How To Pick The Best Low Fat Dog Treats
There are many healthy treats that you can make for your pets, as well as some do’s and don’ts when it comes to what your dog should eat.
Not everything is healthy for your animals and there is nothing wrong with finding tasty treats that are also ok for your pet.
One thing to keep in mind is that treats should only make up 5%-10% of your pet’s diet. The rest should still come from the nutritious pet food that your pet normally eats.
It can be easy to get carried away giving your pet’s various treats, particularly because they tend to really enjoy them, but just remember, moderation is good too.
There are all kinds of easy treats that you can get or make for your pets, ranging from freeze dried liver treats, to canned green beans.
Make sure to use the low sodium variety if you go with the beans, as the regular ones are not healthy for your pet.
Low sodium pretzels or non-salted popcorn are a couple of other great choices if you want to treat your pet. Rice cakes are another healthy favorite and mini milk bones are an old standby. If you are a cat owner, there is nothing wrong with a little catnip or other cat treats that you find at your local pet store.
Some other low calorie treats for dogs include: apple slices, cucumber slices, zucchini slices, carrot sticks, baked potatoes, sweet baked potatoes, bananas, almonds (unsalted), unflavored cooked pasta, watermelon, broccoli, pumpkin, cranberries, cantaloupe, and blueberries.
Low calorie treats for cats would be: steamed broccoli, cooked carrots or zucchini, asparagus, alpha sprouts, green beans, winter squash, cantaloupe, small amounts of cooked fish, rice cakes, cooked pasta, and unbuttered/unsalted popcorn.
Catnip is a great treat as it is low calorie and easy to grown. Cat grass is something that you can grow yourself in a sunny window, just make sure that you are growing grass that is specific for cats.
Some foods that you should NEVER give to pets include: chocolate, onions, raisins, grapes, chives, avocado, macadamia nuts, yeast dough, and sugarless candy or gum. If your pet should accidentally eat any of these foods, you should contact a veterinarian immediately.
Some pets are on specific prescription diets and in these cases you should always check first with your vet before introducing treats to your pet’s diet. This is especially the case for pets that have food allergies.
The wrong treat and result in health problems for your pet, so always opt on the side of caution. There are many treats that can be made at home from prescription pet food and the recipes are easy to find online. Hill’s prescription pet food offers many recipes on their website for making treats at home for pets on prescription food.
In general, some common sense should be used when giving any treat to your pet:
- Make sure that treats are cut into sizes that are easy for your pet to chew and swallow. Hard fruits and vegetables, particularly things like carrot sticks, can pose serious choking risks for your pet. Use caution and make sure the size of the treats fit the size of your pet.
- Tossing a treat to your pet, particularly a dog, increases the risk that they may choke on it. It is always a better idea to hand it to your dog or put it on the floor, no matter how cute they look jumping up in the air and catching it. It is not worth the potential choking risk.
- You may notice some digestive upsets when you introduce a new food or treat to your pet, so pay attention and if you do notice something out of the ordinary, discontinue the food that seems to be causing trouble. Different pets, especially dogs, have different digestive systems and may react differently to various foods. You may find that one dog eats a certain treat with no problem, while another has digestive issues with the same treat. Like humans, not all dogs are created the same.
Another thing you can do for your pet is to make a kind of trail mix from their favorite treats. This is a great way to make the more expensive treats last a little longer. Making up a mix of liver treats, unsalted popcorn, broken up rice cakes, and low salt pretzels, is an excellent treat for your dog. Store it in an airtight container and it will last for quite sometime. For cats you can do the same mixture but replace the liver treats with catnip.
You can easily make treats a part of your pet’s meal. Just measure out the daily amount of food for your animal and replace some of it with your premade treats.
Many cats or dogs also appreciate getting their treats in a special ‘treat area’ of the house as well. If you make it part of their daily diet they wont be getting extra calories and by feeding them the treat in a special area, it gives your dog or cat something to look forward to.
Teaching your pet to do a trick in order to eat their treat is a great way to get your animal some extra exercise as well. Cats in particular instinctively hunt or stalk their food, so finding a way to allow your cat to do this with a treat at the end is a great way to reduce a cat’s stress from being indoors.
Small changes in your pet’s diet or lifestyle can go a long way to improving their overall health.
The small things you do like adding treats to their diet or a new trick or exercise will make a big difference for your pet.
- Bruce Kelling