The Truth about Your Pet's Treats
You may love surprising your pooch with a treat, but have you ever thought about how many calories are in that extra bone? "I'm not against treats. Treats are an important part of how we bond with our pets," says veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward. But just as it wouldn't be healthy to give your children cake every day, he suggests that dog lovers should be educated before rewarding their pet.
"You can't go to a store and pick up a box of treats and figure out how many calories are in them," Dr. Ernie says, warning that some pet food snacks can range from 300 to 1,100 calories - which can be all the calories a small to medium sized dog may need in an entire day.
Some pet owners give their dog a treat every time they sit or go to the door, but Dr. Ernie shows that this could be the equivalent of you rewarding yourself with a hamburger and fries or several milkshakes every day! Dr. Ernie suggests saving these kinds of treats for holidays and special occasions, and opting for healthier surprises when you want to show your pet some love on a regular day.
Raw Vegetables: The next time your dog does something great, give it a piece of broccoli, a carrot or some kale. "They love vegetables, they like crunchy things!" Dr. Ernie says, with some advice if you choose kale. "The reason that kale helps us with all of those wonderful chemicals in there is because we chew it ... You've got to chop it, add it to their food."
Beans: Fido may not like the look of a bowl of beans, so puree black beans or garbanzo beans and mix them right into his food for extra nutrients.
Frozen fruit treat: Mix a half a cup of plain yogurt with fresh blueberries in the blender, scoop into ice cube trays and freeze to create yogurt pops for your pooch.
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