Ask any good dog if they want a TREAT and you’re likely to get an immediate and very excited reaction.  We’ve all seen (and many of us have) the dog that only occasionally complies when they hear the words ‘down’ or ‘stay’ (even though they’ve heard those words a thousand times), but after hearing the word ‘treat’ just twice, their ability to comprehend is astounding! Have you ever asked your dog if they want a CHEW?  Probably not because dogs (and their human companions) consider TREATS and CHEWS to be one and the same.  But are they?  If not, what’s the difference?

Let’s start with TREATS.  In essence, treats are snacks.  Treats aren’t intended to replace a meal; they are given in-addition-to a dog’s daily diet.  Treats are totally consumable and are often used as training rewards – which probably explains why they learn that word so quickly!  Treats are bite-sized snacks that hopefully get chewed but are likely to get gulped in one bite.  When given too frequently, treats add unnecessary pounds to our dogs’ bodies which stresses their legs and joints.

CHEWS, on the other hand, are ‘occupiers’ – i.e., they occupy dogs and relieve boredom, they provide mental stimulation, and they help with dogs’ dental health.  Depending on the type of chew, they can contain vitamins, minerals, or healthy substances like hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate, two compounds that promote glucosamine in dogs; glucosamine promotes healthy hips and joints.

The easiest way to distinguish between TREATS and CHEWS is that TREATS are snacks.  Dogs don’t mind if you refer to CHEWS as TREATS – they’re equal opportunity consumers of both and will reward you with the happiest tails you’ve ever seen!