Doggy trail snacks worth considering

When I sit down at the side of a hiking trail for a much needed snack break, I always feel better when I have something healthy to offer my dog Oreo. Otherwise, I end up offering him bites of my granola bar, which might not be the best thing for him. People food, after all, is made with people in mind (or so we hope). In fact, many people foods are toxic to dogs. But that’s another story entirely.

Oreo enjoying a hike in Readfield, Maine, on May 22, 2014. He has his treats in his backpack.

Oreo enjoying a hike in Readfield, Maine, on May 22, 2014. He has his treats in his backpack.

To keep Oreo energized during our outdoor adventures, I often bring a bag of treats he likes. If it’s a long hike, I’ll bring his usual dog food (to pour in his collapsable Guyot Designs bowl).

Once, I forgot to pack treats, and when I stopped at a convenience store along the way to the trailhead, I ended up purchasing an $8 bag of jerky — the only thing I could find that was acceptable for canine consumption (aside from a massive box of milkbones, of which Oreo is not a fan).

I didn’t make the mistake of forgetting dog treats again.

So I’m always looking for new trail snacks for Oreo. Variation is the spice of life, after all. He’s a big fan of dog jerky, for example Blue Buffalo natural jerky treats for dogs. It can get pricey, but in general, the more expensive a dog treat is, the better quality it is.

Recently, I came across the ideal treat for Oreo’s outdoor endeavors — Wellness CORE Superfood Protein Bars made especially to dogs. I came across the product in an email, actually, and they offered to send me a sample to review. Well, I guess the sample was really for Oreo.

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. Oreo having a fun time with a photo shoot for this blog in May 2014. He does seem to like the Wellness CORE doggy protein bars quite a bit.

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. Oreo having a fun time with a photo shoot for this blog in May 2014. He does seem to like the Wellness CORE doggy protein bars quite a bit.

When I first opened the bag of doggy protein bars, the “Turkey & Duck with Kale Recipe,” it was to encourage Oreo to behave around house guests. I then forgot the bag on the coffee table and left for dinner. When I returned, only a tattered bag remained. Apparently, Oreo thinks their delicious, and what’s more, these treats are actually healthy for him.

Wellness CORE Super Protein Bars are grain-free and gluten-free, which means Oreo won’t have a problem digesting them. No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives are in the ingredients. And, if your dog is watching his or her weight, it’s only 16 calories per protein-packed treat.

Another pleasant thing I noticed — they don’t make my hands smell like bacon.

Fortunately, Wellness sent me two bags of the protein bars, so I was actually able to bring a bag on a hike as I intended. While exploring a trail in Readfield, I actually was able to use the bars to persuade Oreo to sit quietly while I photographed Canada geese and red-winged blackbirds. Which brings me to another reason why dog trail snacks are worth considering — they help you keep control of your dog while on the trail.

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. Oreo having a fun time with a photo shoot for this blog in May 2014. He does seem to like the Wellness CORE doggy protein bars quite a bit.

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. Oreo having a fun time with a photo shoot for this blog in May 2014. He does seem to like the Wellness CORE doggy protein bars quite a bit.

I’m a firm believer of positive reinforcement, and there’s no better way to reward a dog than to give him something good to eat. Oreo likes to pull on the leash a lot during the beginning of a hike. He’s so excited about being in the wilderness that he pays little attention to me and my commands. So I keep some treats in my pocket, and they certainly make a difference. Throughout the hike, I’ll call him back to me several times and offer him a treat as reward for listening.

To learn about Wellness CORE Superfood Protein Bars for dogs, visit www.wellnesspetfood.com.

Now, if you don’t want to spend money on dog treats, a cheaper option is to make treats at home. There are recipes all over the internet, including my former blog post “Treat Your Dog to Some Homemade Cookies.” There’s also some cool doggy trail mixes made by various companies, and I found a how-to video on homemade dog trail mix. I have yet to try this recipe, but I’m sure Oreo will support any future efforts to do so.

If you have any doggy trail snack suggestions, leave them in the comment section at the bottom of the page. Homemade or purchased, I want to hear about it, and Oreo, no doubt, is willing to try it.

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. Oreo having a fun time with a photo shoot for this blog in May 2014. He does seem to like the Wellness CORE doggy protein bars quite a bit.

BDN photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. Oreo having a fun time with a photo shoot for this blog in May 2014. He does seem to like the Wellness CORE doggy protein bars quite a bit.

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Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.