‘Tis the season for taking a break and spending some long overdue holiday time with family and friends – including those four-legged and feathered ones too! It’s time for sunshine, good times, and, of course, a little bit of over-indulging on snacks and treats. As choccie bowls overflow and biscuit tins get fuller, don’t forget that pets also love treats.
It’s very tempting to feed your treats to your furry friends, especially as it’s been another rough year and they should be spoiled a little too, right? Wrong! There are treats that fall on the naughty list for pets, and it’s important to remember that a treat that isn’t suitable for animal digestion may cause serious health problems.
Justine Gatter, Head of Marketing at Marltons, suggests these four healthy festive season treats that are purrfectly woof-a-licious for your furry and winged friends.
Conveniently available at your nearest supermarket, Calcium Bones are a soft and chewy treat for dogs from the age of 6 months. Not only do these treats give them something to chew on, but they also aid healthy digestion and contribute to healthy bones. Since it’s the season of sloppy kisses, these treats also help to give dogs fresh breath and are great for dental hygiene, as they help rub off the tartar and plaque formation on your dog’s teeth and gums. The treats are made with real milk, natural ingredients and are vitamin enriched, making them healthy and nutritious.
A delicious and healthy treat for felines, these snacks have been formulated by an animal nutritionist. Consisting of a crispy outer shell with a cream-filled centre, there is no way your cat will ignore you when you have a packet of these on hand. The treats are soya-free and contain no artificial preservatives. Not only are they delicious, but they are also crammed full of Omega 3 and 6, which keeps their skin and coats healthy and shiny. Pop down to your nearest supermarket and grab a packet for endless cat cuddles.
Who would have guessed that parrots love chillies? These feisty birds love it when you spice things up – and you’ll be able to find this treat at any supermarket or pet store. A good mix usually contains a selection of highly nutritious and crunchy parrot pellets with the perfect mix of chilli, added vitamins, minerals and amino acids to boost overall health and wellbeing. The mix of flavours, colours and textures means a more interesting and fun feeding time for your pretty bird. Just remember that this treat is only for parrots – other birds prefer something a little milder.
Dogs go barking mad for peanut butter! And yes, it is healthy for them in moderation. In fact, it can be an excellent source of protein for dogs as it contains heart-healthy fats, vitamins B and E and niacin. Raw, unsalted peanut butter with no added sugar is the healthiest option. Always read the label carefully to ensure the peanut butter does not contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that can be toxic to dogs.
Avoid this naughty list
It’s important to remember that even though animals love certain treats, there are some no-no’s that should never be given to pets. Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines, which act as toxic stimulants for animals and can stop their metabolic process. Even just a little bit of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. A large amount can cause seizures, irregular heart function, and even death. Ice-cream is also on the naughty list. As refreshing as it is for us, it contains lots of sugar, so it’s best not to share with your pet. Also, some pets have an intolerance to lactose. Biscuits, cake and other sugary, fatty and rich foods can also upset their tummies and make them ill – the best rule of thumb is to avoid those kinds of treats completely.
The holidays are time to have fun, and including your pets when enjoying treats and snacks makes them feel like part of the family. If you do it responsibly and take a little time to choose the right treats for them, it really can be the season of spoils for all.