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How to Choose Healthy Treats for Your Pet

Feeding your pet a complete and balanced diet is vital to their overall health and well being. Previously on the blog, we've talked about the importance of choosing a species-appropriate commercial or home-prepared diet that will support your pet's health and protect them from illness. But don't forget that the treats you feed your pet should also be nutrient-rich and beneficial to health.

In today's post, we'll take a look at some of the different types of treats you can feed your pet. We'll also share some tips for choosing healthy and nutritious treats your furry friend will love.

Healthy dog treats

Commercial Pet Treats

These days, a huge variety of commercial pet treats are available in pet stores and online. But with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to make healthy choices for your pet. The best way to choose a high-quality pet treat is by carefully reading the label on the product's packaging. All pet foods (including treats) are required by law to include a guaranteed analysis (GA) on their label.

The GA is similar to the nutritional information printed on packages of human food. It is designed to help pet owners compare levels of at least four nutrients: protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. If a product makes claims about other specific nutrients, they must also be included in the GA. The amounts of these nutrients are determined by chemical testing and computer formulation. For more information about reading the GA on pet food packaging, please refer to our previous post.

The best types of commercial pet treats are made with natural ingredients, minimally processed, and low in calories. It is also important to choose treats that are sourced and made in the US, or other countries with strictly enforced food regulations. Take care to avoid treats with additives such as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Other ingredients to steer clear of include added sugar and low-quality fillers such as meat by-products and corn solids.

Looking for healthy, nutritious pet treats you can trust? Our CocoTherapy line of treats are perfect for your fur kids. They're made using 100% organic and non-GMO ingredients that are not only good for your furry friend, but ridiculously delicious too! Our Coco-Charms Training Treats are bite size grain-free and gluten-free treats that are perfect for pets with allergies and sensitive tummies. Choose from Pumpkin Pie or Blueberry Cobbler flavor. If you're looking for a treat that's packed full of protein, check out our Coco-Carnivore Meatballs. We only use meats that are antibiotic-free, hormone-free, and Non-GMO to raise the bar beyond the common meat treat. Choose from 3 delicious recipes: Beef + Oranges + Coconut, Chicken + Basil + Coconut, or Turkey + Spinach + Coconut.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Feeding your pet fresh fruits and vegetables as treats is a great way to keep them healthy. However, it's important to make the right choices to avoid health problems such as digestive issues and accidental poisoning.

Fruits and vegetables to avoid include grapes and raisins, avocados, raw potatoes, and vegetables from the Allium species (onions, garlic, leeks, chives, shallots, and scallions). These can cause a range of dangerous symptoms in pets, and can be toxic even in small amounts. Here are a few types of fruits and vegetables that make healthy treats for pets:

Apple Slices and Blueberries

Apples are low in calories and a great source of antioxidants and vitamins A and C. They're also packed with healthy dietary fiber, and even help keep your pet's teeth clean! Slice apples before feeding them to your pet to remove the core and seeds which could pose a choking hazard.  Blueberries are also a fantastic snack for your pet. They're low in calories and high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. 

Cooked Pumpkin

Pumpkin is one of the healthiest vegetables to feed your pet. It's full of nutrients and vitamins, and has been shown to help maintain a healthy digestive system. It's also excellent for urinary health and aids weight loss. Choose cooked pumpkin as it's easier for your pet to digest. 

Broccoli and Peas

Broccoli is packed full of wholesome vitamins and nutrients. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and promotes strong bones and a healthy heart. Make sure to feed in moderation, as large amounts can cause diarrhea. Peas are also a fantastic addition to your pet's diet. They're high in protein, fiber, and vitamins, and help keep your pet's body healthy. Benefits include improved digestive function and a strengthened immune system.

Homemade Pet Treats

Making your own homemade pet treats is a great way to ensure that your pet receives a safe and nutritious snack. Homemade treats are also an excellent option for animals that have food allergies or specific dietary needs, as recipes can be tailored to suit your pet. Interested in making some delicious, healthy homemade pet treats? Here's one of our favorite recipes to get you started:

Healthy pet treats CocoTherapy

Banana, Apple, and Cranberry Coconut Pet Treats

These yummy treats are grain-free and gluten-free, and sure to be a hit with your four-legged friend – and they're packed full of healthy ingredients! Bananas are rich in potassium, high in fiber, and a good source of vitamins C and B6. Apples are low in calories and contain antioxidants and vitamins A and C. Cranberries are also a healthy choice for pets, they're rich in antioxidants which help support your pet's immune system, prevent allergies, and promote healthy skin. They're also high in fiber, which helps keep the digestive system healthy. And of course, CocoTherapy organic coconut oil offers countless health benefits for pets.

Ingredients

6 eggs (room temperature)
1/4 cup melted organic coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP unsweetened applesauce
2 ripe bananas – mashed
2/3 cup freeze-dried cranberries
1 cup organic coconut flour (sifted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Blend together eggs, vanilla, applesauce, melted oil.
  3. Add coconut flour. Blend well.
  4. Fold in mashed bananas and freeze-dried cranberries.
  5. Roll dough to ¼” thickness. Cut with cookie cutter.
  6. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for around 20-25 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown. When done, turn off oven, and leave biscuits in the oven for around 30 minutes for firmer biscuits.
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