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Treat Feeding Suggested Guidelines
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Many pet owners enjoy giving their dogs and cats occasional pet treats, and this can serve many purposes: to assist with training, to help strengthen the bond they share with their pets, to reward good behavior, or as a snack. While treats can be fed as part of a pet’s complete and balanced diet, pet owners have an important responsibility to make sure their pets get the right nutrition to keep them healthy. Here are some important reminders for the responsible way to give treats to your pets:

Feed treats in moderation. Pet treats are just that…a treat. It is recommended that no more than 10% of a pet’s caloric intake come from treats, and remember when feeding treats to reduce the amount of pet food accordingly. Refer to the feeding guidelines on the package, and don’t give your pets too much of a good thing.


  1. Use pet treats alongside a complete and balanced pet diet.Pets require a balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals found in complete and balanced pet foods. While some pet treats are complete and balanced, many are not. Be sure to check the treat package and always feed per the recommended feeding guidelines.


  2. Avoid feeding table scraps. Many human foods are not recommended for a pet and can throw off a pet’s carefully balanced diet. Some foods people eat can cause digestive upset when fed to pets, can contribute to pet obesity and can cause other problems for our pets. Some human foods can cause serious health problems in a cat or dog (e.g., chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol). Feeding pets table scraps can also encourage undesirable behaviors, such as begging or jumping up at the table.


  3. Make sure your pets get plenty of exercise and fresh water. Exercise and play are not only good for your pets’ health and well-being, but can also help strengthen the bond you have with your pets. Many pet owners use treats to help encourage exercise and as a training reward.


  4. Check out these additional resources for more information on healthy ways to "treat” your pets:


      • American Animal Hospital Association website

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