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Are cat treats safe for dogs?

 

I've seen concern about the high levels of protein but the cat treats I currently have don't have any higher protein than the dog ones. They are much smaller, which I like: a lot of the dog treats seem to be ridiculously large, the size of the end joint of my thumb.

 

What do you guys use and when do you use it? Anything you'd never give a dog/don't feel is safe?

 

I'm using mostly kibble with a few bits thrown in (a chew for a big reward after a recall, couple of bits of something smellier, dog chocolate drops for recall and for getting her happy with scary things). It's just kibble at home for teaching new behaviours. I'm planning on making the liver recipe someone here mentioned when I next see a sale.

 

I don't bring a treat bag everywhere, honestly (no blushing emotocon sadly)- just when I'm going to places that are scary or distracting, or to do the 'unexpected recall reward' thing. I've only really started since my thread here on recall issues. Hence the asking, I've never 'done' treats before much and want to do the 'right' thing.

 

The terrier used to be quite leash-reactive to dogs, now she's pretty good except she strains towards them. It makes a big difference if you can make a big fuss and hand her something smelly for being 'good'.

 

It's the difference between obedience-with-whale-eye, and her looking at me like "There's another dog, look at the dog, it's barking and everything, I get food now!" and mugging me for treats. Now that I have finished frantically trying to justify my cookie-pushing ways...

 

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I mostly use liver - made at home, either chicken or beef - actual chicken, left over bits of meat, string cheese, and hot dogs. For the price of dog treats I could use really good quality steak and still come out ahead. I do use some lower value things like cheerios and kibble, but mostly I just use dog safe people food cut really small. Dehydrated raw food like ziwipeak sometimes, too.


Mostly, though, days Little Miss Reactive Pants has class, she doesn't eat and I just use her food. Her rate of reinforcement in those situations still needs to be pretty high and she easily goes through enough in that hour to make her fat if it happened every week. Recently she's been able to work for a toy in her classes, though, so that should get better.

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Liver's got trendy, and the price has gone up. I'm keeping an eye on the reductions. Two quid for a measly little box, compared to 45 cent for the cat treats or 50 cent for the dog chews I'm currently using.

 

It was 1.50 for the last bigger bag of chocolate drops, but it's lasted 5 months and I'd say it'll last into the first half of May at least.

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Ah, liver here is about 70 cents a pound and a package of the cheap hotdogs is a dollar. So, they're what's cheap for me - also Kylie requires high value treats, unlike most of the others. T

 

Cat treats or whatever should be fine, I mean honestly it isn't as if it's a big amount of the dog's diet and I seriously doubt there's more protein in them than a hunk of steak or whatever. If the dog likes them and works for them and you're not replacing meals with them just go with whatever it likes.

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I would be worried about tarine (sp?) that is in most cat treats and all cat food. It can cause kidney and bladder problems if dogs eat too much of it. My uncles dog had to have emergency surgery because it had crystals in its bladder after eating cat food unnoticed for a couple weeks. It was a chihuahua, but enough could still effect a bigger dog.

 

Regardless it is still cheaper to get meat and boil or dehydrate it or just chop up hot dogs. The best part is you can make it whatever size you want.

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Blue Buffalo makes these tiny little "training" treats that we use. They're very convenient because they come in a ziplock baggie so I just stuff them in my purse and go. They're all different flavors so Callie thinks they're high value because we always get different smells and tastes so she doesn't know what she'll get next.

 

I often get bum rushed for treats when she knows she did something good. My friends' dogs harass me for treats too because they've learned that I always come prepared to spoil them (with owners' permission, of course).

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For recalls I use anything I have that the dog will find valuable. The other day I took a pizza crust out on our walk and that was his reward. ;) I've taken a bit of bacon from my husbands stash, smoked sausage, etc.

 

Zukes are great for training but pricey if you use them a lot. Chicken breast, cooked and cubed tiny makes a good treat too. I'm guilty of taking those free kibble samples at stores just to use as training treats as I don't feed kibble as a diet.

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If your dog tolerates dairy, (Gibbs doesn't - his only flaw) cheese cubes spread on a cookie sheet and frozen/dehydrated are great. They don't get slimy once they've really dried out. You could use a dehydrator, too.

 

I'm going to experiment with a rotisserie chicken from Costco - 5.99. I'll slice the chicken and freeze dehydrate it, saving some for people treats. Use the carcass for soup. Tasty, economical, easy. I've just managed to make myself hungry.

 

Not worried about the salt. G will get so little day to day I don't think it's an issue.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

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If you're not feeding a lot of it, I don't worry too much. I even use hotdog and sausage and meatballs sometimes. Baked or rotisserie chicken is good. I would be wary of too too much of these kinds of things because of salt. but a small bit? Not an issue. I like having GOOD stuff on me at trials and classes.

 

Freeze dried lung, liver, meat, etc. My dogs like Buddy Biscuits for actual store bought treats. I like to mix kibble with some smellier stuff and use that too.

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@Laurelin - YES, the freeze dried stuff! Callie is obsessed with her dried lamb lung. We keep it in a storage box on top of her crate and she'll sit there and stare at the box until I give in and do some tricks so she can earn a bit. It's also the go to treat when she's finally doing something we REALLY like such as our continued no-guarding-the-stolen-things training when she easily gives up something she used to be super snarly about.

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I buy a package of the cheapest hot dog available. I cut each into quarters the long way. Then I chop each into thin bits - sort of rounded quarter-circles. Then I nuke them in batches on High for ~7 minutes. And store them in a zipplock baggie. I keep a handful in my left pocket when I walk Dixie (the right pocket has the poop bags).

 

THey are "high value" for her. Heck, the cat plunders for them. I like that they are small but special. I want to reward her without making her a pudge.

