Are Your Pet’s Treats Treating Your Pet Well?

Have you ever spent time at the pet store and wondered which is the best treat for your dog or cat? How do you know what you are giving to your pet is healthy?

Unfortunately, you do not know if it is good until after you try the product. There are hundreds of brands, styles, sizes and types of treats to choose from. Dog and cat treats are great for training and improving the human-animal bond. Below are some helpful points to consider the next time you shop for your furry pet.

Key features to consider in pet treats:

  • Calories
  • Quality of ingredients
  • Hardness of the treat/toy
  • AAFCO approval (Association of American Feed Control Officials)
  • VOHC approval (Veterinary Oral Health Council)
  • Size
  • Safety

The perfect treat would be made of the best ingredients, taste great, low in calories, improve dental health and very safe.

AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) regulates the quality and safety of animal food products. Look at the label on the product for “AAFCO feeding trials,” meaning that the product was actually fed to dogs to meet their nutritional needs or “formulated to meet the nutritional levels determined by AAFCO.”

Proper nutrition is one of the most important factors affecting your pet’s health. Overall health starts with the mouth and ensuring clean teeth can reduce the risks of serious diseases such as heart, kidney and liver disease. We brush our teeth daily to remove the plaque and maintain good oral health. If daily accumulation of plaque is not removed, harmful bacteria can build under the gums leading to periodontal disease and might enter the bloodstream. The VOHC authorizes the use of their registered seal on products intended to reduce plaque and tartar on the teeth of pets. The next time you pickup or look at a bag of treats, look for the VOHC seal of approval.

Ensure you select the proper size and weight treat for your dog or cat. Consult with your veterinarian if you have questions, and never leave your pet unattended when giving them a treat or a toy.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR PETS WITH DIABETES:Giving treats to animals with diabetes can be very difficult. Giving treats that are high in protein and low in simple sugars and carbohydrates to dogs and cats that have their diabetes well regulated on diet and/or insulin therapy can often be tolerated. Like adding anything additional to a diabetic pet’s diet, it is very important to contact your veterinarian for advice and monitor their blood glucose to ensure safety.

Dr Gary’s Pet Health Tip of the Month:

Having trouble brushing your pet’s teeth every day or unsure of what to do with the dirty toothbrush after cleaning? Try dental wipes that have medication to reduce plaque, plus friction of the pad helps to clean teeth. The best part, when you are done, throw the wipe away. A dental treat once a day and daily teeth cleaning is a great way to prevent dental disease.

Common Herbs and Their Health Benefits

Garlic Health Benefits
Although some of the stories about the healing properties of garlic have doubtful validity, majority of the claimed health benefits of garlic is supported by modern scientific studies. The two main healing compounds of garlic include allicin and diallyl sulphides. Basically, garlic is a sulphurous compound and a clove that has a stronger taste has a lot of sulphur content and thus more potential healing value. Some researchers have argued that organically grown garlic tends to have more sulphur content and thus higher health value.

Benefits
Garlic has been used extensively in herbal remedies to treat many human conditions and illnesses for many years. Many people claim that garlic prevents and treats everything ranging from common cold and flu to the plague. A lot of the folks talk about health benefits provided by garlic remains unproven up to date. But there are several garlic health benefit facts that have been accepted globally. Among the accepted facts about garlic is its ability to help people in managing blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels in blood.

Modern research has indicated that garlic is among the most powerful natural antibiotics that exist on earth. The bacteria that cause infections in human body are unable to evolve resistance to garlic the way do to many pharmaceutical drugs. Therefore, the positive health benefits provided by garlic can endure for longer periods instead of just assist in breeding antibiotic resistant “superbugs” Besides, research has indicated that aged garlic is a very powerful antioxidant and thus plays an important role in protecting the body against damaging free radicals. Some scientists even claim that fermented black garlic has higher levels of antioxidants than normal ones. Some people consider taking the garlic supplements rather than the normal clove; they take capsules and pills and thus avoid garlic breath.

