We pet parents love spoiling our fur babies with tasty cat and dog treats! But this should be controlled. Vets will tell you the exact same point. No matter how much your kitty or pup loves treats, it's not just the flavors that you should take note of. Nutrition plays a key role in the whole thing, too!
It really doesn't matter if you have a puppy or a senior dog or perhaps a kitten or an older cat. Nutrition is the foundation of our pet's overall health. The food we feed our fur children—this cover anything from treats, snacks, and chews—can either have a beneficial effect on their overall quality of life or the other way around.
Why You Should Be Meticulous About Cat and Dog Treats
Obesity is a common health issue that affects dogs and cats. And the biggest reason why this problem persists is that a lot of people tend to give their fur babies a lot of cat and dog treats!
And while giving your dog or cat delicious treats is not a bad thing at all (they deserve them, too, given the happiness and fulfillment they bring to our lives), some people just go overboard with the whole thing. A supposedly single chew already becomes a lot of cat or dog treats!
Besides giving their dogs or cats snacks and chews more than they can handle, they also go for whatever brands that they can get their hands on when they shop. This makes their pets prone to abrupt weight gain, obesity and a number of serious health issues, among other things.
Maximize Nutrition Without Sacrificing Flavors of Snacks and Treats
One important factor to consider is to go for low-cal tidbits made from nutrient-packed whole foods. It supports the overall diet and health of your puppy, older dog, kitten or senior cat. This is specially true for growing puppies and kittens that need all the nutrients they can get, particularly from snacks and treats.
We asked dozens of vet and pet nutrition experts from around the world to give us their best homemade dog and cat treat hacks. From frozen “pup-sicles” to fresh veggies, these no-bake small dog and cat treats recipes are healthy, easy-to-prepare, and more affordable than the store-bought stuff.
Your dog or cat will definitely want to get his paws on these delicious treats! But before we check out what these are, let's first go over why treats are important when you've got a pet as a member of the family.
Importance of Cat and Dog Treats
Treats for dogs and cats aren't just there to give your pet a burst of flavor during special occasions or as a reward during a memorable milestone, like when pup finally achieved a training achievement, for example.
Peanut butter dog treats and similar pet chows help remind our dogs and cats that we love and care for them always. However, we have to keep watch that these cat and dog treats should be appropriately formulated for our fur babies when we take a trip to the shop.
Besides being enriched with calcium (good for dog bones!) and other nourishing factors, these treats should also have the flavor our pets love—there's chicken, bacon, honey, sweet potato, apple, egg and blueberries, just to name a few. A reasonable price tag should be considered as well.
There are even cat and dog treats that offer flea protection and repel other parasites while at it! Whether you're planning to give cat and dog treats as a reward during training or to supplement the diet of your kitties or pups, keep in mind that flavor is not the only thing to consider.
When you shop for cat or dog treats, always remember that these can have a significant effect on the overall quality of life of your pet. Treats like biscuits or dog chews containing possibly toxic ingredients should also be avoided. Decide properly at all times!
Some Quick Reminders About Choosing the Best Cat and Dog Treats
Buying cat and dog treats isn't just about grabbing the first thing that you see when you're at the shop. Flavor isn't the only thing you should consider when buying treats for dogs and cats like biscuits and chews.
Thinking of getting your hands on peanut butter dog treats or some cookie rookie-inspired chews for your cat soon? Here are a few no-fuss guidelines to remember the next time you shop for cat and dog treats:
Read the label.
The next time you're buying treats for your puppy or kitty, check the label thoroughly. It basically allows you to go over very important aspects of the treats for dogs or cats that are available.
Besides giving you an idea of the shape and texture of the cat or dog treats (if they're crunchy or chewy), reading the label also allows you to determine the flavor as well as the ingredients used to make them. Always go for options that you know your veterinarian will approve!
It's not uncommon to see apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, wheat flour, chicken, bacon and honey in the ingredient list of most cat and dog chews and treats these days. Additionally, checking the label also gives you the opportunity to spot ingredients that may be toxic to your pup or cat like xylitol.
Don't forget to do your research.
There are a lot of brands that you will encounter at the store when buying treats for cats and dogs like crunchy biscuits and other flour-based products, whether you're at a physical shop of browsing online.
Make it a point to compare ingredients and check if the price tag is reasonable, too. Like I emphasized earlier, there are a lot of cat and dog treats that contain sweet potato, peanut butter, pumpkin and bacon.
Remember to only go for treats that are appropriate for your dog or cat. You can also click here to check out a comprehensive list of the things your dog can and cannot eat just to be extra sure when you're ready to shop for dog treats.
Homemade dog treats and cat treats are better options.
While there are a lot of treats for cats and dogs that you can buy from the shop, you can actually make your own homemade dog treats made from the same ingredients and flavor profiles like pumpkin, peanut butter, bacon and several types of fruit.
These homemade dog treats include dental chews, biscuits as well as other flour and dough-based edibles made specially for your dog or cat. You can customize them to really fit your pet's preferences, too.
Just to elaborate, you can decide on the flavor (my dog loves peanut butter), choose the texture of the biscuits (if they're crunchy or chewy), the type of treat (like dental chews), when to give them (during training or as a post-dinner dessert) and how much flour or dough to use.
