Choosing Healthier Treats For Our Pets
We certainly wouldn’t want to feed our favorite, four-legged friends trash, so we want their treats to be the very best that money can buy. Many us remember recent headlines about dog treats being recalled due to multiple illnesses and deaths amongst our pets blamed on these products. These so-called treats seem to be centered around jerky-type pet foods, chews, toys and treats coming from places like China.
Always read the label…….
Reading labels is always a good place to start when buying products for our pets, but sometimes it’s unclear where these treats were actually produced. While the name brand on the package may sound American enough, it still could be manufactured somewhere outside of the United States where the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has no jurisdiction, control over the ingredients, how they’re packaged, preservatives used, etc.
For these reasons, many pet owners have opted for more natural and healthier options when it comes to treating our beloved animals. Some of us may not know that many cats and dogs actually enjoy consuming fruits and vegetables as opposed to pre-packaged treats that may (or not) contain meat.
Let’s first take a look at which of these “people foods” are good for our pets……
● Apples (careful of the skin, seeds, stem and other parts of the core that could pose a choking hazard)
● Apricots (same warning with the rest of the fruits listed below)
● Bananas and Blueberries (careful with too many blueberries that could cause an upset stomach or other unpleasant reaction)
● Cantaloupes and cranberries
● Mangoes and Pears (yummy for the tummy)
● Pumpkin (solid-pack only without added sugar and salt is great for animals with digestive issues or having trouble “passing” something)
● Raspberries and Strawberries (with tiny, unremovable seeds, keep portions down)
● Watermelon (especially during summer months, containing 90% water, they’re very refreshing during this much warmer time of the year)
●Beware of citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes and even pineapple) since these can cause stomach problems due to their acidic nature.
Things we shouldn’t be giving our pets…..
When it comes to vegetables, avoid adding salt and fats (like butter or oil). Great options include steamed or raw asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, spinach and many other veggies. Celery and carrots, especially given to pets in a raw form, helps them with healthier teeth and gums, not to mention all the vitamins and minerals they pack into a very small serving.
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), we already know we should avoid giving table scraps to our pets. But these are also on the radar for any of these other types of food that can be hazardous or even deadly on some circumstances:
Seriously, don’t give your pets the things below this line…..
● Anything containing alcohol (for obvious reasons)
● Avocadoes (although they don’t produce many problems with dogs and cats, they’ve been problematic with other animals and are high in fat – not worth the risk)
● Coconut Oil (the jury is still out since many swear by the attributes of this tropical treat, but many say excessive consumption of these oils can cause digestive issues)
● Grapes and Raisins (scientists haven’t been able to identify an unknown substance in grapes and raisins that causes kidney failure in many pets)
● Nuts (especially fatty ones like the Macadamia variety that causes numerous problems with pets, almost too many to list)
● Onions, Garlic and Chives (another acidic culprit that can cause a lot of damage to a pet’s innards even in small amounts)
We all know better than to give our pets chocolate, but this also includes foods that contain caffeine, which has the same type of adverse reaction with our pets that could be deadly dependent upon the dosage. A Cautionary Tale
Yo. Call your vet first…..
As always, please check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s food intake, daily dietary requirements or treats to ensure they’re safe for your best friend. Also, when introducing new choices into your pet’s palate, start off with small amounts to make sure they tolerate them and don’t have any kind of adverse or allergic reaction to these new foods no matter how healthy they seem.