Pet Advice Pet food heart.

Published on November 8th, 2013 | by Debbie Martin


Dos and Don’ts When Giving Your Pets Treats

Giving your pet a treat is a great way to reward them, whether you are teaching them a new trick or they have just returned home after a long walk. Many pet owners love to give their pets treats, but sometimes they can make treat-giving mistakes that can actually be quite harmful.

Here are a few of the pet treat mistakes that many dog and cat owners make and how to avoid them.

Don’t Give Your Pet People Food

You might be tempted to share some of your dinner with your pet as a treat, but eating too much people food can be quite unhealthy for your furry friend. The occasional bite of chicken or steak is okay, but pets should really be filling up on healthy well-balanced pet food. It contains all of the nutrients that your dog needs to function. Also, human food can be very high in sugar, salt, fat and other ingredients that can make your pet sick.

There are some human foods that can even be dangerously toxic for your pet. For example, chocolate, grapes, avocados and coffee can cause serious toxic reactions, so never feed them to your animal companion.

Don’t Give Too Many Treats

Obesity is a real danger in pets and if you give your pet too many indulgences he will become overweight and unhealthy. Make sure that you limit treats to only 10% of your pet’s daily calories. Ask your vet about the specific amount of calories that your pet should be eating per day, depending on their breed, age, weight and activity level. For example, a cat should eat less treats than a dog because they are mostly sedentary so they burn fewer calories.

Do Use Treats to Encourage Exercise

The promise of a treat motivates your pet, so why not use small tasty treats as a way to encourage your pet to exercise? You can teach tricks and train them for agility, giving them a small reward when they learn to roll over, fetch or jump on command.

You could also play a game where you hide treats around the house and let your cat or dog find them – which is a great way to get indoor pets up and moving. There are even special toys that are designed so that you can put a treat inside them and your pet has to play with the toy to open it and get the treat out.

Don’t Reward Bad Behaviour with Treats

If your pet is begging at your feet and barking, whining or meowing and you give them a treat, it will teach them that their behaviour was effective and they will do it again. Only give treats for behaviour you want to encourage.

Keep these tips in mind when giving your pets treats for a happier, healthier and better behaved furry friend.

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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

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