Healthy Treats for V Day 1

Have A Heart. Healthy Valentine’s Day Pet Treats

February 12, 2024 Renee Streeter, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition)

You want to show all your love on Valentine’s Day, and so you do. You give gifts to your human loves. Candy and stuffed animals to the kids, jewelry, clothing, or maybe chocolates to your husband, wife, or significant other, or maybe it is just a date night out at your favorite restaurant. Since we love to treat our pets like family and show them our love as well, let’s talk about the best options.

Treats can come in many forms, and it doesn’t have to be food. Maybe you can take your pup for a hike or out to visit friends or family. Maybe you can spend extra time brushing your cat or playing with her. A special experience and more time are the best gifts ever!

Many dogs and cats love a new toy. Does your pet love their stuffed animals, or do they love to destroy them? Either way, they are happy. I remember when both my kids were small, they panicked and despaired when the dogs destroyed their new stuffed toys. It was a perfect learning opportunity to teach them that is how dogs play, and it is expected and okay. (But then I also had to remind them that is not how little boys should play with their stuffed toys.) What is not okay is when, in the destruction, the toy becomes dangerous. If your dog loves to destroy toys, be sure there are no squeakers or long strings that can be ingested. Also, the moment the toy is broken into pieces, throw it away so that nothing can get eaten, possibly resulting in an intestinal obstruction. Go for toys that are made of tough canvas that is difficult to pull apart so that they can love the toy even longer.

There are many options for cats, including toys that encourage a chase and puzzle toys where small animals or feathers pop up and can be grabbed. There are tunnels to play in and cavernous beds where they can hide. There are toys that you can put catnip in. Things that encourage activity and mental stimulation are healthy Valentine’s Day treats.

While my preference is always to show love with a non-edible treat, I know there are those out there dying to give your pet something delicious as a Valentine’s Day treat. To do this healthily, aim for snacks that are low in fat, so they don’t cause digestive upset. Things like marrow bones and bully sticks can be very fatty. If a pet also has issues with kidney disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, or heart disease,  pay attention to the sodium concentration. Low sodium dry treats would contain less than 0.28% sodium, semi-moist treats 0.24% sodium, and wet treats 0.23% sodium. There are so many homemade treat recipes out there which can be fun as well. I created one to consider below. I hope you and your pet have a Happy Valentine’s Day and that you feel loved and send out love to everyone you meet, (furry and….less furry) every day.

 

Homemade Valentine's Day Treats for Dogs:

Ingredients:

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325o F.

Mix all ingredients. Dough will be dry.

Gather dough into a ball.

Roll dough and cut into heart shapes (Since it’s Valentine’s Day! Actually, any shape is fine.)

Place cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes.

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