Finding healthy treats for your dog can be a daunting task. From spending hours researching online to reading countless labels at your local pet store, it can be challenging figuring out what is healthy and what isn’t. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, you can feed your dog a healthy treat using some food found right at your home. By letting them nosh on yummy single-ingredient treats, you will no longer be left in the dark about what your pup is eating.
Here are some of our favorite single-ingredient treats to give your dog. While healthy, make sure you give in moderation.
Sardines pack a powerful protein punch. The tiny fish are a great source of high-quality protein, which can benefit the skin, nails, bones and joints. They also are filled with the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that help maintain a healthy heart and build a strong immune system. And in one study, DHA was shown to help with brain development in dogs.
Make sure you buy sardines that are packed in water (not oil or extra salt), and start out giving small pieces. Keep a bag of these in your freezer for a cool treat on a warm day.
Pumpkin is a great source of fiber that can help your dog with both constipation and diarrhea. Adding a tablespoon to her food can help keep her bathroom habits normal, which is good for everyone.
The oils in pumpkin seeds contain vitamins A, B, C and E, along with zinc, potassium, iron and other minerals, which are known to not only support urinary health and immunity but also give your pup’s coat the boost it has been needing.
If you have a dog who has been struggling to lose some weight then this is a great option for him, as it is low in fat but as filling as other treats. Just lessen your dog’s kibble portion and top off with pumpkin.
Never feed your dog raw pumpkin. Either cook it at home or buy it in a can (make sure it doesn’t have any other ingredients in it).
Related: The Complete Guide To Making Home-cooked Dog Food
You know the old saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. The same is true with our dogs. Apples are a great source of vitamin A and C, with some vets believing the latter can help with degenerative conditions, like joint disease. They also are a good source of fiber, which is great for constipation. Plus, for those dogs with bad breath, this sweet fruit can help freshen breath and clean teeth. All you have to do is remove the core and seeds, as they can upset your pup’s tummy and act as a choking hazard. Don’t give your dog a full apple either, just small slices.
These are the perfect low-calorie, low-fat treat for your pooch — and there are so many ways to give them to your dog. You can go raw or freeze them for a cool treat on hot days. Either way, because they are a firmer vegetable, they can help clean the teeth while your dog enjoys a yummy snack. If you choose to cook carrots, you can mash them up in food for a tasty addition or stuff in a Kong. Besides their versatility, carrots are also great for bowel issues, as they have a ton of fiber, and are rich in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant.
5. Sweet Potato
Just like pumpkin, sweet potatoes help your dog’s digestive system function correctly as they are high in fiber. This extra fiber will encourage regular bowel movements and hopefully eliminate any potty problems. Also sweet potatoes have been found to be great sources of vitamin A which promotes healthy skin, coat, eyes, nerves and muscles in dogs.
Sweet potatoes are a great treat that can be made in large quantities. Just slice up a couple, throw them in the oven on low for about three hours and you’re done. You can store them in the refrigerator for a few weeks, or freeze.
Bananas are a natural sweet treat for pups. They have vitamin B6 and vitamin C, along with potassium, biotin and copper.
“Bananas, especially ones that are on the firmer, starchier side, are a good source of dietary fiber and potassium and are a great mix-in for homemade dog treats,” dog nutritionist Lisa P. Weeth of Weeth Nutrition Services told This Dog’s Life previously. “They are also low in fat and protein, so they work well even for dogs with chronic medical conditions where fat and protein intake need to be watched closely.”
Like most fruits and vegetables bananas can be given to your dog in a number of different ways including mashed in their food, frozen or stuffed in a toy. Just be careful to give your dog bananas in moderation, as they, like all fruits, have sugar.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Bananas?
They may not smell the greatest, but eggs are an amazing treat to give your pup. They are a complete food source, chock-full of protein, vitamins and minerals. And if you crush up the shell, you have added calcium to the equation. Besides being a highly-prized treat for dogs, eggs can also help settle stomachs. Just don’t go overboard, as they are high in fat and cholesterol. Also, make sure to cook the egg to avoid any possible diseases, like salmonella.
Related: The FDA Warns Dog Owners About Certain Food, Including Many ‘Grain-Free’ Diets
Most dogs can’t get enough of chicken, so why not give it to them as a snack? Chicken, which is a common ingredient in dog food, is high in protein but low in fat. It has omega-6 fatty acids to help maintain a shiny coat and healthy skin. It also has glucosamine, which is great for bones. Just make sure you are giving your dog chicken without the bone
9. Red Peppers
Red peppers are a quick and easy way to give your dog a healthy treat. Simply slice them up and give your pup a piece. (You can also freeze them, too). Red peppers have vitamin A, C and E and lots of good-for-you antioxidants, which can be great for the coat and skin. Because they have a bit of heat, make sure you only give your dog at little bit.
Cantaloupe is a great addition to your dog’s treat list, because it is high in water content, making it an easy way to rehydrate your best friend. Cantaloupe is also rich in vitamin A, B6 and C, along with fiber and potassium, which can help with constipation and promoting healthy cell function.
Make sure you give it in moderation, as it is high in sugar. Also, don’t give the rind; it can cause intestinal damage.
Related: From Coconut to Sunflower: Here Are the 5 Oils That Should be in Your Dog’s Diet