Treats for loved ones

Photo: istockphoto.com/Michael Pettigrew
Everyone loves a treat. But just as humans shouldn't snack on junk food, our pets shouldn't be eating them either. Nearly 50 percent of dogs and cats in North America are overweight and one of the main sources of all that fat are the treats we love to feed them. Dangers from the table It can be tempting to share your dinner but certain human foods are dangerous. Onions, grapes, raisins and chocolate are all toxic for felines and canines. Dogs can handle garlic but keep it away from your cat. Cow's milk is not good for either since it causes gastric problems. Atkins diet Dogs or cats don't need carbohydrates as a part of their daily diet. But cheap treats often have filler ingredients like white flour (often listed as wheat flour), corn or soy that can cause gastric and skin problems. Look for cat treats high in protein and dog treats with whole grains. Salt intake should also be limited since dogs can only sweat it out through their paws and tongues and too much can lead to kidney problems. Latka's Delights has created some great low-fat doggie treats that hit the spot. Try the peanut butter or bacon cheddar biscuits made from with rye flour, oats, eggs and honey. Castor and Pollux Organix cat treats have chicken shaped into tiny drumsticks and contain no corn, wheat or meat by-products. Perfect for Fluffy. Treats to share There are plenty of treats that can be shared by both dogs and cats. Even the most finicky cat will not turn down Dr. Harvey's Power Patties Holistic Freeze-Dried Tripe Treats. Tripe is considered one of the most perfect foods for carnivores since it contains the perfect balance of protein, enzymes, amino and fatty acids. Be warned – these treats are really smelly. Junk food remedies Snacks high in refined sugar puts a huge load on a dog and cat's pancreas, which can lead to health problems and weight gain. Poochies with a sweet tooth will like the chicken, pineapple and coconut Yapper-tizers from Moddog. Wean kitty off her junk food with PetGuard's Purrlicious Organic Cat Treats. Wheat, corn and yeast free with no artificial flavorings, preservatives, sweeteners or sugars, these crunchy snacks are packed with chicken and will help with tartar control. Gourmet companions Greasy treats oozing sunflower, safflower or corn oils cause health problems. Wellness Pure Rewards All-Natural Delicious Chicken & Lamb Jerky Bits are treats containing no-meat by-products, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Just chicken and lamb with a pinch of chicory root and salt for flavouring. Sojos bacon cheddar and garlic veggie biscuits are also an Epicurean treat. Have a laugh while your pooch scarfs down http://www.sojos.com/treats.html ">Kung Fu Fido Fortune cookies and you read doggie fortunes like "Don't forget to stop and eat the roses." Really picky felines may just be waiting for Kitty Kaviar. This all-natural fish treat for cats is made from dried, paper thin Bonito filets (from the tuna and mackerel family) that is 75 percent protein and low in ash and magnesium. Treats from your kitchen For animal lovers who are bakers there are plenty of recipes out there. Bullwrinkle have over 70 dog treat recipes, including favourites like Bad Breath Banishers and Liver Brownies. Animal Snackables offers a dozen recipes for cat treats. Feline Frenzy and Kitty Taco are sure to be a hit. You can also go the lazy (but still healthy) route and just offer some veggies or fruit. Dogs love carrots, broccoli, green beans, spinach and apples and cats adore salads of sprouted wheat grass and other greens.