Pet owners walk the line between wanting to provide the best care to their best buddies – and spoiling them rotten! Just like the choices we make to treat ourselves may not be healthy in the long run (like ice cream every day), the goodies we give our pets to make them happy or feel extra special can have similar consequences. To keep them at their fittest, we have some ideas for healthy pet treats that tick all the boxes.
While many food items that should never be given or made available to pets, there are numerous options that are considered okay. To give your pet a snack or two between meals, check out these single ingredient options:
- Raw apple bites
- Frozen sardines
- Brown rice or quinoa
- Red bell pepper slices
- Cauliflower, broccoli or Cabbage bites (go easy, these cruciferous veggies can cause gas)
- Canned or cooked (unsweetened) pumpkin
- Lightly steamed or bite-sized raw carrots
- A small bite of cheese
- Dried fruit, such as apricots
- Fresh blueberries
- Xylitol-free peanut butter
Real Pet Treats
The problem with most commercial pet treats is that they are loaded with artificial flavors and preservatives. That doesn’t mean that these aren’t delicious to your pet, but eating too many on a daily basis can have an effect on their weight, overall health, and even their longevity!
Your pet deserves tasty treats (especially when training), which is why you may decide to make them yourself. You can control exactly what they’re eating and their portion sizes, to boot. If we had to eat the same food every day we’d get bored too. So why not make your own healthy pet treats to shake it up a bit?
Sweet potatoes are plentiful in fall and winter, but they are available year round to make some of these healthy pet treats:
- Roast 2 large sweet potatoes and allow them to cool. Split in half and scoop out the flesh with a fork.
- You’ll need about 7 cups of different flours. Use oat, rice, barley or wheat flour.
- Add ¼ cup flax seed.
- Mix together ¼ cup honey with 2-3 cups of hot water.
- Add sweet potatoes, honey and water to flours, and mix well.
- Let rest for 15 minutes
- Roll into ¼ inch balls or cut into your favorite shape. Bake for 45 minutes at 300 degrees. Leave in the oven to cure.
These tuna treats are pleasing to the palettes of both cats and dogs. They pack loads of flavor and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids:
- Combine a can of tuna (in water not oil) with about a ½ cup of water. Either mash with a fork or place in a food processor to blend. Pour into an empty ice cube tray and freeze. Then place them in a ziploc baggie and store for up to 6 months.
Healthy Pet Treats for Days
Another go-to recipe for healthy pet treats might be this one:
- Mix together 1 cup flour with ½ cup rolled oats and ½ cup brewer’s yeast. In a separate bowl whisk 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil into ½ cup beef or chicken stock. Mix wet and dry ingredients then roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut and bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees. Keep for about 2 weeks in a sealed container.