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Valentine’s Day treats for pets-the good, the bad and the ugly

Both dogs and cats love treats so make them healthy ones.

Parents of pets adore their furry babies and love to spoil them. One way of doing this is to give pets treats. Since its Valentine’s Day soon, you need to look at the best treats for them so they won’t be hurt. After much research, it is obvious that most of us do our dogs and cats a disservice by giving them the wrong kinds or too many. Some of these are going to surprise you.

Almost all the packaged treats are very high in fat and so calories. Treats should make up a small percentage of your pet’s calories every day. Just a couple treats can be way over the limit. So what should pet owners do who wish to show their love? Think out of the box.

First of all, try offering your pets healthier choices. For dogs there are some great choices which are healthy as well as inexpensive. These are things you may already have at home. Try offering these things more than once until the dog actually tries eating them. It may take some time to switch the animal over, but well worth it if it saves their lives.

Try your dog on fresh crunchy vegetables like baby carrots, green beans, celery and cooked yams. Don’t give them onions or outside mushrooms. No green tomatoes or any part of the tomato plant because they are also toxic.

Even good- for- them treats need to be given in small amounts. Chicken or tofu hotdogs can be another treat sliced into small pieces and given sparingly.

In the hot weather try making them ice cubes with small pieces of apples, kiwi and watermelon. Although some fruits won’t hurt dogs, others will such as grapes or raisins or avocados are toxic for them.

Almost everyone knows that chocolate is very bad for dogs; it contains Theo bromine which actually can kill a dog if eaten in large quantities. It is not good for cats either. Don’t ever give it to them especially dark or unsweetened chocolate. Anything with Walnuts or Macadamia nuts is also bad. Those can cause vomiting, paralysis and even death depending on how much they consume.

You may celebrate, but pets should not in the same way.Candy is usually not a good choice in general, but if it contains Xylitol it can cause a drop in blood sugar which could kill your pet.It goes without saying that they should not be given alcohol since it can damage liver and the brain just as in people.

Some safe treats are cooked whole eggs, never raw. Yoghurt without artificial sweeteners is okay. Oatmeal is good for them, cooked salmon and pumpkin.

Cats’ best treats are fish flakes. Their list of unsafe foods is even longer than dogs and includes many of the same one. It includes apples, apricots, cherries, alcohol, fish bones, eggs and dog food in large quantities so when picking treats avoid all those.

There seem to be mixed messages about whether or not it hurts dogs to eat cat food. The main thing to realize is that dogs love it because it is higher in protein usually, but also in fat.

One of the best things you can do is to make your own pet treats. It is less expensive and better for them since you control what goes into them.

The Nickel Pincher has some great recipes like the following. Try making basic dog biscuits. Mix together 3 cups of whole grain flour, 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1 egg and 1 cup of water, stock or milk. (Always be careful of milk since many dogs are lactose intolerant like humans. You know your dog and their tummies.) You want to make a smooth dough and roll out to ¼ inch thick. You can cut in shapes; dog biscuit cutters are available at the pet stores. Hearts would be cute for Valentine’s Day. Put them on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 20 -25 minutes.

Another treat for cats or dogs is made with 1 (15oz) can of Mackerel, 1/2 to 1cup wholegrain flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder. Mash up everything in the can of Mackerel adding baking [powder and flour to make a thick dough. Spread dough on oiled cookie sheet about ¼ inch thick. Score or cut with a pizza cutter into small squares. You can break them apart after baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Another homemade treat is Bacon Chip Cookies. Use 1/2 pound of Pasture Raised bacon, 3 cups of whole grain flour, 1 egg and 1 cup of water, stock of milk. This bacon has nothing added like sugar ,salt or additives Cook bacon till crisp, crumble it and add the rest of the ingredients Add enough till your dough is stiff like cookie dough. On greased cookie sheets, drop by teaspoons, and then flatten to ¼ “thick, using a wet fork. Bake at 20 degrees for three hours and turn baking till they are dry and crisp.

One purchased treat recommended is dried chicken strips which are not as bad for the caloric intake. Also not bad ones include small liver treats and salmon flakes. When buying packaged treats, look for low fat and grain free varieties.

Whatever you give your pets for treats make sure it won’t harm them first, then try introducing these things slowly to their diet so it won’t be a drastic change that upsets them.

They will love you for it.

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