Dog treats can do way more than just training your canine friend. As a dog owner, a treat offers a quick and convenient way to show your German Shepherd some love.
That said, you’ll definitely need to be careful about what you carry around as treats. Just like food, dog treats need to be both healthy and safe. And that’s exactly what you’ll be learning from this post.
Let’s dive in.
Defining the Best Dog Treats
Any dog treats can be labelled as “best” but that doesn’t mean they’ll be appropriate for your dog. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all as far as treats are concerned. Each dog is different which means the best dog treat will vary from one pooch to the next.
Much of what constitutes the best dog treats comes down to, in general, a healthy preparation. So you’ll be looking at mainly the ingredients of that particular treat, and on the whole you want to avoid unnecessary artificial additives like chemicals that might affect your German shepherd negatively.
A few ingredients you may want to avoid include:
That might seem like a lot of work, but with your dog’s health in question it’s worth a little time to find some treats that your happy feeding him orher.
For an easier time choosing a healthy dog treat, be sure to look for the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) label on some packages.
Aside from healthy preparation, you also need to take into account your dog’s size, any allergies/stomach irritation, and age.
According to Fetch by WebMD, food allergies make up about 10 percent of all allergy cases in dogs – and German Shepherds are some of the most affected breeds. While the allergens vary, proteins tend to be the most common.
Addressing allergic reactions is all about identifying the types of ingredients that your dog reacts to and eliminating them from their diet – and that includes their treats.
If you want to treat your German Shepherd but they have a sensitive tummy, be sure to check out Gentle Snackers. The treats are specially formulated for dogs with food sensitivities and sensitive gastrointestinal tracts.
Your Dog’s size
This is pretty straightforward – small dogs get small treats and large dogs get larger treats. Woohoo for our big Shepherds!
For your German Shepherd, this typically will also come down to age. Puppies are, of course, smaller than their adult counterparts. This means they get smaller treats and vice versa.
Types of Dog Treats
There’s a wide range of dog treats out there and it can be a little confusing which to pick, but here are some of the most common treats out there.
1. Human Food Treats
You know how easy it is to slip your dog something that you love too – and whilst these might sound great for your doggo but you should be really careful with the kind of ingredients the specific contains. While some foodstuffs are great for human consumption, they absolutely have no business being ingested by a dog.
Some of these include hot dogs, cookies, chocolate, and cheese among others. These are either poisonous or just problematic for your dog’s digestive system.
An easier way of going about human food dog treats is talking to your vet for expert input.
2. Bones and Hooves
They’re a delight for your GSD to gnaw on and crack but they could also be problematic. For one, there is a risk of chipped or broken teeth for your dog. They can also cause intestinal blockage or perforation especially when cooked.
It’s generally advisable to avoid using bones and hooves as treats. If you do choose to feed them avoid chicken bones which can split easily into sharp shards.
3. Crunchy Treats
These are exactly as they sound – they’re both hard and crunchy. That’s why they’re sometimes referred to as dog biscuits and tend to be quite popular among dog parents.
You can either make them at home or purchase them. If you choose the former, be sure to check out the different recipes below.
4. Special Diet Treats
Special diet dog treats are ideal if your vet has prescribed a particular diet for your dog – usually due to a specific health condition. These treats are meant to ensure you can still train or bond with your dog without messing up the healing process.
5. Freeze-Dried and Jerky Treats
These are your usual dog food but preserved without the use of chemicals or additives. Instead, the food is flash-frozen at very low temperatures, and then the moisture is removed by vacuuming. So the food can stay longer and still be as nutritious.
6. Dental Chews and Bone-Like Treats
Dental chews bear some similarities to bones but aren’t usually made from different digestible material. For a larger part, they require considerable chewing on the dog’s part – just like animal bones.
If you’re looking for a treat to help with your pup’s oral hygiene, treats made specifically as dental chews are a good choice. A popular dental chew is Greenies Dental Dog Treats with a unique shape and texture that cleans off plaque and tartar while also freshening your dog’s breath.
On the other hand, too hard chews can cause tooth chipping or even breakage. So you have to be careful about your choices.
Raw hides are obtained from the inner layer of cow, or sometimes, horsehide. The hide is usually cleaned and cut or ground and then pressed into chews with varying shapes and sizes. To make them even more appealing to dogs, some rawhides contain different flavorings such as liver, beef, and chicken.
Just like dental chews, rawhide dog treats also promote dental health for your canine friend. But on the flip side, they can cause a few problems.
For a larger part, rawhide is not easily digestible. This means it can cause a gastrointestinal blockage if swallowed. That’s why these treats are frowned on in dog parents’ world.
8. Pig Ears
Pig ears treats are just…pig ears! But sometimes they can be treated with chemicals making them quite unsafe for your German shepherd.
But still, on their own, they have a high-fat content that is just as problematic. So even if you can find untreated ears, it’s best to limit your dog’s consumption to them being an occasional treat.
8. Soft Treats
These have a soft texture and tend to be popular with dogs due to their tasty nature. That’s why they are the best dog treats for training.
Wellness Soft Puppy Bites are great treats for training your puppy. They contain a natural source of DHA that is essential for your pup’s healthy brain development. A general snack like Bits Soft-Moist Training Treats is also ideal if your German shepherd is three years or older.
Our puppies have always LOVED soft treats – and they are great to use as a training tool.
Wellness Soft Puppy Bites are great treats for training your puppy. They contain a natural source of DHA that is essential for your pup’s healthy brain development.
And if you have an older German Shepherd, and wise and sage dog with perhaps some teeth prolems then these soft treats are a great option.
Whilst these are still classed as a training treat we find they are gentle on your older dog – Bits Soft-Moist Treats
Homemade Dog treats Recipe
You don’t always have to purchase your dog treats. With the following simple recipes, you can prepare healthy treats in no time.
Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Homemade Dog Treats
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- ½ tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
- Combine, in a large bowl, pumpkin, peanut butter, and eggs. Stir thoroughly to get an even mixture.
- Add flour and pumpkin spice. Stir thoroughly once again.
- Lightly flour a flat surface and roll out dough to about a quarter-inch thick.
- Cut the dough into bone shapes and place the pieces on a baking sheet
- Bake for 20 to 40 minutes depending on how crunchy you want the cakes to be
- Let the treats cool and give them to your pup every once in a while. You can store the treats in an airtight container or refrigerator for up to a month or a freezer for 6 months.
Homemade Dog Donuts
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup flour
- ½ peanut butter
- 1 cup oats
- Greek yogurt and bacon bits (for topping)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease your donut pan and set aside.
- Thoroughly mix all the ingredients (aside from the toppings) in a large bowl until dough forms.
- Transfer the dough into each donut cavity making sure each space is tightly filled.
- Bake for 14 minutes.
- Dip each donut lightly in yogurt and sprinkle lightly with bacon bits.
- Place the donuts in a refrigerator or freezer to harden the yogurt and let your dog dig in.
Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treat
- 4 bananas
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 4 plastic cups
- Peel and slice the bananas
- Freeze the banana slices
- Blend the slices until smooth
- Add peanut butter and mix thoroughly
- Divide the mixture into the cups and freeze. Your treat is ready.
Homemade Dog Biscuits (Recipe)
- 1 cup oats
- ½ cup beef broth
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Mix flour, oats, and flaxseed in a bowl and stir.
- Add beef broth and peanut butter and stir adding even more beef broth to form a dough.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll to about a quarter-inch thickness and cut into bone-shaped pieces.
- Bake for 20 minutes
- Cool completely and store the treats in an airtight container for a week