My 14-year-old Jack Russell has recently had the majority of her teeth removed. She also appears to have an issue with her gums, which is currently under investigation. Despite this, she still absolutely loves food and it hasn’t affected her appetite one bit. She is on a soft, wet complete food now, but I would still like to treat her from time to time. I don’t want to give her hard, crunchy treats that she won’t be able to manage. What are my treat options?
Wolfgang Dohne advises…
I am time and time again amazed by how well a lot of dogs can eat even dry diets after extensive dental procedures or after losing a considerable number of teeth. The fact that quite a few dogs eat much better right after tooth extractions often just shows how much pain they must have been in with wobbly or decaying teeth.
There are, however, a few treats you should stay clear of, which include rawhide chews, antlers and marrow bone. So, what are the alternatives?
The most simple and straightforward treats are pieces of plain, boiled chicken or white fish, which you can cut into smaller cubes and store for a few days in the fridge.
Another irresistible treat for most dogs is plain biltong or beef jerkies. The advantage with these treats is that you can store them much longer in a cool, dry place and they won’t need any refrigeration. Most pet shops offer freeze-dried fish or liver treats that also do not require any refrigeration.
Several sorts of ‘human’ food are also absolutely fine to give, providing they are only ‘treats’ – for example, small pieces of UK-produced frankfurter sausage work very well (but wash the brine off first to reduce the salt content). Cheddar and soft cheese in small quantities are great and if you want to make your own doggie treats, you might consider mixing unsalted minced pork, lamb or beef with an equal quantity of soaked old (but not mouldy) bread, which you then fry in small balls in a frying pan with a tiny amount of oil.