October is National Pet Obesity Awareness Month. Pet obesity rates have skyrocketed in recent years. More than half of our four-legged buddies are overweight. Diet of course plays a large role here. Another factor in Fido’s expanding waistline? His love of snacks. A local Roanoke, VA vet goes over some do’s and don’ts of giving your pup treats below.
Store-bought treats are fine … as long as you choose wisely. Pick things that are appropriate for Fido’s age and size. We also recommend checking the label. Opt for things that contain healthy, identifiable ingredients, with meat, fish, and/or poultry preferably being listed first and most often on the label. Choose things that were made in North America, as overseas manufacturers may not be obligated to adhere to the same quality standards.
Do you like cooking? If so, you can make your canine pal’s snacks. You’ll find plenty of recipes online. Make sure you’re only using ingredients that are safe for Fido. These include mashed bananas, pureed meat, natural peanut butter, bacon bits, sodium-free broth, cheese, liver powder, plain yogurt, canned meat or chicken, hamburger, ground turkey, and pureed pumpkin. Ask your vet for more information.
One of the best things about our canine companions is the fact that they are so devoted. Fido has literally risked—and sometimes sacrificed—his life to protect or save his humans. You can put that dedication to work for you. Have your canine buddy do a trick for his treats. If your pooch doesn’t know basic commands, like Sit, Stay, or Lay Down, start with these. Otherwise, teach him something cute, like Play Dead, Roll Over, or Shake Paw.
We really can’t discuss treats without going into Fido’s begging talents. Our canine pals have had a very long time to perfect the sad expression that’s so effective at jerking on our heartstrings … and getting us to dole out yummy tidbits. It’s not easy to resist that furry face and soulful stare, but steel yourself: you aren’t doing Fido any favors by overfeeding him.
Take care not to give Fido anything that isn’t safe. That includes garlic and onions, chocolate, alcohol, avocado, pitted fruits, caffeine, raw dough or yeast, and anything that contains xylitol and/or a lot of fat, salt, or sugar. Ask your vet for more information.
Please contact us, your local Roanoke, VA animal clinic, for all of your dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re here for you!