As a dog owner and trainer, I am always being asked for recommendations of natural dog treats and chews. Treats and chews are essential for training most dogs, and chews can also help to reduce plaque on your dog’s teeth and encourage settling (a.k.a calmness), but there are so many on the market.
However, I have found time and time again that Hollings, as a brand, provide the best quality at fantastic prices – in fact, most dog businesses and charities use them for this exact reason!
Why natural dog treats and natural dog chews?
With so many brands fighting to be seen, it can often be hard to know what’s actually good for your dog. An example is one of the best-selling dental health chews, which is easily broken up by a dog and comes pumped with sugar, that can actually worsen your dog’s teeth – and their waistline.
The benefit with Hollings’s natural dog chews is that they are completely clean: they don’t come with any chemical nasties, and the flavour is already so good for dogs that they don’t need any extras to make them palatable. On top of that, you’re allowing your dog to fulfil their natural behaviours and needs, so feeding Hollings natural dog treats and chews leads to a happier, healthier family member.
When I first joined the dog training industry in 2016, I was surprised at how many other trainers were recommending Hollings treats and chews, so I had to work out for myself what the hype was all about. I started by just purchasing a couple of things, including the buffalo horn chew and the beefy bites, and was so pleased with the results. About 90% of the dogs I was working with at the time loved them! This made things like recall training an absolute cinch, and I could keep them happy and quiet whilst I cracked on with my admin. I’ve since gone through almost the entire range – if one of my dogs doesn’t like something, I try a different flavour and bingo! Success!
Even though Hollings brought so much to my dogs, I like to research the brand before I properly commit to them – and what I found out just made me love them even more.
They’re based in Yorkshire and have their roots in butchery and dairy from the 1980s. To this day, they manufacture in Yorkshire and rely on local abattoirs for their produce. You couldn’t find much more local and home-grown than that! What’s even better? They are consistently reviewing their packaging to make it more sustainable and eco-friendly, whilst still delivering flavour and freshness to their customers.
How do I use them?
I always like to have an arsenal of natural dog treats available at any time: this means I can prepare for anything the world may throw at me and my dogs. I rip up the chicken and beef bars and use these when I’m training new skills, such as tricks, obedience, agility, or scentwork. If I need something with more of a punch to it, when working on activities such as a speedy recall, I’ll use the chicken hearts, chicken bites, or beef bites.
Where Hollings really come into their own is their natural dog chews. If I want to quiet and calm my dogs down, but only for a short period, the natural strips (multiple flavours available) are perfect! These are ideal if you want to keep your dog relaxed and distracted when the postman arrives! There are undoubtedly times when I need even more relaxation however, and that’s when I will crack out the dried liver pieces or the bull’s pizzles. Depending on the dog, I can get up to 20-30 minutes peace with these, by which time the dogs have usually calmed themselves down enough to have a snooze on their bed.
On top of all this, dogs are naturally chewy animals. They’ve evolved to chew things, and it’s so important for us to offer them things to chew if we don’t want our skirting boards or our slippers being gnawed. For this reason, I always have a buffalo horn or a smoked bone out – just in case the urge to chew appears, the dogs can satisfy their needs without destroying anything in the process. A super top tip: if you want extra-long relaxation, smear a bit of dog-safe peanut butter in the entrance and freeze it for 24 hours – this will keep Fido quiet for ages, and encourage the natural chewing action in the right place!
A Final Note
Whilst all training treats and chews are so useful, please be aware that there will always be a possibility of choking due to abnormal ingestion: this happens if the dog chews it weirdly, or doesn’t chew the bigger bits well enough. For this reason, we always advise that your dog is supervised when ingesting larger treats or chews. When it comes to the buffalo horns and bones, make sure they don’t ingest any shards that may splinter off as they chew. If you’re looking for something you can leave your dog with whilst you’re away, check out our KONG range (the original KONGs can be lined with peanut butter, just like the buffalo horns, to make them appealing to chomp on and lick).
Author: Alyssa Ralph, Your Dog’s Club Guru