Whether you’re rewarding your pet for being adorable or you need an incentive for training, treats can be a great way to strengthen the human/animal bond! With so many different options and varieties on the market, it can be hard to choose one that’s not only delicious but healthy as well. So, what should you look for when selecting a yummy reward for your pet?
Sack the Sugar and Axe the Artificial Colors
While your pet may love yogurt drops and other sugary treats, their gastrointestinal systems do not. Sugar and an abundance of artificial flavors can cause dental issues, gastrointestinal problems, and weight gain. Do you already have an obese pet? You don’t have to completely drop treats from their diet – just minimize their treat intake to once per week.
How Often Should I Feed Treats to My Pet?
Feeding frequency and portion sizes are important for pets and people alike. It’s easy to take one look into your adorable bunny’s eyes and want to hand the entire bag of treats, but you’ll want to resist this urge in order to keep your pet healthy and happy in the long run. Make sure to read your treat package’s nutrition label and only feed the daily recommended amount. Oxbow recommends that treats only comprise 2% of a small pet’s diet and that you don’t exceed feeding 1-2 treats per day.
Overfeeding treats is very easy to do, but Oxbow is here to help! If you’re having a particularly rigorous training session with your pet, try breaking the treat into small pieces that you can feed one at a time.
If you have a home with multiple family members or roommates, we recommend keeping a simple feeding log on your refrigerator or above your pet’s habitat (or anywhere else that’s public and very easy to see) so that everyone can take note and not overfeed your little one!
Packaged Treats Aren’t Your Only Option
While packaged treats are incredibly convenient (not to mention delicious), giving your little one a morsel of their favorite leafy green, vegetable, or occasional slice of fruit is also a great way to say, “Good job!” That’s why our Simple Rewards Treats are made with natural ingredients such as cranberries, bananas, apples, carrots, strawberries, barley and other delicious flavors pets love!
Treat Time = Play Time
There are so many great ways to feed your pets treats to provide additional enrichment! If you’re not embarking on training your pet, you can still turn treat time into a fun little game. For example, try hiding your pet’s treat in their habitat (their hay pile is a great hiding spot) so that they have to work to find it. This type of activity encourages both physical and mental enrichment!
Have a Question That You’d Like to Ask Us About Treats or Enrichment?
Join Dr. Micah Kohles during Ask a Vet Live as he answers small-pet related questions. Follow us on Facebook to learn more and to be notified of the next Ask a Vet Live event!
Additional Nutrition and Enrichment Care Tips & Tricks
How can I provide my pet with nutritional enrichment?
What kinds of games can I play with my rabbit, guinea pig, chinchilla or other small pet?