Guilt-Free Treats: Low Calorie Nibbles for Kitties and Pups

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Obesity is not only a problem that affects people, it also affects pets as well. Canine couch potatoes and tubby tabbies are at a greater risk of developing health problems, so it’s best to keep them at an ideal weight for their size and breed. One way to keep those excess calories at bay is to feed your little one healthy, low-calorie treats. Here are some suggestions for healthy treats that your furry one will love but won’t negatively impact his diet.

Don’t go overboard.

Generally, treats should make up no more than 10 percent of your pooch or kitty’s diet. This includes low-calorie options and store-bought treats. Not only will this help prevent obesity, but it will also ensure that your pet’s tummy doesn’t become upset by a bevy of tasty treats that aren’t part of his regular diet. Think of it like not eating too much candy all at once – it’s just not good for you.

Go green.

Veggies and fruits are great treats for both cats and dogs that won’t pack on the pounds. Most dogs and even some cats love a snack of steamed or boiled veggies like peas, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Remember to cut the veggies into small pieces and give them to your furry friend a little at a time.

If you want to try some tasty fruit, chop up small pieces of cantaloupe, honeydew melon and apple or pear – being sure to avoid the seeds and core – and give your canine and feline friends a nibble or two. For cats, you can also try a bit of canned pumpkin that is rich in fiber as a yummy low-cal treat.

Frozen fun.

When the temperatures rise, frozen treats keep everyone cool – including your pets. Frozen treats don’t have to be complicated to make. In fact, all you really need is your pet’s regular wet food. Pate or loaf works best. Put a little of the food in the bottom of a plastic cup to make little popsicles for your cats and dogs. Freeze the cup of food overnight and serve your furry buddy a frozen popsicle in the morning. This way, you won’t add any extra calories to your pet’s diet because you’ll just be giving him his regular diet – just in a frozen form.

Another option is to freeze a little low-sodium chicken or beef broth, let it melt slightly and smash it up to produce a soft slurry. Serve this tasty snack to your furry friend for an extra tasty treat and a bit of cool hydration during the day. Best of all, it’s a super-low calorie treat.

Things to avoid.

Don’t give your pet high-calorie treats and table scraps which can contain large amounts of fat and sodium. While some fats are good for your furry one, too much fat can cause an upset tummy and even pancreatitis, a potentially dangerous condition. So, let family members and guests know that feeding Fido or Felix from the table isn’t a good idea.

While fruits and veggies are generally a healthy snack when given in moderation, not all fruits and veggies are safe for cats and dogs. In fact, things like grapes, raisins, onions, garlic and avocado are safe for humans but potentially toxic to our furry friends.

Playtime fun.

Not all treats have to come in the form of a food. Pets love spending time with their owners and playing with them. Playtime isn’t just a way for you to show affection for your furry one, it’s a way to keep him active. Active pets burn off calories during the day, which is a perfect way to avoid obesity. Not only that, but it’s a great way to bond with your furry buddy. Playtime doesn’t have to be excessive because a 10- to 15-minute session in the morning and evening is just enough exercise to please Fido or Felix.

For cats, simply playing with a toy on a string or laser pointer keeps your furry friend active. When it comes to dogs, a brisk walk or game of fetch is the perfect way to burn off excess energy and calories.

Author: Susan Paretts

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