When we were new at taking care of dogs and cats, I used to buy a lot of treats for them.
When I learned though that some companies put artificial color and flavor in some treats, I stopped buying a number of popular treats.
When I also learned that rawhide can cause choking in dogs, I stopped giving this to our dogs.
When our dogs grew older, I also removed from their list of treats some products that are not good for senior dogs.
I was beginning to run out of treats to give to our dogs, thus I read up on alternative treats.
My research introduced me to natural and homemade treats.
Here are what we give our dogs and cats:
1. Fresh vegetables (boiled or raw, depending on the veggie) and fruits which are NOT POISONOUS for dogs and cats.
2. Yakult for dogs once or twice a week. This is good for digestion.
3. Boiled ground chicken and grated carrots for cats.
4. Homemade boiled beef or pork or chicken with sweet potato/pumpkin/malunggay balls or patty (baked or put in the oven toaster).
5. Boiled fish and grated pumpkin balls.
We now give more fruits and vegetables as treats instead of manufactured treats. These are more healthy and in the end, less expensive.
Anjali Prasertong, in “11 Healthy Fruit & Vegetable Treats for Your Dog or Cat” in kitchn.com, shared these tips to keep your pet safe and well:
• NEVER give your pet potentially toxic food such as grapes, raisins, garlic, onion, avocado and chocolate.
• Cats do not like fruit because they do not have receptors for sweetness.
• Do not give too much treat. Treats should not be m than 10 percent of your dog or cat’s daily calories.
Here are the vegetables that are good for cats, according to Prasertong:
5. Green bell peppers
Dr. Deborah Linder, DVM, DACVN, in “Best Food for Dogs and Cats” in eatingwell.com, said: “..the healthiest and least expensive treats for your pet could already be in your fridge! Many vegetables and fruits can provide a perfect chewy crunch. Especially in light of the recent rawhide recalls, asparagus spears and celery stalks are great chew-toy alternatives for dogs. Yes, really! You might need to give it a few tries if your dog is new to produce.”
Linder added: “ Any crunchy or chewy vegetable can also spark a cat's interest. (Zucchini is popular with cats because of the semi-moist crunch.) The only thing cats don't go for is fruit because they lack sweet taste receptors.”
To avoid “unbalancing their diet,” Linder stressed: “Each animal is different, so ask your vet how many calories your pet should get. On average, a slim 10-pound cat should eat about 200 calories per day and a slim 60-pound dog should get about 800 calories per day (meaning 20 or 80 calories in treats, respectively, for your cat or dog each day).”
Linder provided this list of healthy treats for your dog or cat:
• Carrots: 1/8 cup slices (7 calories)
• Asparagus: 3 spears (10 calories)
• Blueberries: 12 berries (10 calories)
• Watermelon: 6 melon balls (23 calories)
• Strawberries: 1 large (6 calories)
• Peaches: 1/2 medium peach (30 calories)
• Zucchini: 1 cup chopped (20 calories)
• Green bell peppers: 1/4 cup chopped (7 calories)
• Celery: 1 stalk (7 calories)
• Cucumber: 1/2 cup slices (8 calories)
• Broccoli: 1/4 cup chopped (7 calories)