Picking the right treats for our dog can be difficult.
Many commercial dog treats contain ingredients and additives that may be unhealthy for him.
Below are a list of non-commercial dog treats that my Shiba Inu and Siberian Husky enjoy. Dog treats are especially useful for training my dogs, and also for grooming. Sometimes, I also use them for food aggression and bite inhibition exercises.
However, make sure to feed our dog a balanced diet.
It is fine to give treats, but always exercise moderation. The bulk of our dog’s food should be high quality commercial dog food (e.g. kibble, canned food), balanced homemade food, or a balanced raw diet.
Sardines are one of the top food motivators for my Shiba Inu. He will almost always work for sardines including go into his crate, tolerate nail clipping or grinding, and much more.
Sardines are also useful for recall training. In order to make the sardines less squishy and sticky to hold, I usually freeze it first. This makes it easier to use during training.
Mackerel is a good second alternative to sardines.
Variety, I find, is important for keeping my dogs motivated. I have also tried salmon and tuna, but my Shiba likes mackerel best.
Some dog owners do not think we should give cheese to dogs. After reading many web articles, it seems that cheese is fine as a dog treat, as long as it is given in moderation.
Try and pick a cheese that does not contain too much salt, or too much fat. Here is what the Pet Food Report says about cheese.
I am currently using Swiss cheese, because it contains less salt compared to many of the other types. Cheese is extremely useful for training new commands, for dog grooming, and to get my dog’s attention when there are other high level motivators around.
The only other treats that my Shiba Inu likes better, are sardines and bacon. However, unlike cheese, sardines are more difficult to use and carry around.
4. Bacon Bits
This is my Shiba Inu’s most favorite dog treat.
Even when he is tired, he will rouse himself for some bacon bits. I only use this when I need my dog to do something he really dislikes, e.g. leave him home alone in his crate.
Do not feed a dog too much of this, because it is high in salt and high in fat.
5. Vienna Sausage
Before using Vienna sausages as dog treats, I make sure to wash all the brine off, and cut them into very little pieces. I only get the plain Vienna sausage, which does not have any mustard or other spicy sauces.
I use Libby’s Vienna sausage because it contains less salt than regular sausages or hot dogs. Microwaving it briefly before use will enhance its smell, and make it more irresistible to a dog.
This is also high in salt and fat. Use in extreme moderation.
6. Boiled chicken
Boiled chicken is probably the healthiest of all the dog treats. It is very digestible and great for feeding our dogs when they have an upset stomach, are vomiting, or have diarrhea.
Boiled chicken is also a very useful evening dog treat. When it is close to my dogs’ bedtime, I only give them boiled chicken so that they do not get too thirsty before they go to sleep.
Unfortunately, the bland taste of boiled chicken only makes it a medium level motivator. However, my dogs still like it much more than their regular kibble, and will do good work for it. Because it is such a healthy treat, it is what I use most with my dogs.
7. Shiba Inu Sephy Special
Mix boiled chicken, Vienna sausage, and some salad greens. Add some cheese and a small amount of bacon bits. Then, I put the whole thing in the microwave so that the cheese melts. The smell of the melted cheese and bacon drives my dogs crazy for this dish.
I use this when I have to apply tick repellent on my dogs.
8. Brown rice
I used to give my dogs cooked brown rice. My Shiba Inu likes rice, and it is a good source of fiber. However, the rice is sticky and not the best thing for dental hygiene. For this reason, I have stopped using it.
Dogs do not have the same digestive system as we do. Therefore, do not assume that a particular food is safe for our dog, just because it is safe for humans.
In fact, there are a variety of human foods, including onions and chocolate that are poisonous to dogs.
Before giving a dog any new treats, make sure to do some research on whether it is safe for dogs.
I only introduce one new treat at a time, so that I keep my dog’s digestive system stable, and can quickly tell which food he is allergic to.
Do not to give a dog table scraps because it may contain onions or some other ingredients that may cause him harm. In addition, table scraps are usually too rich for a dog, and will often result in an upset stomach and diarrhea.
What has worked best for me is to give my dogs a consistent and balanced diet. I cut down on their regular food if I am giving them treats, so that I keep them healthy and at a comfortable weight.
I love your site! Has been really helpful with raising my new shiba. I am currently trying to trim his nails so I was wondering what kind of mackerel and sardines do you use? Canned? Fresh? Cooked?
A reply would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
I use canned mackerel. I make sure to wash it carefully and remove all the bones before using it. I don’t use too much per session, so I freeze the rest or else it will go bad. However, boiled fresh mackerel would probably be even better. I usually try to cook all the food in case of salmonella, etc.