Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to Spoil your Dog….Without Adding on Extra Pounds

By David Neuwirth
Many people love to spoil their pets.  Often people show affection by giving treats; however, too many treats (or the wrong type of treats) can add on extra pounds.  Being overweight can lead to many health problems and even shorten a dog’s life.  The best way to show love to your pet is to help to keep them healthy and happy.
Dogs frequently gain weight from eating table scraps.  The occasional pizza crust, piece of a sandwich, or a few fries can put extra pounds on quickly.  In addition to table scraps, too many high calorie dog treats can put extra pounds on your dog.  For example, a large Milk Bone has 120 calories (a Medium has 40 calories).  Some people feed several of these treats per day, so you can see how quickly calories add up.
I like to give my dogs treats and they love to receive them.  I put the same amount of effort into examining treat ingredients as I do with their food.  A common misconception is that the larger the treat, the more the dog will enjoy it.  Your dog will be happy about any treat.  He / she will sit, roll over, or do any other trick for a smaller treat just the same as a larger size treat.  I generally use training size treats to give my dogs.  I can feel comfortable about giving multiple treats a day without adding on extra weight. 
I recommend Zuke’s Mini Naturals (especially for training).  These treats are only 3 calories each.  They are available in several flavors:  Chicken, Salmon, Peanut Butter and Rabbit.  Zuke’s Mini Naturals are made in the USA and don’t contain any wheat, corn or soy.
PureBites are another good quality treat.  They also come in several flavors, including Beef, Chicken, and Whitefish.  What I really like about these treats is there is only one ingredient!  The calories vary with the formula; they range from 7 calories to 12 calories per treat.  I seldom give my dogs a full PureBites treat; I usually break it in half (so the calories are even less and the bag lasts longer).
If you really want to be able to give treats to your dog but trying to cut back on calories, Fromm Low-Fat Treats only have 1 calorie!  The cheese formula seems to be the favorite for Lola and Harlen (my two Siberian Huskies). 
There is nothing wrong with wanting to give your dog treats, just remember to make sure the treats are quality and low calorie so you don’t inadvertently do more harm than good.  As in the case with most things, moderation is the key, but with treats 10 calories or less, you can feel less guilty about giving your pet several treats a day.
You can find all of these treats and more at Harlo’s Healthy Pets.

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