Like junk food, some commercial pet treats contain ingredients that aren't necessarily all that great for our fur kids - if you want to treat your pet to something a little different but don't have time to whip something up or go to the shops, why not check the humble fruit bowl, pantry and veggie drawer?
First, a few tips to consider -
- While these foods are all safe in moderation for dogs and cats to consume, it should be noted that only in small amounts occasionally. If your pet has a history of any health issue, check with your vet first!
- There is no substitute for a primarily meat-based diet for pets, so while a nibble of broccoli or banana is fine from time to time, stick with the recommended dietary guidelines for your cat or dog for them to get the essential nutrients they need.
- Introduce these treats slowly and in small amounts, and if your pet's digestion doesn't agree, don't give them any more.
- Be sure to give your fruit and veggies a wash first!
- Steaming or baking vegetables like broccili and carrot can help make them more digestible for little stomachs.
- Note that some raw veggies can actually calm down a cat's upset stomach and eliminate furballs in the same way grass does, as they don't have the enzymes to break these plant materials down.
- Fruit should be enjoyed in small amounts due to the sugar content, and at least two hours outside of normal mealtimes to prevent digestive problems.
- And pet-sitters - absolutely ALWAYS ask a pet owner's permission before feeding a pet anything outside their normal diet!
1 Carrots - low in fat and containing beta-carotene that improve help eye sight, a slice of carrot for your cat or a whole carrot for your dog to chew every now and again is a great easy treat.
2 Green Beans - Fibrous, low fat green beans are full of vitamins and minerals and are great if your pet is a little on the heavy side. The fresh kind is always best!
3 Pumpkin - A little pureed pumpkin is low in fat and can help if your pet his digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhoea. It can also keep their urinary tract healthy.
4 Bananas - the sugar in bananas means this should really be a sometimes food to avoid weight gain- try a piece of frozen banana as an alternative to salty store-bought treats.
5 Apple - a small slice or a little mashed apple every now and then is fine as a treat for your pet to enjoy - always remove the seeds and core as they contain nasty toxins.
6 Cooked eggs - a good protein source for both cats and dogs that both usually love! Always cook first to avoid salmonella or biotin deficiency.
7 Watermelon - remove the rind and the seeds for a watery summer treat for your cat or dog - but avoid if your pet suffers from diabetes.
8 Broccoli - chopped, cooked broccoli might go down well with your cat or dog as it is low in fat and contains vitamin C, antioxidants and fibre. Don't feed more than a small amount to a dog however (less than 10% of a daily intake of food), as too much can be very upsetting to their little stomachs.
9 Rock Melon / Cantaloupe - as with watermelon, this is a great 'sometimes' treat - always remove the rind and seeds and don't give too much to your pet to avoid weight gain.
10 Cooked plain oatmeal - this is a great source of fibre and energy - don't add any flavouring such as sugar, and boil in water rather than milk.