth to come through.
Long lasting chews such as bully sticks, yak bars, olive wood sticks and lamb horns are all brilliant at helping satisfy the urge to chew.
You may prefer a chew toy for your puppy but keep things as natural as possible. Many toys just aren't tough enough to withstand a teething puppy!
When you start working on recall, toilet training or puppy classes, you want to have treats that are a quick and easy snack. Most puppy classes will advise you to bring a large quantity of treats with you as you will go through a LOT!
A perfect puppy treat should be small and have a strong smell to entice them to work for it - a treat that doesn't excite them won't work for training or reward. Did you ever see a dog perform a trick for a piece of carrot? You can also use their standard dry food for certain elements of training but we don't recommend doing this too much as their normal food won't hold the same excitement!
Natural chews for puppies are a great alternative to the standard, mass market dog chews. Puppies don't need dental sticks to keep their 'teeth clean', they don't need cheap supermarket chews which are likely to upset their digestion and be filled with nasty ingredients.
Natural dog chews for puppies should be easy to digest, help relieve boredom and excite your dog.
A natural chew alternative to dental sticks would be bully sticks or yak bars. Both will help to maintain good dental hygiene and satisfy the urge to chew.
A natural treat alternative to gravy bones would be healthy grain free biscuits.