I recently got an email from a blog follower, Renee Bedford, who wrote: “In past years we used to feed our dogs a combination of table scraps and commercial dog food without taking note of their nutrient requirements. Thankfully, regular trips to the vet opened our eyes to the dangers of an improper diet and prompted me to look further into healthier alternatives.”
Knowing that treats are “vital to providing rewards for your pet and to building a deeper connection while assisting in training activities,” Bedford writers, she was happy to discover that pet food manufacturers now create many tasty and nutritional varieties. She was less happy to learn that they were very expensive because of the costs involved in production and marketing.
She therefore wanted to share with my readers some of the quick and easy alternatives from the people-food aisles of the supermarket shelves that provide healthy additions to your dog’s diet.
It wasn’t until I asked her to send a picture of her dogs to illustrate the piece, however, that I realized just how essential it was for Renee’s family to economize on pet food — those are some BIG eaters — and just how effective her regimen must be. My, what shiny coats and great body tone they have!
So… with the caveat that these treats should not comprise more than 15% of a dog’s caloric intake and that you should always check with your vet if your dog has any health issues, Bedford suggests:
- Crunchy celery, green beans, and yams — either raw or cooked and, in the case of green beans, frozen — and small slices of apple, banana, or pear. Bedford cautions that the following should be avoided: garlic, grapes, onions, and raisins.
- In lieu of nutritionally-deficient rawhide chews, real chunks of meat, fish and poultry, cooked or raw, thawed or frozen (Note: I often give Frankie small pieces of frozen cooked liver as a treat.) For puppies who are still teething, a few choice chunks of meat may be placed in a Kong for them to chew on.
- Whole wheat pasta with meat toppings (but not the kind you get out of a jar with lots of sugar); popcorn without butter or any other toppings.
- A lick or two from an ice cream cone or a tiny dab of cheese as an extra special treat. Bedford notes: “I often have a problem when the kids share with our puppies, so make sure to keep two separate cones when attempting this treat!”
Anyone want to add any healthy, inexpensive treats to this list?
And does anyone want to caption the photo? There was something about the pose that cracked me up. It was especially eerie when all the dogs had white eyes. I managed to fix the “dog eye” in the front two, but couldn’t retouch those of Frank, the dog in back.
Renee Bedford describes herself as a mom and wife who believes in teaching her children to be self-reliant and prepared, skills that will not only keep them safer, but make them smarter! She also works for the Christmas Tree Market, selling an array of classic and unique artificial Christmas trees.
Editor’s note: Only Frank, in the back, and Tyler, front left, are members of the Bedford family. Samji is a close family friend.