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Monday, August 08, 2005

Treats for Pets - Birds, Cats, Dogs, etc.

Most pets -- even tropical fish -- appreciate a little tickle of the taste buds. Those with less sophisticated palates (golden retrievers come to mind) may not know what they're eating but will relish a little extra anything from their much-adored owners. Still, a food treat should be a rare indulgence, sold or prepared especially for animals. For the most part, it should not be a helping of whatever the owners are indulging in.

Let's Not Create Animal Overeaters
Be judicious in choosing times to dole out treats. When your pet behaves well during a trying experience -- say, a trip to the veterinarian -- it's appropriate to reward the animal with a treat immediately afterward. But don't shut the animal up in the laundry room with a ham slice for consolation because no one's given him the time of day in a week. If you offer a pet a food treat in lieu of attention or affection, then presto, an overeater is born!

Every Litter Bit Stinks!
If yours is a strictly indoor cat, avoid giving him pungent fish products -- sardines, mackerel, kippers, canned salmon -- as a treat. His litter box output will be unbearably smelly if you slip up on this.

On Saturday, Tabby Gets Tuna
Try to limit treat giving to once a week or so. Otherwise, stick to kitty's regular fare. Don't play to a pet's finicky nature by getting more and more inventive with the treats. Cats will take advantage if you let them and can get diarrhea from many foods, so be firm and don't allow them to demand pate on a regular basis.

A Honey of a Treat
Cockatiels simply adore honey sticks, which consist of the usual pellets and seeds held together by coagulated honey.

A (Fruit) Cocktail Would Be Nice
Give your parrot a honey stick, too. Or tempt him with more creative fruit treats, such as kiwifruit (washed twice to remove even the slightest traces of pesticides) and strawberries cut into small chunks.

Care for a Shrimp Cocktail?
Tropical fish really need consistent food more than anything -- and not too much of it. But you might offer them an occasional treat of dried brine shrimp. The fish seem to like it.

Have You Ever Met a Finicky Guinea Pig?
Guinea pigs live to eat, so any offering is a treat. Still, if you want something truly special, give your pet one-half cup of one of those fancy prewashed salad green mixes. Look for one that's heavy on the darker greens and lighter on the lettuce (which has little nutritional value).

Article is Compliments of Petsmart


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