Critters & Creatures

Are you really rewarding your puppy with that pet treat?

If you’re a pet owner, then you know the wonders pet treats can perform. From training to travelling to showing some extra love to your furry friends, pet treats can do it all.

However, as you journey to the store to pick up your four-legged friend’s favourite treats, there are certain ingredients and products you should know to avoid as a responsible pet owner.

When buying pet treats be sure to reach for low-fat, low-calorie, and hypo-allergenic treats, if your pet has any allergies. Become nutrition-label literate by looking out for ingredients like chicken flavour, chicken meal, red dye 40, or foods with high-corn content, rice fillers, additives or meat-like ingredients.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) also recommends that pet owners be wary of jerky treats, especially those manufactured in China as they can lead to illness and on some occasions can be fatal. If you feed your pets jerky, keep a close eye out for decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea and an increased water intake.

The CVMA also recommends that dog owners should steer clear of pig’s ears as they have a high fat content and can lead to obesity and upset stomachs.

Additionally, as a general rule, be sure to avoid treats composed of large knee and knuckle bones as they can lead to broken teeth or cause a locked jaw.

So, how do you avoid all the hidden ingredients and stay clear of unhealthy snacks? A safe bet for pet owners is to opt for veterinary treats.

“Studies and testing have been done on treats that are sold exclusively at vet clinics to ensure they are of the highest quality and are safe for particular conditions, and to guarantee the quality and ingredients,” said the Gander Veterinary Clinic Team.

You can also choose to use fresh and raw ingredients to treat your furry friend. The Gander Veterinary Clinic Team recommends apple slices, carrots, green beans, and sweet peppers, all of which are treats that can be used in moderation.

Just be sure to avoid foods like grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, cherries, avocado, rhubarb, chocolate, seeds, and nuts.

If you’re creative and nifty in the kitchen, you can also put in the time to make pet treats from scratch. This way nothing but the freshest of ingredients (and a dash of love are used), and you can be aware of exactly what your furry best friend is consuming.

It’s also important to remember that there can be too much of a good thing. Be sure not to overload your pets on treats as this can lead to weight gain. The Gander Veterinary Clinic recommends that for an adult pet, one to two treats a day should be sufficient. A rule of thumb that many veterinarians suggest is that treats and snacks should only make up 10 percent of a dog’s daily calories.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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