Obesity in pets is a major health concern. Just as with people, canine obesity can lead to serious health problems. Diabetes, pancreatitis, arthritis and heart disease are just a few of the problems that we see in our “robust” pets.
While many pets are fortunate to stay naturally slim, there are those who seem to get fat with little effort. And then there are those accomplished actors who make you think they are constantly starving. Trust me – most of them are not. I would love to eat chocolate all day but fortunately I understand the health risks that come with chronic caloric intake. My shepherd does not care about these risks no matter how many charts I show him. It is therefore up to us (as owners) to be strong and ensure we are monitoring how many calories we are feeding our pets so we can keep them at a healthy weight.
Here are a few suggestions for offering your pet some healthy alternatives when you want to give them a treat.
If your pet has any type of weight problem (underweight as well as overweight) please check with your veterinarian to rule out possible causes. If your pet has dietary restrictions, discuss giving any new food with your vet.
Vegetables Many pets just want to action of being given a treat as opposed to the treat itself. Therefore, if you act like green bean is a delicious food, your pet is more likely to believe you. Try offering your dog some of the raw vegetables below. Many pets love them and you can mix them into their normal diets to help them feel fuller.
· Raw green beans
· Raw baby carrots
· Raw cucumbers
· Watermelon – avoid seeds
If your pet is on a prescription diet from your veterinarian, sometimes treats have to be eliminated. Ask your veterinarian if a canned formulation of the diet is available. Most companies do make both canned and dried versions. Remove the food from the can in one large piece. Use a cheese slicer or knife to cut 1/4-inch slices and put them on a cookie sheet. Bake them at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until they are crispy, like a cracker. This gives your pet a crunchy treat that stays within the diet plan.
Many pets have allergies or food sensitivities. In these cases, look for treats labeled “Limited ingredient” or “Hypoallergenic”. Luckily, the ones we recommend are also low calorie. For instance, dogs are usually allergic to the protein sources in their food (chicken, beef). Therefore treats such as those from Natural Balance, (Natural Balance L.I.T. Venison Treats) are a good option. These come in several different flavors and are low in calories. They are also easy to break in half so your dog feels as if he is getting 2 treats!
Some of our favorite dog cookies are fruits and vegetables in disguise. Fruitables Baked Dog Treats are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, high in fiber and less than 9 calories each, which means guilt-free indulgence for your pup.
These are low calorie and most cats like the crunchy texture.
They have a unique shape which helps clean their teeth and reduce tartar, while also serving as a cat breath freshener.
Tricks to Help Medicate Your Pet
Getting your pet to take medication can often be difficult. A great option for covering up the taste of a pill is ,Pill Pockets. The duck flavor tends to have an odor that dogs and cats enjoy. Although humans may not appreciate it as much. They also come in other delicious flavors such as peanut butter and chicken.
Bananas are another great option for hiding medications! They are usually tasty enough to cover the flavor of the pill but also low in calories. Healthy, but sneaky!
Playing With Your Food
Having toys that deliver food to your pet can be a lifesaver. Everyone needs a break, especially after cooking a great meal for yourself. A treat dispensing toy is a great way to keep your pet occupied while you eat your meal! (And it keeps those cute “begging” eyes away from your plate). These toys also encourage your pet to burn calories while eating.
Tug-A-JugnPerfect for overly eager eaters; use as a kibble-dispensing feeder to make dinnertime fun while encouraging a better meal pace for your dog
Another option for eager eaters! Your canine friends roll this ball around and kibble falls out of strategically placed holes in the ball.
Stuff or freeze favorite treats inside to keep them entertained and stimulated
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