We all give in to the tail wagging and begging. But when it comes to giving your dog or cat treats, too many can be bad for their health.
It’s best to view your dog’s or cat’s treat as jus
t like you would chocolate for humans. (BTW – NEVER let your dog or cat eat chocolate – it can be fatal!) You wouldn’t sit down to a whole box of Hersey Kisses – just like you shouldn’t feed your dog or cat a whole box or bag of treats.
Treats should be fed as just that – treats – and not as food. The only exception is that if you have a geriatric pet who is a finicky eater and relies on treats for extra calories. Elsewhere in this blog, we suggest treats as food replacement under these circumstances. But for a healthy pet, treats should be limited.
Pets that are fed treats as much as regular food are at risk of becoming obese which can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and other weight-related health problems. Today, more than HALF of all dogs and cats are obese and many pet owners fail to recognize that too many pounds can take years off of Fluffy’s or Fido’s life.
So TREAT your pet’s TREATS like TREATS. And the next time your pet begs for more, get out the ball or birdie and make time for play instead.
AS ALWAYS, CONSULT WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT YOUR PET’S OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLBEING.
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Do you have a picky eater? Sometimes, as cats age, just like humans, they can become less interested in eating and it becomes more difficult to find foods that they enjoy. If you have a cat who turns up his or her nose at lots of foods, I have found that some treats can fill in for at least part of their regular food and can also jumpstart their appetite.
But first, let me point out that if you have a cat who is not eating, your FIRST STEP should be to make sure they have a thorough veterinary exam. It’s important to find out WHY your pet is not eating and to see if there’s any type of underlying health issue that is affecting your pet’s appetite. If your pet is not eating, make an appointment at your vet as soon as possible.
I have had pets that were diagnosed with chronic illnesses and/or are geriatric and do not want to eat their regular foods. So once you know why your pet is not eating normally, you can consider how to get them eating again.
The treats that have really helped get calories into ill and older cats are Temptations by Whiskas for cats. I have had the most success with the CHICKEN flavor. These treats are made in Canada. See more info at https://www.temptationstreats.com/ For a few of my cats who did not want to eat at all, I fed them Temptations in place of their regular food. See the website for information on recommended quantity and food ingredients.
AS IN ALL CASES, CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN BEFORE MAKING ANY DIETARY CHANGES.
Just like with dogs, there are some good products out there to help reduce plaque and tarter on cats’ teeth. They include dental sprays and gels, chews and treats, and toothpaste for brushing. Click here for some of my favorites and a shopping list for your pet.
And just like I’ve pointed out for dogs, these products do NOT replace the need for regular veterinary exams. Cats, like dogs, can get:
- Broken and loose teeth
- Gum disease
- Oral and facial cancers
- Root problems (why your pet needs dental x-rays!)
In addition, cats can get a SEVERELY PAINFUL dental problem called RESORPTIVE LESIONS. These lesions often appear as red dots on the tooth and they can eat away at the rest of the tooth and root. Teeth with the lesions are often very weak and prone to break. Cats with resorptive lesions often have a difficult time eating and will drool or their mouth will “chatter” due to the pain.
So regular dental care for your cat is particularly important. To me, the best thing about oral care products is that they get pet owners to be more observant and take a better look at your pet’s mouth.
So while you are brushing your cat’s teeth – or wiping on that gel, be sure you to take a look at your cat’s mouth. If you spot redness or something that doesn’t look right, contact your vet.