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Caitlin UltimoNutrition / Pet Diet Tips

How to Still Treat Your Pet When He’s Counting Calories

Many house pets can easily put on an extra pound or two after a few years in a happy home. It’s true, too much love, in the form of treats, can cause your pal’s waistline to expand. But if you’re trying to help your furry friend watch his weight, there are still ways to treat him to something special from time to time.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, even just five extra pounds can put your dog at risk of several serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis. So as tempting as it is to give your little buddy dog treats whenever he begs or cries, there’s really good reason to resist—especially if your pet is already a bit overweight. Instead, keep a stock of healthy treats for dogs or cats on hand when your pet displays good behavior and deserves a tasty reward.

There are lots of healthy treats for dogs and cats that are formulated to do something good for your pet’s health while also letting your pal feel like he’s getting a tasty treat. Blue Buffalo’s Health Bars for dogs, for example, are just a crunchy, tasty treat to your pup, but pet parents will like that they’re free of common allergens (corn, wheat and soy), and full of health-boosting antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

And Greenies treats for cats are formulated to keep your kitty’s skin and fur softer and shinier or his teeth and gums healthier and free of tartar buildup (depending on which formula you choose). There are even low-cal treats for dogs and cats. These treats are formulated especially for overweight or obese pets.

Treats can be a successful tool to train your dog or cat and reward your furry friend for proper responses and good behavior. But if you’re going to give your adorable little pal treats on a regular basis, you need to consider those as part of your pet’s regular diet and caloric intake — and adjust their meal portions accordingly.

Occasional dog and cat treats can be part of a healthy diet plan for your overweight pet, as long as you keep a close eye on the number of overall calories your buddy is consuming every day. If you’re unsure about how many calories your dog or cat should be consuming in order to lose weight (not just maintain the status quo), talk to your veterinarian. She will be able to advise on exactly how many calories your pet should be eating and can help determine how much of your pet’s daily allotment can come from treats.

 

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