We all adore our pets and want to provide them with special rewards. Part of that special process is finding the proper treats for your pet. We see all the flashy advertising and packaging that is part of our selection process. Our hope is no matter which choice of treat that we make, the goal is for your pet to like them. We must take a look at what pet treats consist of. Are they really something beneficial or are they just snacks?
Why do our pets prefer certain treats over their food?
All pets are similar to humans and are trying to satisfy a need by using foods to balance their bodies’ needs. The body is always searching to balance nutritional needs that are dynamic and always changing. This means like us, pets need a variety of different foods with varying nutritional profiles. When we give them a treat, they are reacting to those nutritional needs. It also demonstrates the deficiency in that same boring bowl of food that is always present. They are not finicky or have sensitive stomachs, they know what they need instinctively.
We must be cautious because many commercial treats are not designed for their nutritional value but for the profit they generate. Let’s face it, in nature, all foods are regarded as a treat. For an animal or even humans for that matter, just having a meal is the treat. In the wild, canines and felines such as wolves and panthers often hunt specific prey not only to satisfy their appetites but also to instinctively fulfill their nutritional needs.
We find that most conventional pet treats are filled with addictive and inappropriate ingredients however the treat is still a change from that boring inappropriate commercial food that many pets are still being fed. In addition, to the already inappropriate ingredients in their main diet, these treats add to a plethora of synthetic chemical flavors and preservatives to make the product another convenience for the pet parent. As a result, most commercial treats contribute to an unhealthy condition. Most are carbohydrate-based such as cookies with a meat flavor which contribute heavily to challenges like obesity, gum and dental problems, and even diabetes. Many of these products are created with specific addictive compounds to overindulge the appetite and ensure repeat sales.
Our beliefs and practices on providing treats are that they can be used as nutritional supplements and also be used as rewards in training and behavioral conditions. In order to provide this, they must be species-specific with the goal of having healthier pets. For dogs and cats, that means animal-based products like meat, poultry, fish, seafood, and even eggs. While most of us will not fill our treat pouch with fresh meats, technology has brought us dehydration. We can slow-bake these foods and make a plethora of nutritious treats and snacks that are easy for pet parents to handle.
Another important instance is this; when you have a pet that has a heart or liver issue…in Eastern medicine, you treat the like with the like. For example, my pet with liver issues will benefit from more liver in its diet. Many do not want to handle raw liver and the possible side effects of loose stool. The dehydrated liver will have the same benefits. The reason behind this is the nutritional profile of the food is exactly what the body needs to heal that part.
High-quality species-appropriate treats and snacks are an excellent addition to any dietary plan that you may have for your pets. Yes, we believe everyone should “treat” their pets like royalty and our goal is to teach you how to do it.
We have the knowledge to inform you and you have the power to provide your pets with the healthiest nutrition available. Remember research, reading ingredient labels, and even knowing the prey and environmental sources the foods come from are of the utmost importance. Commonsense will then kick in enabling you to keep your pet healthy for as long as you can.
If you think healthy feeding feels like rocket science, go read this article now!
Bill Piechocki, Animal Scientist, Pet Specialist, and Nutritionist is the acting CEO of My Paleo Pet located in Pompano Beach, FL, He is the host of the podcast Pet Health Café the Web Radio Show. Over 50 yrs. of expertise have provided him with unparalleled vision and information for pet parents. Listen LIVE Wednesday nights at 8 pm www.w4hc.com/shows/pet-health-cafe/ or to archives on iHeartradio or their Facebook page. Call to schedule a consultation or stop by My Paleo Pet at 954-971-2500, they would be more than happy to help.