Dog biscuit make great rewards for most of our four-legged friends.
As interesting as they are to show them our love as well as to educate them, these appetizing treats should not be given out indiscriminately so as not to harm your dog's health.
Today, I'm going to give you an overview of the different industrial and homemade dog cookies, as well as their advantages and disadvantages in the diet of our four-legged friends.
What are dog biscuit?
Dog biscuits are baked goods that are very similar to human biscuits, but with ingredients and flavors that are more suited to the tastes and digestive systems of our animal friends.
In fact, dog biscuits are small dry treats, mostly made of flour, that can be made in all kinds of sizes, shapes and flavors.
You can find these products on the dog food market (supermarkets, veterinarians, pet shops, e-commerce, etc.) and it is also relatively easy to make them yourself.
Giving your dog biscuit: advantages and disadvantages
Benefits of dog biscuits
The main advantage of dog biscuits is that they are attractive to owners, who feel they are giving their pets treats similar to the cakes they eat themselves. An aspect that appeals to many at a time when our dogs are increasingly considered as full members of the household.
These treats also have the advantage of being long-lasting and easy to carry, unlike some dog candies whose strong smell can quickly permeate the pockets of a jacket. This is very practical when you need to have an effective reward on hand at all times, for example, to work on recall with your dog on a walk. Finally, dog biscuits are undoubtedly the easiest and most fun treats to concoct at home for the greatest pleasure of our pets.
Disadvantages of dog biscuits
Dog biscuits have the same drawbacks as those for two-legged people: they are often high in calories, low in nutrition, sweet and fatty. Given too generously, they can be very harmful to your pet's health, as a regular calorie overload, however small, can quickly lead to dramatic overweight.
These treats, like many others, can also cause or aggravate food allergies in dogs. The most common allergies are often caused by dairy products and eggs (after beef) and, to a lesser extent, by preservatives and coloring agents, ingredients that are found in almost every industrial biscuit.
Can I give my dog biscuit?
If your pet is even slightly overweight, tends to be overweight or is already obese, dog biscuits should be completely banned from his diet. Rare exceptions, such as a holiday or a veterinary visit that requires a little encouragement, may be allowed by giving preference to "healthy" biscuits, but I strongly advise you not to take lightly your dog's weight problems, which can have dramatic consequences, including diabetes.
Sensitive, allergic or intolerant dogs are in the same boat: no biscuits for these dogs, without exception, unless you have the approval of your veterinarian. However, it is worth noting that some dog food brands offer biscuits specifically designed for intolerant dogs: this may be an option, provided you know the source of your dog's allergies and have your vet's approval.
On the other hand, if your dog is a healthy weight and has no food intolerances, allergies or sensitivities, you can give him biscuits occasionally as a reward or simply to please him. One golden rule: don't overdo the good stuff and don't fill your dog with biscuits just because they're light or "homemade", because that doesn't make them any less harmful to his health in the long run.
In fact, dog biscuits are still biscuits, i.e. foods that are mainly rich in carbohydrates, sugars and fats, although there are many recipes that allow you to vary their composition. Although carbohydrates are not bad for our dog friends and are even a good source of energy, they can be a problem when they are too present in their diet to the detriment of proteins.
What biscuit should I give my dog?
It goes without saying that dogs should never eat human biscuits, which are not easily digestible for them and may even contain animal-killing poisons that we humans tolerate (chocolate, xylitol, etc.). If you are going to give your dog treats, make sure they are made for him or her and do not contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
The best way to do this is to make homemade biscuits, strictly following dog-friendly recipes to avoid anything toxic to our pets (onions, chocolate, coffee, garlic, etc.). You can also turn to industrial products by choosing good quality treats and avoiding products containing too much sugar, fat and chemical agents.
For special cases (sick, overweight, allergic dogs, etc.) it is advisable to choose special biscuits according to the recommendations of your veterinarian.
Alternatives to dog biscuits
Ideally, all dog treats should be avoided, whether they are biscuits, candies or table scraps. Veterinarians agree that varying the diet of our pets tends to promote the appearance of food intolerances and allergies that can lead to health problems, in addition to promoting overweight.
However, rewarding your dog with a little treat is sometimes a must, especially when training your dog. To avoid dog biscuits, which are too rich in carbohydrates, you can opt for natural meat (pig's ear, dried meat, etc.) which is more digestible, rich in animal proteins and less caloric.
So-called "value-added" treats are also good alternatives. For example, chewable sticks can both reward your dog and prevent tartar formation, the bane of our dogs.
Are dog biscuits good for our pets' health?
Dog biscuits, when given in moderation, are not harmful to our four-legged friends. However, they are not really "good" because they are often low in protein and high in carbohydrates, whereas a balanced diet for dogs should be high in animal protein and low in carbohydrates.
When should I not give my dog biscuits?
It is important to avoid giving biscuits to a dog that is overweight, even if it is only slightly, because the weight gain can go very quickly and often leads to much more serious health problems. Finally, caution should be exercised with a dog that has food intolerances, allergies or sensitivities.
Which dog biscuits should I choose?
If your dog has a particular disorder, I recommend that you ask your veterinarian for advice on choosing the right treats. If your dog is healthy, choose biscuits that are low in sugar and fat, and contain as few flavors, colors or preservatives as possible.
What to replace dog biscuits with?
Dog biscuits can be replaced with natural jerky treats to limit the amount of carbohydrates in your dog's diet. Chewable treats designed to maintain a dog's teeth are also good alternatives for rewarding your pet while taking care of his health.
Giving your dog a few treats is often very tempting... even irresistible when your faithful companion makes eyes at you! If a few occasional biscuits are not bad for a dog in good health, it is however advisable to remain reasonable to avoid problems of overweight and food intolerance frequent in our four-legged companions.
How do I choose the best diet for my dog?
For me, the easiest way is to trust the recognized professionals of the sector. This gives you the assurance to give your dog the right products while simplifying your life. For example, I recommend Ollie products.
It is a company with an excellent reputation that prepares customized recipes for your dog, 100% fresh and delivered directly to your home.