We all love a treat, especially dogs. And while we may be able to control the consumptions of our treats, we need to do the same for our pets. It is possible for them to consume too many calories and contribute to unnecessary weight gain. You may not realize how many dog treats you are giving your pet on a daily basis, however too many can definitely affect your pet’s health and weight.
Follow The 10% Rule
Snacks and treats should only be about 10% of your pet’s daily calories. Of course, it is fun to give our pet a delicious treat as a way of bonding with them, however there are some healthier options that work just as well that are not high in preservatives, fat and sugar. Pets enjoy the simple act of you giving them ‘something’ so why not make it healthy for them.
Fruits and vegetables are always healthy alternatives that are low in fat and calories without the added preservatives. Try apple or banana slices, watermelon or berries. Stay away from raisins, grapes, chocolate and onions, as these are toxic to dogs. You do not want to give your pet anything too hard as they can fracture teeth. Rawhide treats are also an option because they get softer as your pet chews it. However do not leave your pet alone when he or she is chewing on it because bits and pieces can get lodged in the throat. If the rawhide treat gets too small, it is good time to throw it away.
Treats At The Pet Store
Look for the seal of approval “VOHC Accepted” that stands for Veterinary Oral Health Council. It means the treat has been studied, tested and approved by veterinarians to be safe and healthy for your dog’s teeth and health. If the seal of approval is not on the label, do not give it to your pet.
Single Ingredient Dog Treats
Here are some suggestions for a single-ingredient treat for your pet:
Apples – slices of apple work well as a treat for you as well as your dog. Make sure they do not have access to the core or seeds.
Dried Apricots – make an excellent sweet treat for your dog if he or she has a sweet tooth. Be careful with portions of this dehydrated fruit as too many can cause a stomach upset.
Frozen sardines – they are loaded with omega 3 essential fatty acids and can be fed to your pet whole for a crunchy treat.
Brown rice – is quite filling and can be added to your pet’s food for added bulk that works well for an upset stomach.
Red Peppers – this may surprise you but they are quite sweet and make an excellent crunchy treat.
Pumpkin – is loaded with anti-oxidants, fiber and iron. Purchase canned, unsweetened pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling) and add a tablespoon or two to your pet’s dinner – pumpkin is often added to many pet treats for added flavor. It also works well to bulk up stool and help with constipation and diarrhea.
Quinoa – is a whole grain that, like brown rice, can be added to food and helps to settle the stomach.
Baby Carrots – can be stored in the freezer for a quick treat that is delicious and cleans their teeth at the same time.
Broccoli or Cauliflower – raw, small pieces can be added to your pet’s food for added fiber and bulk. Make sure you do not give too much of this vegetable as too much can cause gas.
Dog Treats Do Not Have To Be Food
Dog treats are always a joy to give to your pet but they do not always have to be in the form of food. You can give your pet a special treat by spending time with them, teaching them a new trick or simply going for a walk. Spending time with you is their treat.
Reviewed and approved by Dr. David L. Roberts, DVM