You can also find ways how to make the most out of the ingredients for the benefit of your dogs and cats based on their price. Remember, too much of a good thing like peanut butter dog treats can already be counter-productive regardless of the price.
Can Cats Eat Dog Treats, Too?
The short answer is yes. Dog treats are also safe for cats. Just keep an eye on the amount of protein that they contain since cats and dogs have different daily requirements. Remember not to switch dog treats and cat treats on a permanent basis since this can already have an effect on the overall health and wellness of a dog or cat.
How Much Dog Treats Can Your Dog or Cat Eat?
The best way to determine the ideal amount is to check the label of the cat treats or dogs treats before serving. Here's a quick guide on differentiating portions for dog treats. Go for the usual portion for dogs while divide it in two for cats.
Quick Question: Are Peanut Butter Dog Treats Safe?
Of course! Peanut butter dog is considered as one of the most popular flavor options for dog treats not just for its flavor, but also for its health benefits. Peanut butter can also be integrated with flour to make a lot of dog treat varieties.
Homemade Dog Treats You Should Know (Safe for Cats As Well)
“Frozen bone broth with a bit of raw goat’s milk is always a favorite,” she says, adding, “I'm not anti-treats. I'm pro qualitytreats—in moderation.”
Frozen banana slices
If Kitty or Fido is a fan of anything frosty, Christina Ottaviano of Woofs and Whiskers Pet Care in Pennsylvania recommends freezing some banana slices and tossing them to your pal. The fruit is full of potassium, as well as fiber and other vitamins.
However, it’s also high in sugar, so don’t feed your pet more than a slice or two at a time!
Dried sweet potatoes (a mainstay ingredient in most dog treats!)
These healthy bites are tasty, chewy, and a pet favorite! Becky Mobley of Wild Kingdom Pet Supplies in Texas adds that they’re full of nutrition, to boot. “Sweet potatoes are great for digestive health because they’re high in dietary fiber,” she says.
“They’re also low in fat and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese, [and are] rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene.”
Does your loyal companion prefer something crunchy? Melissa Whitton of Most Valuable Pets in Kentucky suggests using carrots as a low-fat dog treat. They’re full of benefits that are especially good for vision, plus pups seem to love the taste!
Other veggies that make wonderful treats for your four-legged friend include green beans, pumpkin, broccoli, zucchini and cucumbers.
Take Chicken Dog Treats Up a Notch (Recommended for Cats, too!)
Janis Gianforte of Nupro All Natural Supplements says that chicken livers are “a good health-boosting treat.” This drool-worthy snack is packed with protein, however it is high in fat, so overweight pets should only get a bite or two.
Dogs or cats who are already on a raw diet can eat livers raw as long as its from a safe source, like a trusted butcher. The livers can also be cooked, which is the safest bet for non-raw eaters. As mentioned, you can get livers from your local butcher or from the meat counter at a specialty grocery store.
And the next time you buy a whole chicken or turkey, don’t toss all the giblets (pets can eat the gizzards and heart, too; necks should only be fed uncooked, so save those for raw eaters only!). So, be sure to set these organs aside for your furry friend!
We get it: sometimes, you just need the convenience of pre-bagged treats, and that’s fine! If this is the case, Johnna Devereaux of Fetch RI in Rhode Island says that natural, single-ingredient bites are the best dog and cat treats you can get.
“Any type of naturally-dehydrated, single-ingredient organ [meat], if sourced responsibly and from an animal fed properly, is a great treat,” she says.
Bites of Pre-Made Food
Here's another easy snack hack: Buy some soft, all-natural pet food—the kind that’s packaged in rolls—then cut it into cubes and stick them in the freezer.
“Try buying a rolled dog [or cat] food (like Redbarn's Grain-Free Chicken Rolls) and using it as a training treat,” suggests Kyle Goguen of Pawstruck.com. “You can slice the roll up into bite-sized squares, then freeze it. Use those as treats, and your [pet] won't even realize that you're just feeding him or her nutritious food!”
See, your pup or purring friend can have their natural treats—and eat them, too! It’s just a matter of finding something as tasty as it is healthy, and of course, practicing moderation. Remember, there are also lots of other ways to spoil our pets that don’t involve food.
Try “treating” yours to some extra snuggles, a long walk, a round of fetch or feather-chasing, or a new toy.
Our four-legged family members depend on us to keep them healthy, so it’s important for every pet parent to have some background knowledge on pet nutrition. If you're looking to learn more about giving your cat or dog the quality of life he truly deserves using natural means, make sure you contact us as soon as possible.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne is a certified Homeopath with over ten years of experience creating natural products for cats and dogs. She co-founded eCommerce brand, Zumalka in 2013 with her husband Matt and is on a mission to help thousands of animals naturally improve their quality of life and shares her experience on their popular YouTube show. Hence, she created a line of high-performance natural pet supplements to target the root cause of common health issues.
Suzie was influenced by her mother-in-law, who practiced homeopathy and made natural remedies from home. After being on prescriptions for many years for a skin issue without resolution, she wanted to try something new. Her problems were cleared up within a few months of dedication to a better diet supplemented by homeopathic remedies. That's when she knew that homeopathy worked! During this process, she wondered why there weren't better options for pets and soon created a popular line of natural remedies that have helped thousands of pets across the USA.
When she’s not traveling or reading the next personal development book, you can find Suzie snowboarding, working out, or enjoying a daily hike.
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