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Healthy Treats for Healthy Pets


Let’s face it, we all love to treat our pets because we want to make them happy! However many store bought treats are high in calories and full of chemicals, additives and preservatives. Before you know it, a few treats here and there can quickly result in significant weight gain, increasing the risk of obesity related illnesses and health problems.


As a general rule, we recommend that treats comprise no more than 10% of your pet’s total calorie intake. By carefully selecting the types of treats you feed to your cat or dog you can reward them without guilt, while keeping them happy and at healthy weight. You’ll find that healthy home-made treats are a lot cheaper too!


Raw and Ready to Serve

Raw fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of nutrition and easy to prepare. They are tasty, low in fat and can also help to prevent boredom. Crunchy vegetables such as carrots are also a great way to help keep teeth and gums healthy.


Don’t forget to cut vegies into bite sized pieces to avoid choking, and always remove the stems and seeds.


Vegetables

  • Carrot

  • Celery

  • Cucumber

  • Broccoli

  • Green beans

Fruits


Fruits have a higher sugar content so should only be fed occasionally. Again, the seeds, core and pit must be removed before serving.

  • Apples

  • Watermelon

  • Bananas

  • Pears


Healthy Home Baked Treats


Try your hand at making some easy home-cooked treats that your pet will love!


Dogs


Easy DIY Sweet Potato Dog Chews


Sweet potatoes are loaded with beneficial nutrients like Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Potassium, and Iron.


What you’ll need:

  1. Large sweet potatoes

  2. Vegetable slicer or sharp knife

  3. Cutting Board

  4. Baking Sheets

  5. Cooking spray for greasing the pans

  6. Oven

Preparation: Preheat oven to the lowest setting. Cut thick lengthwise slices of the sweet potato using a sharp knife or vegetable slicer, about 1/3 inch thick for larger chews. (They will shrink during dehydration.)

Grease your baking sheets and arrange slices. Place on top racks inside the oven and let them dehydrate slowly for several hours.


Cats


Home-made Cat Cookies



These tasty morsels are best made from minced or loaf premium cat food. If your kitty is on a prescription diet this is a great way to mix things up and give them a tasty, crunchy treat that will make them purr!

  1. Open the can and shake the loaf of cat food out of the can.

  2. Cut the loaf into 1/4" thick slices, and then cut the slices into bite-sized pieces.

  3. Bake the cat treats in a microwave oven on high for approximately 2½ to 3 minutes. For a conventional oven, follow the instructions above and place the bite-sized pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until crispy.

  4. Cool completely before storing or feeding the treats to your cat.

(Source: Hills Pet Nutrition)


Frozen Delights

There’s nothing like a cold, icy treat to lick on a sweltering hot day! These drool-worthy recipes will also keep your dog occupied and provide mental stimulation without packing on the calories.

  1. Fill a hollow rubber toy such as a Kong with dog-safe healthy liquid such as chicken broth. (Use a cookie to plug the holes or fill with peanut butter.) Stand the toy upright in the freezer until frozen.

  2. Pour beef or chicken broth into an ice-cube tray and put a piece of dried liver in the middle of each block as a surprise.

  3. As an occasional sweet treat, blend watermelon with plain, unsweetened yoghurt and freeze in a cup or small bowl. Plain yoghurt is safe for most dogs and the bacterial cultures in yoghurt are great for intestinal health.

Top Treat Tips

Counting Calories


Rule #1: Don’t forget to include treats as part of your pet’s total daily caloric intake.


Foods to avoid:


Some foods can be toxic or even fatal if consumed by pets so you should avoid feeding these foods to your dog or cat:

  • Dairy

  • Onions

  • Mushrooms

  • Avocados

  • Cherries

  • Grapes

  • Plums

  • Tomato

Mental Enrichment


Asking your pet to perform a task or play a game before being rewarded with a treat is a great way to burn calories and keep off excess weight. Hunting and working for treats is also fun, providing mental stimulation and preventing boredom.


Try these ideas:

  • Hide treats in chew toys e.g. Kong toy or puzzle feeder.

  • Bury treats in the sandpit or areas of the garden where it’s OK for your dog to dig.

  • Use treats to reinforce training and good behaviour. For example, your dog must ‘sit’ before receiving their treat.

  • Hide dried cat treats in a dispensing toy, or make your own by cutting holes in an empty toilet roll and folding the ends.

Questions?


If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, please book a consultation with our friendly vet nurses. They will weigh and measure your pet and discuss a specific weight loss plan for them.




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