Picking the Right Kinds of Treats for Your Pet

by The Pet Care Guy on November 27, 2010

One of the best parts of being a pet owner is giving our dog or cat his favorite treats. But as the owner, we’re responsible for making sure that the special treat is safe for our pet to consume.

Store-Bought Treats

There are plenty of choices in pet food or grocery stores when it comes to treats. Although it’s tempting to assume that since it’s on a store shelf, it must be safe, do take the time to check out the ingredients.

Try to avoid treats that have a lot of by-products, preservatives, artificial flavors and/or colors, and fillers. Avoid treats that use too much corn, wheat, and soy. Dogs and cats are meat eaters and do better with meat as their source of protein rather than grains.

Some believe that these cheaper sources of grain protein also cause too much stress on dogs and cats’ digestive systems, and that they cause allergies.

Many treats taste great to our pets because they are high in fat, calories, and artificial ingredients. I usually avoid treats that contain many ingredients that I don’t recognize. And just like human treats, moderation is important.

One popular item commonly sold is pig ears. Although dogs love them, I don’t like giving it to them. For one thing, they are very hard and brittle, which can cause problems such as an intestinal obstruction, choking, or upset stomach. They are also high in fat, and may contain artificial ingredients. There has also been past problems of pig ears being a source of Salmonella bacteria.

For pet treats, keeping it simple is best. One of the treats I like to give my cats is freeze-dried salmon. It’s just salmon, no additives, fillers, or artificial ingredients. And they love it!

“People” Food

It’s hard to resist giving your pet just a little bit of your own food at dinner time when he is just sitting there, staring at you. Most people do acknowledge that feeding table scraps to pets is not a good habit to create, so you should avoid this practice.

Some people like to give their dogs bones. Although there is some debate about the safety of giving dogs
bones of any kind, some people think raw bones are an acceptable addition to your dog’s diet. Remember
that you should NEVER give your pet cooked bones, especially chicken bones. When cooked, bones become
brittle and dangerous for your dog to eat. It can cause choking and internal blockages.

Raw bones are actually softer, and chewier. They will not splinter. Just be careful of what part of the bone you give your pets. If you want to give your dog a raw bone, consult with your vet first. And if you do decide to go ahead with it, be sure to supervise your dog while he chews on it.

Even though raw bones are safer, some dogs will not chew them, but will rather swallow big chunks of bone, which is not safe. If your dog swallows big chunks of the bone, or any other chew treat or toy, then do not give them that treat or bone. It is far too dangerous.

With all the different options, it can be difficult to decide which treats are the best for your pet. And a lot of treats do not even list ingredients, such as the bulk treats. When in doubt about a treat’s ingredients, play it safe and avoid it.

Here is a list of food items you will definitely want to avoid because of toxicity and/or digestive problems.

AVOID

  • Chocolate (and anything else with caffeine)
  • Onion, garlic
  • Cooked bone
  • Artificial sweeteners (in gum/candy)
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Milk/dairy products
  • Nuts (especially Macadamia and Walnuts)
  • Mushroom
  • Avocado
  • Raw egg
  • Raw potato
  • Tomato
  • Alcohol

Here are some food items that are okay to give pets:

  • Lean meat
  • Apple, orange, banana, watermelon
  • Carrot, green bean, cucumber, zuchinni
  • Baked potato
  • Baked bread
  • Cooked rice/pasta

There are more food items that are okay for pets, but just do your research before giving it to your pets.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Puppy Training February 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm

I’m glad I found this post. Whenever our dog Cosmo gets sick, we were told to feed him cottage cheese and/or rice. In your list you have baked potato, bread, some fruits and vegetables – are these recommended if a dog becomes sick, or just for digestive problems in general?

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Rick Delgado February 24, 2011 at 1:23 am

These are just some of the people food items that your dog can eat. Just make sure you do not use seasonings, butter, or oils on these foods when you give them to your dog. Also, don’t overdo it. They still could make your dog sick if you give your dog too much. And, make sure you realize that if you give your dog fruits, veggies, etc, that this is extra calories. Watch that your dog does not get too many calories over time.

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