Trick for Treat? How and When to Give Treats to Your Pets
If you have a cat or dog, likelihood is they’ve become a pretty important part of your family. You love them like a child and want them to have everything their furry little heart desires. So how do you show them your undying dedication? Treats, of course.
While there’s no harm in spoiling your pet once in a while, it’s important to remember that when used strategically, treats can be a fantastic tool for training and mental stimulation as well.
The positive reinforcement method of training is widely used and condoned by trainers and pet owners alike. In dogs that are food motivated (and most are), treats can be a powerful instrument in teaching them to behave in the way we want. When training a dog using treats, it’s important to use small, bite-sized snacks like Zuke’s Mini Naturals or Rollover Premium Dog Treats so that your dog stays hungry and therefore, motivated to continue learning.
Pets get bored just like you and I, and it’s critical for their wellbeing that they stay mentally stimulated. This is especially pertinent for animals that spend their days at home while you’re away at work. A great way to satiate their appetite for mental stimulation is to provide treats that entertain them over a longer span of time. For a cat, Whiskas Temptations can be great fun; simply hide them around the house and let kitty use its sense of smell to track them down. For a dog, the Masters Best Friend 8 Inch Center Bone is a good option to keep them gnawing the day away, although you should make sure to supervise your dog with the bone before leaving them to their own devices, just to make sure it’s the right size for them and to avoid any risk of choking.
While some pets can eat just about anything, others have stomachs that are on the more sensitive end of the spectrum. For those with allergies or delicate tummies, PureBites are a great solution. These one-ingredient treats contain only freeze-dried cheese or meat, so you don’t have to worry about any surprising reactions. Other treats, such as Zuke’s Hip Action, can help ease discomfort associated with hip pain, a common problem in large breed dogs.
Whether training, entertaining, or just saying, “I love you”, treats are a versatile and delicious asset for any pet owner to have on hand. So what are you waiting for? Pick the best treat for your pet and you’ll be on your way to a long, mutually beneficial relationship.
Tess Morgan is a writer and nonprofit professional with a passion for animals. She currently works at a large animal welfare charity and has experience with pets in veterinary practices as well. Tess lives in Vancouver with her husband, a cat named Kitty and a chihuahua miniature pinscher mix named Lily.