The use of dog treats other than for food in Australia
A dogs relationship with food is almost unique in the animal kingdom.
There ancestors the wolf were apex hunters (the prime chaser in the forest) and as such they worked at being very good at it all day long. This was their purpose, to hunt, to eat, to reproduce. In between times they had fun, but often as adults the adult wolves dont play, because it is usually seen as a grab for rank in the pack order and so has to be taken seriously and ends up with major injuries.
I mention all of this, as much of what we know about companion dog behaviour comes from what their immediate ancestors did.
You will know from all the other articles on this site that I am a strong advocate of a dog mainly eating a meat diet. Being the most natural and bio available to their body, but there are many other reasons to get meat into a dog besides just nutrition.
Pellet dog treats tend to be grain based and if it wasnt for the oil, salt and other additives would not be even looked at by a dog. If a dog has only eaten pellets, they will not know anything different, and since we have taken away their ability to hunt for food, they are completely reliant on the schedule of feeding we give to them. That is why finding food in the park can be so exciting and important to their minds. But not always the safest way of getting quality nutrition into a dog.
And while humans wouldn’t eat the same cereal for every meal, for life, dogs are expected to do so. This mono source of nutrition is bad for humans and bad for dogs. Meat dog treats provide nutritional diversity.
The reason that dog food companies have to make compressed veggie sticks to clean a dogs teeth is that they core product is causing the bad breath and rotten teeth in the first place as the pellet particles cling to teeth and in-between teeth. That is where we provide beef tendons, roo tendons, and many of the meat jerkies come into play as NATURAL teeth cleaning devices.
I noticed that one of my clients dogs was still guarding a pig’s ear that she was given last week. She is a small jack russell, and while most dog bury treats they dont eat immediately, she is tucking it into her blanket. This is survival mechanism 101 as she doesn’t want to be reliant on another species providing every meal. But that ear will one day rot, so my recommendation to that owner and any owner of a small dog is to either cut pigs ears up or buy pig’s ear strips.
Because a dog’s original life revolved around food it caught, allowing a dog to get back in touch with real food (meat and meat based dog treats) is the most healthy, natural thing you can supply a dog with. Not a plastic toy, not being dressed up, but regularly eating real healthy meat based dog treats.