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Veterinarian approved healthy dog and cat treats.

dog cheerios

With all the talk of pet food recalls in the last few months, pet parents ask me all the time what I recommend for “treating” their cat or dog.

Once upon a time I discussed Vet Recommended Safe Dog and Cat Toys and Chews, and today I’m going to discuss “good” pet treats.

Treating your pet without contributing to obesity

We talked about pet obesity a while back, and discovered that even tiny amounts of high-calorie human foods are the equivalent by body weight, to giant greasy portions of yuck for adult humans.

So I like to think of it like this. Imagine whatever treat you’re holding in your hand, is a giant plate full. Does eating an entire plate of that treat make your pet healthier, or unhealthier?


Get the idea? Think of it this way: how many times bigger than your pet, are you? If I’m a 190 pound man and I have a 38 pound dog, I’m 5x bigger than my dog. I feed the dog an ounce of cheese, that’s like me eating five ounces worth. Yuck! On the other hand, I feed her a piece of broccoli? That’s like me eating five pieces of broccoli. Yum!

GOOD VEGGIES as treats for dogs and cats

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Green Beans
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Ripe Tomatoes (CLARIFICATION: Tomato greens – bad. Green tomatoes – mostly fine.)

AVOID: Corn cobs, onions / garlic / chives (in large quantity)

GOOD FRUITS as treats for dogs and cats

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, huckleberries or raspberries (try ‘em frozen!)
  • Melons: Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew
  • Pears
  • Oranges

AVOID: Grapes, raisins

GOOD PROTEINS as treats (in moderation)

  • Bonito flakes (freeze dried fish, used in Japanese cooking)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Eggs (COOKED PLEASE! – raw eggs may contain Salmonella or E. Coli and an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems.
  • Meat (lean, cooked, and unseasoned): Chicken, Lamb, Beef, Venison, Turkey, Rabbit, Duck, Fish
  • Peanut Butter
  • Yogurt (including frozen yogurt in the summer!)

AVOID: Macadamia nuts, raw meat and bones

*NOTE: I have had particularly bad luck feeding pets PORK products, not sure why, but for now, please minimize pork treats if you can help it.

GOOD STARCHES as treats (in moderation)

  • Bread
  • Cheerios
  • Popcorn (plain/unbuttered)
  • Potato
  • Rice
  • Rice cakes
  • Sweet potatoes

So now, not only do you not need to buy commercial dog and cat treats anymore (which, let’s face it, are pretty much all junk food) and you can start feeding your pet healthy, antioxidant rich fruits and veggies! Happy treating!

Brought to you by your friends at Leo’s Pet Care in Indianapolis at (317) 721-7387

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great information on dog and cat treats. What would you recommend for a diabetic cat. I have other cats who get treats regularly and he is wondering where his treat is as he was just diagnosed recently.

    1. My first choice would be the low-fat cooked protein. Perhaps shred up some cooked skinless chicken breast, or tuna! They also make these cool things called bonito flakes, from freeze-dried fish.

  2. My dogs LOVE broccoli. I was surprised by this, but now I always give them a little broccoli when I make it for the family.

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