Trick or Treat!

Posted on: October 30, 2013
Tags: Weight loss
Treat bowl

If your dog could have his way, your Trick-or-Treat bag would be in trouble! Most dogs, just like people, are all too eager to eat when it comes to food that isn't so healthy. Unfortunately, a lot of owners make the problem worse by sharing their own bad habits--cheese burgers, Doritos, bacon... you name it!

Not only does junk food add too many calories and help pack on pounds, but the high fat content of some of these foods can also lead to intestinal upset, or even pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening illness.

Ok, so bacon is out. What should you give your pet when a treat is deserved?

Many types of fruits and vegetables make great treats. They are low calorie, high fiber, and crunchy. Baby carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes and apples tend to be very popular! They can be raw, cooked (just avoid fat and seasonings!), or even dehydrated. PLEASE be aware that raisins, grapes, garlic, and onions should be avoided—they may cause very serious illness, even death.   

Cats don’t tend to be big fans of veggies.  If you desire a treat for your feline friend, very small pieces of cooked (again, lean and non-seasoned) chicken or fish can be a great motivator.  Be careful, though; the majority of pet cats are already overweight, and really don’t need any treats!

Another trick is to use your pet’s kibble as a treat.  This won’t work on everyone, because some cats and dogs know that if they hold out, we will feel bad for them and reach for the good stuff!  But for many, you can take a handful of kibble out of what you would have fed for a meal, and use it for rewards for good behavior.  This is an especially useful trick if your pet is on a restricted diet for health reasons and can’t eat normal treats.  Alternatively, if you have a canned food available, you can slice the food into thin discs and bake them in the oven until crunchy.

Any type of treat you use should be in moderation.  A complete and balanced diet should account for at least 90% of the calories eaten; up to 10% can be from supplemental things like veggies or other treats.  Always remember—your pet may crave treats, but they also crave your attention and affection.  A good petting and some praise will make them forget all about that treat!

Call us if you have questions about treat-ing your pets!