(NaturalNews) We all do it; we give our pets treats as a reward or just because we love them. And many times pet owners don't think about the extra calories in treats or worse yet, consider if the treat contains harmful ingredients. It's a treat, it won't hurt anything... right? Well, it could. Dog and cat treats are not required to meet the nutritional standards of pet food and many are nothing more than junk food for pets adding useless calories and potentially dangerous ingredients to their diet. So please, don't give your pet a treat –- give them a 'bonus'.
A 'bonus' would be one of the many treats that contains added nutrients and health promoting ingredients. Some include nutrients that even pet food can't provide or doesn't provide enough of. A 'bonus' can add these health promoting benefits to your pet's diet and many of them can do this in a low fat/low calorie fashion.
Poor quality treats contribute to the obesity problem in pets. I've talked to many pet owners who have been directed by their Veterinarian for the pet to lose a few pounds –- yet owners forget about the contribution that a handful of treats add to the weight problem. And right along with weight issues, many treats are made using by-products and chemical preservatives and utilize ingredients that are difficult for the pet to digest. You might be feeding your dog or cat the right food, yet they still show signs of being overweight or have digestion and/or allergy issues. It could be that you have forgotten about looking at the ingredients in treats. And good marketing helps to sway pet owners from even thinking about looking at the ingredients.
A few months back, I went to one of the pet super stores to browse the dog and cat treats just to see what they offered. A mom and her two sons with dog in tow were searching for dog treats. The only ones that caught their attention were treats that had some type of human food connection like 'ribs', 'bacon', and so forth. Never once did they look at the ingredients on the 'ribs' or 'bacon' treats. I did and every single variety they picked out contained by-products and BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin. The pet treat marketing lured them into a comfort zone thinking treats with names like 'ribs' and 'bacon' were as safe as human food. Again, every single treat this family picked out contained by-products and chemical preservatives linked to cancer. Pet owners must look at the ingredients of everything they feed their pets. Treat manufacturers are not going to alert you if they use risky ingredients. As you would guess, treats with the names 'Chicken Feet Dog Treats', 'Cow Intestines Cat Treats', or 'Cancer Causing Chemical Treats' won't be top selling items; yet more treats than you realize contain all three of these undesirable ingredients.
Read those labels regardless of what the name of the dog treat or cat treat implies. Avoid treats that contain the ingredients 'by-product', 'meat and bone meal', 'animal digest', 'BHA', 'BHT', and 'ethoxyquin' (the short list). Look for health promoting ingredients like antioxidants and omega fats from natural sources and as supplements. Don't forget about some 'people food' bonuses. Carrots, green beans, and apple slices make great treats for dogs (and even some cats). Canned pumpkin makes a great healthy treat for cats. Always consult your veterinarian if your pet has a health condition that requires care or you have any questions. Stop feeding treats, give your pet a nutritional bonus instead!
Wishing you and your pet the best,
About the author
Susan Thixton has an international pet people following providing dog and cat lovers a trusted source for pet food and pet food ingredient information. She's been called courageous, perseverant, even "the Caped Crusader for Pets" for her 16 year study of pet food. Susan Thixton is the author of hundreds of pet industry articles and the 2006 released book Truth About Pet Food (currently being updated for a second edition). She developed and publishes the pet product consumer magazine Petsumer Report and is a frequent speaker and radio guest all over the U.S. and Canada with more than 70 appearances in the last 2 years. If you are looking for straight forward pet food information that can have an almost immediate impact on your pet's health - subscribe to the free newsletter, and subscribe to Petsumer Report to see reviews of close to 700 dog and cat foods and treats (adding 40+ each month). Susan Thixton's 'truth' will help you find a safer, healthier dog or cat food that could add years to your pet's life. http://www.TruthAboutPetFood.com