Pets love to be rewarded for their good behavior. One way that pet owners show their love is through treats. There are a variety of pet treats on the market to choose from. But, is there etiquette to feeding treats?
Treats for All
When your pet does well, you want to reward them. Treats are a good behavioral modification tool. If you are a pet owner, you can have your pick of almost any flavor and texture.
But, if you notice that your cat or dog is getting a little pudgy, it could be his rewards. There are a few tips you might want to learn about feeding said treats to your companion. Even store bought treats can pack on the pounds.
DO’S AND DON’TS
1. Read the labels – Serving portions are important for animals too. They like to eat treats, but just emptying a part of the bag on the floor may be far too many for one treat event. Your pet won’t refuse them, either. Measure the amount of treats against your pet’s activity level and total caloric intake.
2. Table scraps – A little nip of chicken or pork may not hurt your pet today, but feeding them human food can make them sick in the long run. Besides, pet food and even pet treats contain nutrients that are essential for their health and growth. For instance, some cat treats contain ingredients to control hair balls.
3. Try alternatives – This is an option for cats. Since they don’t get near as much exercise as dogs, they don’t need heavy treats. Opt for catnip some of the time in his favorite toy as a treat instead.
4. Know toxic foods – Know which foods are poisonous for dogs and cats. Avoid feeding them or having them anywhere the pet can get at them.
5. Use treats consistently – If treats are for behavioral training, use them for that. If they are utilized to keep pets busy while you leave the house, use them for that purpose. Consistency won’t confuse your pet and will help ensure that they learn the behaviors you are trying to teach. Also, keep portions small.
6. Organic fare – Talk to your vet about organic choices for pet treats. These carry fewer fillers and by-products. Also, some pet owners create their own homemade pet treats. Be careful to observe any dietary restrictions for your pet.
7. Use treats to encourage activities – Especially for dogs, there are hiding places inside toys for treats. A pet has to play with the toy and wrangle it in order to get at the treat.
8. Check consistency of treats – Some are crunchy and some are soft. Choose a treat that your pet will like and can digest easily.
Treats are like dessert after dinner. Feel free to give them to your pets, but be judicious!