Healthy Snacks to Fuel Your Dog
With more than 53% of dogs overweight in the USA according to the 2013 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey for Dogs we are always looking for easy ways pet owners can help fight obesity in their pets.
Healthy Treats for Positive Training
Treats are an excellent way to help positively reinforce training for your dog, but they can also contribute to weight gain. Portions should be closely monitored and a good tip is to break them up into smaller pieces.
We use Bullwrinkles® and Barnsdale Farms brand chews and treats because they are all natural made with only high quality meats from the U.S and Canada. They are made without additives or preservatives.
The Slim Doggy App and PetsMove.Org let you track your dog’s daily activities (and calories burned) as well as their daily feedings (and calories eaten). This makes fighting obesity simple as you never again have to guess about how much to feed your dog and how healthy they are.
GUEST POST Dr. Eloise Bright of Love That Pet
This Fit Dog Friday we are very excited to collaborate with pet care expert and veterinarian Dr. Eloise Bright of Love That Pet for a guest post. With the many treats and chews available for pets, sometimes navigating the packaging and deciding what to feed your pet can require a degree in nutrition. Many processed snacks, especially those from China can have added fats, preservatives, and artificial ingredients and have been linked to health issues, even death. Making healthy snacks for your pet can be simple and possibly cheaper than buying calorie-laden treats.
Most liver treats or dried meat treats are free from artificial additives and fairly lean. It is also relatively simple to make your own treats using a dehydrator or oven on a low temperature.
Carrot, Pumpkin or Sweet Potato
Using vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin or sweet potato, either raw, steamed or mashed, is a great way of providing a lean snack. Some dogs love the crunch of a baby carrot. Kilo the Pug and I share several carrot sticks every afternoon. Mashed sweet potato or pumpkin is great for adding to Kilo’s evening kibble or stuffing into Kongs for a long-lasting treat. Pumpkin and sweet potato have lots of benefits.
Kilo the Pug really loves certain fresh fruits like melon, banana and watermelon.
Dried Veggie Treats
Another way of using sweet potato or other vegetables such as zucchini is to make veggie chips. Simply slice thinly and cook in the oven on a low heat for an hour until you have some nice crispy snacks. As an added bonus they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. The hwole family shares them.
Make Your Own Biscuits
There are many simple biscuit recipes that allow you to choose your own ingredients and cater to pets with food allergies. For a very basic recipe that can be adapted to suit your dog’s individual tastes, visit her site here.
Many foods can be frozen and turned into crunchy treats. Sardines are easily frozen by laying them on a baking tray and popping them in the freezer. These are great treats for fussy pets and they provide omega 3 fatty acids great for a healthy immune system, coat and skin. You can also make ice-blocks using ice cube trays filled with salt-reduced stock (avoid those that include onion) or the spring water from tuna cans. For a great hot weather activity you can also freeze treats in an old 3L plastic ice-cream tub of water, giving your dog something to lick at for a couple of hours while you are out.
Dogs are certainly very grateful in most cases for any treat we give them. Many eat so quickly that there is no benefit to giving a high calorie treat full of fat and artificial ingredients. Making your own treats is limited only by your imagination and so long as you stay away from these ingredients, your dog will thank you:
Human Treats to Avoid
• Grapes, raisins and sultanas
• Macadamias and certain other nuts
• Xylitol, chewing gum
Also bear in mind when cooking for your pet that dogs don’t require the added salts or sugars that humans crave to satisfy our taste buds. Dogs are also very prone to developing stomach upsets from fatty foods like bacon and many are essentially lactose intolerant so stay away from dairy for the most part.
We hope you enjoy these tasty, lean and healthy home-made treat ideas for your dog. Bon Appetit! For more from Dr. Eloise Bright head over to her site Love That Pet.com
With 7 years of small animal practice and after surviving 5 years of veterinarian school, it’s no surprise that Dr. Eloise Bright has a passion for dogs and all animals. With Pomeranian, Duster, in tote she has practiced in Sydney, Australia with Love That Pet and has taken the opportunity to volunteer at local charity clinics while completeling her Masters in Small Animal Practice. Chat with her on Google+.