If you were able to ask any pet, particularly the family dog, what sort of treats they’d like, you’d probably expect to hear, “All of them!” Unfortunately for our hungry pets, there are certain treats that may not be well-suited for their health and overall well-being. And the fact of the matter is, treats, while a great reward, should be used judiciously.
Since all pet treats are not created equal, what treats are better for our furry friends? Your team at Long Animal Hospital and Emergency Center is here to take the bite out of choosing the right pet treats.
Tips for Choosing the Right Pet Treats
As the saying goes, you are what you eat. And it’s true that treats can truly impact overall health, as well as pack on the calories, when it comes to our pets. Some treats offer more nutrition than others, and many others focus on a pet’s life stage, weight, size, and, of course, species.
Here are some basic tips to help you in your quest for choosing the right pet treats.
- Check the calorie count. It may be easy to slip a few more treats your begging dog or cat’s way, simply thinking that treats are small in size, so it won’t matter. But, treats can add up quickly when it comes to daily caloric intake. Make sure you stick with lower-calorie treats, and follow the 90/10 rule, which is that treats and pet-safe people food should only comprise 10% of your pet’s overall diet, while the rest is their regular food. Never use your pet’s treats in lieu of a meal.
- Stick with real foods/natural ingredients. For most conscientious pet owners, making sure your pet’s food should is as nutritious as possible, free from additives, preservatives, and dyes, is important. As a rule, it’s a good idea to check the label and look for simple ingredients, which might just include lean chicken or other meats, as well as vegetables and fruit.
- Feed species-specific treats only. While you may be tempted to give your eat-just-about-anything dog the occasional cat treat or vice-versa, these treats, like regular diets, are formulated specifically for the species in question, containing ingredients that are tailored to them. Also, people food is not specifically okay for all pets, but there are some of our foods that can be used as healthy treats in moderation, such as sweet potato, baby carrots, and steamed green beans.
- Pay attention to treat size. When it comes to Fido, most treat packages will indicate whether they are for toy, small, medium, or large breeds. Pay attention. Not only is this necessary for weight control but also for safety. Many treats that are not a suggested size for your pet can result in an accidental choking emergency.
There are many recommended treats on the market, and the team at Long Animal Hospital has a wide variety of treats in our store, like products from Claudia’s Canine Bakery and Charlee Bear. We’re more than happy to help you determine the perfect treat for your special pet pal. Please give us a call or inquire during your next visit!