by ANDREW M. STREIBER, DVM

Q:  I’m wondering about dog treats.  I’ve heard that dogs can develop skin disease from food allergies.  I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on what are the best treats available over-the-counter and not necessarily those prescribed by a veterinarian?

A:  Regarding quality treats for your dog (or cat), I prefer the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) algorithm for decision-making.  As I am a proponent of novel protein, gluten-free diets, so too goes my thinking regarding animal treats.  Specifically, I always recommend that the protein source of any treat be a single, novel protein (a protein your pet has not previously been exposed to; something other than chicken, beef, lamb or fish) and one that matches the protein source of the diet your pet is currently being fed.  In addition, like dietary restrictions for many, I recommend a gluten-free treat.  Finally, the added benefits of additives such as glucosamine, chondroiton, MSM, leafy greens, assorted berries, probiotics and vegetables are always beneficial to you pet, its long-term health maintenance and overall preventative medicine. I hope this helps and good luck.