Side-Effects
Just like many remedies, garlic is not perfect. The garlic breath is never pleasant; garlic also have other demerits especially if taken in excess. Given the fact that raw garlic is very strong, it is advisable not to consume a lot of it as it might cause problems such as irritation or damage to the digestive tract. In addition, there are some people who are naturally allergic to garlic. Signs and symptoms of garlic allergy include headaches, skin rashes, as well as temperature. Besides, garlic can disrupt anti coagulants a lot thus it is good to do away with it before surgery. It is recommended that you always consult your doctor first before using it together with other medications. A study carried out in 2001 indicated that garlic supplements can bring about very harmful side effects if taken with a type of medication used in treatment of HIV/AIDS.

NASTURTIUM
Nasturtium is a very delicious herbal remedy with its origin attributed to South America. It is an effective remedy for treating symptoms of internal as well as topical bacterial infections. It is mainly known for treating skin conditions as well as those affecting the urinary tract, digestive and respiratory systems. The parts of the herb that are mostly used are the leaves and flowers.

The healing Properties of Nasturtium include:
• Antibacterial
• Antimicrobial
• Expectorant
• Demulcent
• Vulnerary
• Antifungal

The main functions of Nasturtium include:
• Cures colds and flu
• Serves as an astringent
• Serves as a rinse for blond and red hair
• Source of Vitamin C
• A natural antibiotic
• It is good for the skin
• Treats cystitis
• Serves as a home remedy for hair loss or alopeci

NETTLES
The leaves of the stinging nettle plant are among the most valuable herbal remedies for many human conditions. Nettle is one of the rich sources of iron and thus is a wonderful blood builder.

Medicinal Properties of Nettles
• Astringent
• Pectoral
• Nutritive
• Ant rheumatic
• Anti-lithic
• Stimulant
• Decongestant
• Anti allergenic
• Anodyne
• Diuretic
• Natural antihistamine

Uses of Nettles
• Treats arthritis
• Home remedy for high blood pressure
• Cures hay fever
• Solves prostate problems
• Cures stomach ulcers
• Serves as a blood purifier
• Relieves fluid retention
• Serves as acne home remedy
• Serves as Gout home remedy
• Stimulates hair growth

NUTMEG
Nutmeg is a seed with a hard cover and is of the same size as a marble. It has a zesty flavor. The tree that produces nutmeg seeds commonly grows on the Caribbean Island. Many people get to test nutmegs through a cup of eggnog or holiday cookies. Nutmeg is among the most effective natural remedies for many human illnesses and conditions.

Medicinal Properties of Nutmeg
• Antiseptic
• Anti-rheumatic
• Analgesic
• Antispasmodic
• Stimulates the mind

Uses for Nutmeg
• A remedy for asthma
• Benefits the heart
• Relieves aches and pains
• Stimulates the blood circulation
• Relieves aching joints
• Improves memory
• Aphrodisiac
• Relieves toothache
• Alzheimer’s
• Relieves anxiety as well as depression
• Cures diarrhea
• Treats impotence
• Treats indigestion
• Serves as a home remedy for hangovers and liver conditions
• Treats dysentery
• Treats premature ejaculation
• Serves as colic remedies
• Incontinence

Dog Treats and Canine Health Conditions

Canine health is often high on pet owner’s list of priorities, and this shows in the dog treats they choose. There are many manufacturers who enrich their products with various ingredients that are intended to promote good health, even when a condition exists. Rather than settle for the first biscuits you find, do a little research and find a treat that is ideal for your pet’s health.

Arthritis and Joint Health

Sadly, arthritis is a common problem in many older canines. This can come about due to a number of factors, one of the most well known being obesity. Stress put on the joints over years will take it’s toll, and the result will be painful mobility during your pet’s golden years. Thankfully, there are a few companies who have created products that help alleviate the pain. It is important to note that dog treats are not a cure nor should they replace prescriptions or veterinary advice. However, they can help your pet live more comfortably.