 

If she behaves when I meet a neighbor, she gets one. We joke that she loves Elvis because we see him often, and if she doesn't eat him, she gets a treat. If she ignores the Muscovie boys (which takes great restraint on her part), she gets a treat for each. If she spots a squirrel but doesn't try to pull the leash out of my hand or me down the lawn face-first, she gets a treat.

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Liver is 3x that price here at least, CptJack, hot dogs tend to be $2-3 up a package. And I haven't been able to find any freeze dried lung, though I've managed to thoroughly confuse several pet shop owners! :D So meat's probably cheaper per weight, but cost-per-package is lower and shelf life is longer for cheap dog and cat treats.

 

Is part of this an irrational desire not to have to handle anything 'icky' or 'greasy' on walks? Probably yes!

 

Nancy- 7 minutes? Is the idea to kind of dry them out?

 

Not much opportunity to use them on today's walk, everyone was awful. Oh dear...

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I used to use hot dogs too, but found myself hating the process and clean up that came with cutting them up into little pieces. And if I didn't use them fast enough, then they go bad.

 

Now I just buy a pound or two of Zuke's Mini treats. They're the perfect size for training since they look like kibble, which my pup only wants in his bowl. A bag of these will last me for a week or two of training with daily use.

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Tiny cut up pieces of hot dog, same of cheese or roast chicken, Pet Botanics or Authority or some other dog food that comes in a roll like a huge sausage and I also cut that up into tiny pieces. I have used liver but too much of it will give a dog the runs so I don't use it much, or just mix a few pieces in with a bunch of other treats to make them smell yummy. The biggest problem I have is that any treat I use, once cut up small any pieces that don't get used up pretty fast go bad quickly. I have used commercially made semi-soft dog treats at times when I am going to be training or performing outdoors in warm weather because they have preservatives in them and won't go bad. Of course, I don't like to use them a lot just because of the preservatives, so I reserve use of them just for when something else would spoil too fast, like doing an outdoor fair with 3 performances that day.

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Yes, nuking the pieces kind of dries them out so they are not soft and sticky. At 8 minutes, mine get too crisp.

 

Then again, our microwave is at the top of the garrage attic stairs and used for nuking dog treats and our broth cubes for our rice. And it dates back to the mid 1980s. I prefer cooking methids that leave the kitchen swamped in great smells. And we've been retired since 2000.

 

By the way, if you leave a handful of treats in a pocket, they do dry even more. Unless the cat can get at the pocket. Then you might need to do some mending.

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Heh, I'm kind of terrible, but I just use Kieran's meal as treats. Otherwise, with the constant treating they do at agility and flyball practice, he'd get fat in no time, even with the exercise. Although, I was having teeter issues last weekend, so one of the people there suggested hot dogs to me. Since Kieran is a nut about food, I think he might just learn how to fly for something like that.

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I use mainly dried liver and heart because it is the one thing I've found that is reliably on hand and motivates Duke to train. We raise five beef cattle a year for ourselves and our extended family so there usually isn't much shortage. I cut it into thin strips and dry it in our food dehydrator, then break it into little bits.

I also use kibble, hot dogs, and anything that ends up in the chicken scrap bucket that the dogs might like.

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Ohh yes the food rolls are great too. They are more the consistency of a standard treat, but you can chop them into whatever size you want. I use the natural balance rolls whenever I catch them on sale.

 

I like the food rolls as well, but I actually now prefer the Happy Howie's meat rolls. There isn't much in them and they are made to be used as treats. They cut up way better then the natural balance (no crumbling). You can get a 2lb beef roll for less then $7 on jefferspet.com. For Archer, these have a similar value to hot dogs, but they are way less messy for me and also store longer once cut.

 

But for high value treats, Archer needs something freeze dried. The lamb lung for Merrick is great, but Archer's favorite by far is the freeze dried raw beef from Sojos. It's stupid expensive, but it is the best treat I can use in highly distracting environments and also great for working on games like 'Look at that!' I always chop up the pieces smaller to make the bag last longer, and Archer will be glued to me when I break these out.

 

Then I tend to always have a bag of Zukes minis around so if I don't have something prepared, then I can just grab a handful of those. I also have a bag of Max&Ruffys minis because Archer's loves them. I use kibble for free shaping sessions at home.

 

But to address the question about cat treats for dogs... no idea. I wouldn't see any issue with that, but it may depend on the treat. Something like the Cat-Man-Doo dried bonito flakes were made for cats, but dogs love them (never used them myself). As for treat size, there tends to be lots of options for smaller treats (not sure what your options are in the UK though). Even if I buy something that tends to be larger, like anything freeze dried, I will chop those up to be smaller. Then as for what I feel is unsafe, basically the stuff on this chart. I've feed my dog lots of other stuff though just trying to figure out what he would work for. Sweet potato chips, dried fruit, frozen blueberries, various meats and cheeses. I do avoid foods with added sugars though (hard to tell sometimes), for both me and my dog. The amount of sugars added to a lot of foods in the US isn't really good for us, but can be even worse for dogs if they are feed that stuff too much.

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Chicken gizzards, if you can find them. Boil them for 15 minutes or so, drain and cool a bit. Slice them and bake at 300 for 45 minutes to an hour, Turn them a few times so they don't stick. Turn the oven off and keep them in for another half hour or so. They dry out and are great. Billy loves them. I cut up and bake a hot dog too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally managed to get a package of liver on sale for the price of a bag of dog treats. I pulverized it, mixed with oatmeal, flour, and leftover brown rice, and slow-cooked it. Ekes it out a bit more, and I got the recipe from some of the older threads here.

 

I have gone to the dark side, and now have liver brownies!

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