Quick Tips on Treating

In the time between New Year’s resolutions and Valentine’s Day chocolates, millions of us work hard to undo the damage done by the holidays and commit ourselves to maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Of course, millions of us also lose our commitment to these changes…but in the end, it is our own, personal decision. We can’t really blame anyone but ourselves if bikini season rolls around and we’re not quite ready!

Our pets, however, don’t have this control over their lives, or their health. They depend on our decisions and wisdom to keep them healthy! It’s really up to us not to let things get out of hand and let them over-indulge in treats and food. Here are a few ways to help.

The first rule is an easy one. People food is for people and pet food is for pets. Fortunately, there are lots of fabulous foods manufactured specifically for pets so that you can also serve them something special when the family sits down to a nice meal. It’s important to remember that pets are allergic to lots of ingredients that we take for granted in preparing a home-cooked meal. Onions, for instance, are toxic. So is the chocolate in that chocolate pudding. There is a long list and you aren’t doing your fur kid any favors by indulging them with these things.

In the same way that its fun to plan a festive menu, shop for it and prepare, it’s also fun to head to the pet store and buy a can of turkey potpie or a special salmon entrée for your fur kid. There are also yummy yogurt and healthy pudding-styled desserts for pets. And of course, if you really enjoy spending time in the kitchen, you can make special pet cookies and treats for them too. (Remember those pet treat recipes I put out for Howl’oween? This are still on this website, so check them out again.)

It’s important to remember that even the most well-mannered pet will turn into a thief if opportunity knocks; they simply can’t resist the temptation. So don’t leave out the special bag of treats or bone you just brought home from the store until the actual moment you want Fido to discover it. There’s no question, when it comes to cats and dogs, the nose knows! And although most of us are thinking more of health goals than gift wrapping this month, remember that a catnip mouse left half in the package, or wrapped up, gives your cat twice the fun. Your cat will have as much fun with the wrapping as with the mouse before the surprise is officially hers!

The other big temptation of course are left overs left unattended in the kitchen while everyone is in another room. Dogs and cats will feast when your back is turned! Not only can, and will they overeat, but they can also consume bones and corncobs and other items that can get stuck and be fatal if swallowed.

I have taught everyone in our household that after the meal is over, we pack everything away into the refrigerator before we move on to family board games and other activities.

If your pets are not around, go and find them and invite them to join you. This way you will know they are safely with you and you can spoil them with lots of extra love and attention instead.


-Photo Credit: From flickr by Eye of Einstein

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