If used correctly, treats can be a great asset for puppy training. However, there are important things to consider before offering your puppy a treat. Here are some tips from Louise Murray, DVM, DACVIM and vice president of the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animals Hospital


1. Overfeeding pets with too many treats is the number one mistake you can make, and one which can lead to an obese puppy. It can be easy to lose track of how many treats you’re feeding your pet, particularly if there are multiple family members in the home caring for your pet at different intervals throughout the day. Keep track of the number of treats you give your pet by setting aside a certain number of treats per day and talk to your vet about the amount of treats your pet should have on a daily basis and stick to that amount, regardless of when their daily allotment is reached. Additionally, since treats aren't complete and balanced, they should account for no more than 10% of your puppy's total daily calorie intake.


2. Be wary of dog treats, especially jerky, manufactured outside the United States, as these have been known to cause major kidney problems in pets. It's also important to remain vigilant on FDA recalls reported on the news. Need help keeping up with pet food and treat recalls? Let petMD's Recall Center keep you up to date.


3. Dog treats are extremely useful for modifying your puppy’s behavior, training them to learn something new, reinforcing good behavior, or helping your pet overcome their fears. When using treats to modify behavior and reward a job well done, be careful about the number of treats you’re giving your pet. Break large treats into small pieces and give them to your pet throughout a training session. This will keep them engaged in their task and prevent them from eating too much at one time. It’s also good to keep in mind that a reward for your animal doesn’t always have to be centered on food.


Dr. Lorie Huston