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How to Treat Your Dog in a Healthy Way


How to Treat Your Dog in a Healthy Way

Adult dog with puppy

Many of us are guilty of providing our dogs with more pet treats than they can chew. But too much snacking, while seemingly pleasant for our dogs, may not be the best thing for their health. In fact, an overly fed pet can quickly develop heart disease, arthritis, obesity, stroke or even cancer.

Here’s how to best treat your dog without spoiling his health:

1. Treat Your Dog Without Food

There are many ways to do this, says Dr. Kendra Pope, DVM, CVA, CVCH, CVFT, CVTP, a veterinarian with St. Francis Veterinary Center in Woolwich Township, N.J. Dogs and cats respond very well to praise, which is given in a high-pitched voice that’s happy and excited. So use your verbal skills, along with hugs and love, she says. You can also treat your pooch with an extra game of fetch, by going swimming, running, or for car rides.

Animals are very different to humans in what they consider a treat, Dr. Pope points out, and they understand these other forms of praise. Food for us is much more emotional than it is for dogs.

2. Make Your Own Dog Treats

Many of the fruits and vegetables* that we humans are encouraged to eat are also beneficial for our dogs, Dr. Pope says. They should be cut small to boost digestion (especially for diminutive dogs), and vegetables should preferably be lightly steamed so your dog can absorb the nutrients.

Meat and most fish are also great treat foods for pets, says Dr. TJ Dunn, DVM, veterinarian at All Creatures Veterinary Clinic, Minocqua, WI. You can even bake your own cookies/biscuits with your existing wet dog food formula. Cut the food into slices and bake at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the pieces are crunchy.

Dr. Pope does, however, advise against treating with raw meat or raw organ meat because it can lead to food poisoning such as Salmonella or E. coli, which also poses a risk for humans. The dog may tolerate the poisoning, she points out, “but they could pass it on to us when we are cleaning up their feces.”

3. Buy From the Big, U.S.-based Brands

Try to buy commercial pet treats from reputable brands because “big name brands either have more money to spend on safer foods or can safeguard against it,” Dr. Pope points out. “And, big dog food companies are more quickly able to do a recall.”

For the complete article on healthy ways to treat your dog, visit petMD!

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