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Healthy Pet Treats: What To Look For

Aug 17, 2007
If you are a dog or cat owner, you undoubtedly have come across the myriad of dog and cat treats available today. Determining what type of dog or cat treat to give to your pet can be challenging. While there is a wide variety of so-called healthy pet treats; what to look for specifically is the subject of our discussion.

There used to be a time when milk bones would suffice; in most cases they still remain the top choice for most pet owners. However, there are considerations you must make to safeguard the health of your pet. The ingredients in any treat must be the first priority. No doubt your vet will advise you as to the nutritional value of most treats, or you can certainly research their viability on your own.

The caloric intake is the second consideration. Too many treats are not a healthy way to maintain your pet's weight (same applies to humans as well). The ingredients should be of the highest quality. For example: Milk bone treats consist of 15% protein; 12% moisture; 5% crude fat; and 3.5% crude fiber. The size of the dog determines the size of the treat; 1-8 of these treats a day are a good dietary regimen for large dogs. As long as the treats are low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals, there will unlikely be any stomach upset to your pet. Conversely, smaller milk bone treats are ideal for puppies; and a recommendation of 1-3 biscuits a day is sufficient.

Pets are no less fussy than humans. There are some pets who desire certain treats. Certain types of dogs require treat experimentation to ascertain which treat they prefer, especially puppies. Older dogs, however, invite any type of treat with excitement; but in any case, choosing the safest and healthiest treat is ultimately up to you.

Never substitute treats for good nutrition. Feed your pet the best quality food available. It is not advised to give any pet table food, chocolate or any other type of "human" food that will wreak havoc with their digestive system. While it may take a while to determine which type of food your pet finds acceptable; if it is high quality, your pet will most likely settle for it without any problem.

By their very nature, treats are just that; a reward for good behavior or just because you want to give them something special. It's akin to a snack; and everyone enjoys a snack now and then, right? A good way to control treat-giving is to break the treat in half. In this way, your pet will not expect that which he didn't receive in the first place. In addition, this will save you money in the long run, as the treats will last longer.

If your pet has any food allergies, check with the vet who can advise you which treats are suitable. While some pet owners use specialized treats for dental hygiene, the best method would be to simply brush away the plaque and tartar. Another consideration is to ensure that your dog actually chews the treat, and not swallow it whole. Breaking the treat in half or in pieces is recommended.

Pets not only provide unconditional love, but trust that you will take care of them in every facet of their growth process. This applies to their diet as well. As with all healthy pet treats, what to look for as it relates to nutritional benefit should be first and foremost in the care of your pet.
About the Author
Choosing proper treats is only one aspect of holistic pet health care . Learn more about keeping your pet healthy at: http://www.NaturesHealthyPet.com
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