For example, Nutri-Dog has made a uniquely shaped biscuit that is intended to promote good joint and hip health. These are made gluten-free and completely digestible. They also contain glucosamine which is known to encourage stronger, healthier joints in canines. The Nutri-Dog treats come in different sizes to accommodate various breeds. Treatco makes another similar product in its line of chicken filets. The hip and joint version includes glucosamine as well as chondroitin sulfate, which also assists with cartilage repair in the joints.

Canine Obesity

Maintaining a healthy weight is extremely important in canines, and many owners assume dog treats would counter act a good diet. There are treats available that can actually assist with canine weight loss, by offering a supplement of other necessary vitamins. Products such as Treatco’s chicken filets with vitamins and minerals, provide pets with additional sources of vitamins E, B-12, A, and D. These will keep your pet energized and healthy even while working on weight reduction.

Allergies in Dogs

Another common health problem found in canines is allergies. Many dogs suffer from wheat allergies, which can pose a serious problem considering how many dog treats and foods contain wheat ingredients. Dogs with wheat allergies may show a number of symptoms, including itchiness, swelling of the ear, diarrhea, and frequent sneezing. More severe symptoms may be displayed depending on the intensity of the allergy. These include behavior changes and seizures.

Many dog treats are now made with wheat-free recipes. This allows dogs to enjoy their snacks without the allergic reaction. Some are even dual-purpose, such as the Bone-a-Mint treat made by N-Bone. These are wheat-free and also encourage fresher breath with a recipe that includes parsley, peppermint, and fennel.

Evaluate your Pet

Before settling on a specific brand of dog treats, make sure you know what is out there for your pet. Consider existing health conditions and potential high-risk problems that could arise later in life. By offering healthy snacks that work with your pet’s body, you can help prevent or slow the onset of health problems.

Homemade Dog Treats Versus Store Bought – Which is the Best For Your Pet?

There is much debate over the benefits of a store bought dog treat when compared to homemade dog treats. If you are on the fence about which to feed your furry friend, then there are a few things you should consider. The truth is the best option depends on your lifestyle and your pet’s health.

An Argument for Store Bought Dog Treats

Store bought dog treats have one benefit that homemade treats don’t have: they can easily be purchased, prepackaged and ready to serve to your pet. The opposition claims that store bought treats are not nearly as healthy as homemade treats can be. While this may be true in some cases, a diligent pet owner can easily discern the good from the bad. With a little research, you can find out which offers the best health benefits for your pets and which are full of unwanted fillers and preservatives.

Pet owners who lead a busy lifestyle may not have time to make homemade treats. Plus, the time you spend in the kitchen could be better spent playing with your pet. Commercially made treats are also pre-sized. They come in uniform shapes with each treat having a similar volume. This makes it far easier to read through the ingredients and health information and determine the correct serving for your pet’s size and breed.

Another benefit to store bought dog treats are the varieties available. People whose pets have serious health conditions, such as chronic renal failure, may have an easier time locating a treat that is ideal for their pet’s needs. Making a similar treat is very difficult to do because of all the ingredient requirements.

An Argument for Homemade Treats

Homemade treats may take more time to make, but some dog owners insist they are well worth the investment. The main draw to the homemade dog biscuit is the flexibility in terms of ingredients. Pet owners know exactly what goes into their treats. Plus, they can make sure their dog is eating only the freshest ingredients available. Some store bought treats sit in a warehouse for weeks or even months. With a homemade treat, you know exactly when it was baked.

Many dog owners also appreciate the customization options homemade dog treats offer. You can design them to look any way you like. Spell your pet’s name or buy unique cookie cutters. Of course, many store bought treats come in a wide variety of shapes and colors as well. In the end, these aspects are more for the owner than the dog.

Before you write off store bought dog treats, find out what is available that offers a healthy snack for your pet. Homemade treats are a great option because you know exactly what your dog is eating and when it was made. However, they also involve far more work. Owners whose dogs suffer from a serious health condition may find it difficult to locate a recipe that is tailored to their pet’s health requirements. Remember to ask your vet for suggestions about which store bought treats are ideal for your pet or which recipes are safe to use when dealing with a sick canine.