Many dog and cat owners do not realize how many treats they’ve already given their pet. It’s easy to toss in two, three, or four at a time, especially when your best friend wags his tail excitedly or your kitty quickly scoffs the nice treat and simply loves it!
The big question comes, “Is it okay to give my dog/cat treats?”
The big answer: Yes! But it comes with knowing how to choose the treat, and how much to give your most-loved pet.
Giving treats have many advantages beneficial to a dog or cat, and makes the life of trainers, veterinarians, and animal behaviorists a lot easier. Various occasional treats add variety and gives your pet a taste of different flavors. It helps during training by aiding when teaching commands and serving as a positive reward that can reinforce behavior. Letting your pet have a good treat is a fun way to bond with your four-legged friend and bust boredom.
Firm and hardy treats promote clean teeth as it removes tartar and plaque, while giving your pet fresh breath. Soft and easy to chew treats can help pets recovering from illness or injury get back on track with their normal diet.
However, just like humans, dogs or cats can get overweight if they snack on too much treats, which could mean too many calories. The most important thing to keep in mind the general rule that treats should be no more than 10% of the daily total calorie intake your pet needs.
Smaller pets or less active dogs or cats don’t need many calories, while an energetic animal who likes to play often and enjoy long walks require more calories per day to maintain their ideal body weight.
When it comes to choosing the right kind of treat, it’s fairly easy if you can eliminate the foods to avoid, then streamline your choices to high quality dog kibbles or catnip treats, along with fruits and vegetables. You should also consider the nutritional needs of your dog and cat, which primarily depends on each life stage and any specific conditions they need extra care for. There are products that have been specially formulated, fortified with vitamins and minerals, manufactured with specific aims for particular dogs or cats, while implementing weight control.
Most importantly, every pet owner must know that there are treats that bring sheer joy and it doesn’t necessarily have to be food. Your ever-loyal companion and adorable furball kitty would surely love your attention and time far more than a little treat!