With Christmas right around the corner, tis the season of indulgence.
And not just for us humans, many of us want to treat our furry friends to the abundance of tasty delights at this time of year also.
We just can’t help ourselves. It’s our way of showing them love and appreciation. And let’s face it, they don’t exactly complain do they?!
But before we get carried away with daily leftover offerings, take a moment to consider what else he’s eaten that day and how much exercise he’s gotten, or going to get over the coming days to be sure he’s not continually over-eating.
Research compiling data from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) estimated that “46% of dogs they saw in practice each week are overweight or obese.”
In the US, the stats are even higher. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) 55.8% of dogs are classified as overweight or obese.
And being an overweight dog is no fun.
Not only will he struggle with simple things like heading out on his daily walk, his health will be massively affected too.
He’ll have difficulty breathing, become more susceptible to conditions like arthritis and suffer with chronic back problems. He may also injure more easily, and be open to serious health concerns such as kidney disease, cancer and, ultimately, a reduced lifespan.
Now I’m not saying don’t give some treats to your pooch over the festive season, just be more aware of the type of treats you’re feeding him. Because honestly, your dog loves a carrot as much as he would a piece of turkey. I mean it!
So this year, how about switching out some of your usual leftovers treats for a few healthier ones which are so much better for him and have the added bonus of not having the potential to negatively impact on his health so much.
It’s easier than you think.
Many vets and canine nutritionists recommend fruits and vegetables as treats, because they’re high in nutrients and low in calories. So as part of your Christmas shop, stock up on a bit of extra fruit and veg for your furry friend too.
Here are some good choices…
- Apples (remove the seeds and core) – an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, and fibre. Apples can also help remove residue that’s built up on your dog’s teeth, keeping his mouth healthy and his breath fresh!
- Carrots – raw or cooked, with or without the green stem. Carrots are another source of fibre, as well as Vitamin A which is great for his eyes and in sustaining a healthy immune system.
- Peas (removed from certain inedible pods) – frozen or cooked (but not tinned) peas are a great source of fibre, protein and contain plenty of vitamins. Find out more about the benefits of peas here, plus when not to feed him peas.
- Blueberries – these little blue snacks are packed full of antioxidants which help protect your dog from nasty free radicals.
- Parsnips – containing Vitamins C and B6 as well as folic acid and potassium, these will boost your dog’s metabolism and support a healthy nervous system.
These are just five, but trust me, there are LOADS of tasty and healthy treats your pooch will LOVE. Just remember to do a quick Google check first though (or ask your vet) as there are many regular food items your dog can’t eat such as onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, raw potatoes, chocolate, to name just a few…
And remember, whatever treat you’re offering this Christmas, moderation is key.
As much as your pooch LOVES treats and will give you the best puppy dog eyes ever to keep ‘em coming, over-feeding can result in vomiting, diarrhoea, or worse.
Keep in mind the 90/10 rule – treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s balanced diet.
Ultimately, you absolutely should show your furry bestie plenty of love and appreciation this Christmas, and all year round. But why not keep the treats to a minimum and instead show it by spending time playing with him, going on big walks, and by giving him loads of snuggles.
He’ll love you just as much, and his health won’t suffer.
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