Take a look at your furry family members are they carrying around a little extra junk in the trunk after the festive holidays? It might interest you to know that our pets just like us might pack on a few extra pounds during the holiday season.
This goes for both DOGS & CATS by the way. Now is the time to start shedding the extra weight so by spring they are fresh, full of energy and ready to go.
Most of the time people don’t acknowledge pudgy pets until it’s very obvious. Now having said this let me also say please don’t get nuts about it. What I mean is gradual progress is the way to go here. One half of a pound to a pound a week should do it.
This way no one feels deprived. After all no one likes dieting, you don’t and I can promise you your pets don’t either.
Start nice and easy with exercising your pets, Rome wasn’t built in a day you know. Try having a little longer vigorous playtime or a longer walk, the key to look for is your pet slightly panting and wanting to go lie down. When you see this you have succeeded.
Also still give them a treat, instead of several everyday, try one time a day and make the pieces smaller. It really isn’t about the size it’s about the celebration of receiving yummy treats. Also make the treats lower in calories.
What I like to do is see what veggies a pet might enjoy… Yep our pets can have certain veggies to snack on. Not only do they enjoy them but the health benefits are awesome.
As with all food items, portion size is important. Keep your pets veggie treats small and talk to your vet about adjusting your pets food intake if you are supplementing your pets diet with vegetables. Vegetables may be low in calories, but they are not zero calories. Also make sure your pets do not choke in the excitement of eating them.
Watch out for any adverse reaction, such as nausea or loose stools. Sometimes vegetables will cause gas in your pets, so don’t overdo the amount you give them. If you are giving your pets the vegetable for the first time, give them just one small piece and observe their reaction before increasing the size or amount.
There are many ways to serve vegetables for your pets other than raw, such as cooked, steamed, baked, roasted, grilled or dehydrated. Pets do enjoy vegetables raw as a yummy treat; however, they have short digestive systems and do not get as many nutrients out of eating vegetables raw as we humans. A good way for pets to get the full nutrients of the vegetables is to break them down in a pureed form. No matter how you prepare the vegetables for your pets, do not use salt and definitely NO GARLIC! Pets don’t always care for it and it is not good for pets with heart conditions.
The following are 11 safe, good vegetables for pets, with suggested cooked preparations and portion sizes
- Preparation: Wash thoroughly, and slice into narrow wedges. Don’t peel the potato. Coat with a little olive oil and place on cookie sheet. Roast in oven (425 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 20 minutes on each side. Roast longer if your pet likes them crispier.
- Pet treat portion size: 1 or 2 wedges, depending on pets size
- Benefits: Good source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, manganese and fiber.
2. Asparagus (NOT FOR CATS)
- Preparation: Remove the fibrous ends from the asparagus spears and wash them thoroughly. Toss them with olive oil and grill 30 to 60 seconds on all sides.
- Dog treat portion size: Cut into bite size pieces. Feed one to two pieces.
- Benefits: Great source of Vitamin K. Good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C and E, folate, iron copper, fiber, manganese and potassium.
3. Broccoli Florets
- Preparation: Cut broccoli into small florets and wash thoroughly. Place in a steamer and follow the directions. Using a stove, put florets in an open vegetable steamer in a pot with boiling water and cover. Steam for about 6 to 8 minutes until crisp yet tender and bright green. You can also microwave them by putting 2 cups of broccoli florets in a microwave-safe container along with an inch of water for about 5 minutes.
- Pet treat portion size: One or two bite size florets
- Benefits: Great source of vitamins C and K. Good source of vitamin A, folate, manganese and fiber.
4. Brussels Sprouts (NOT FOR CATS)
- Preparation: Choose Brussel sprouts that are green, small, feel firm and don’t smell too strong. Wash thoroughly and cut off the stems, leaving enough stem that the leaves are still intact. Some chefs advise cutting a little X to in the stem to help the core to cook. You can then microwave the sprouts with water for up to 8 minutes, steam them for 5 minutes or boil the sprouts for up to 10 minutes — a little less for more crunchiness.
- Dog treat portion size: 1/2 to 2 sprouts, depending upon the dog’s size
- Benefits: Great source of vitamins K and C. Good source of manganese, folate, fiber, potassium and vitamins A, B1 and B6.
- Preparation: Remove ends and thoroughly wash. Cut into bite size treats and cook in a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes or steam for two to six minutes until tender.
- Pet treat portion size: One or two bite size pieces
- Benefits: Great source of vitamin A. Good source of vitamins K and C, fiber and potassium.
6. Cauliflower (NOT FOR CATS)
- Preparation: Wash thoroughly. To grill cauliflower, leave a little stalk intact. Marinate the cauliflower for 30 minutes in olive oil and then grill for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until crisp yet tender.
- Dog treat portion size: 1 to 2 florets, depending on the dog’s size
- Benefits: Great source of vitamin C. Good source of vitamins K and B6, folate and choline.
- Preparation: Wash thoroughly, peel, cut in half and remove seeds. Cut into bite size pieces. Place pieces into pot with boiling water for about 5 minutes. Empty pot into strainer.
- Pet treat portion size: 1 to 2 bite size pieces
- Benefits: Good source of vitamin K.
8. Edamame (NOT FOR CATS)
- Preparation: Edamame is conveniently available as a frozen vegetable in your local food store. Steam these boiled green soy beans according to the directions on the bag.
- Dog treat portion size: One to five unsalted, out-of-shell beans. Note: Always watch your dog eat small food items as he could choke on them in his excitement to gobble them down.
- Benefits: Great source of protein, iron, fiber, vitamin K, Omega-3 fats, phosphorus, vitamin B2, potassium, copper and magnesium.
9. Green Beans
- Preparation: Wash thoroughly and cut off ends. Use a covered pot to cook green beans in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Serve when cool. You can also cook green beans, brown rice and chicken in chicken broth to serve dogs with an upset tummy
- Pet treat portion size: 1 to 2 bite size pieces
- Benefits: Good source of vitamins C, K and A, manganese and fiber.
- Preparation: Fresh peas are usually available as snow, sugar snap or English peas. English peas must be shelled. Snow and sugar snap peas’ shells are edible. You can grill sugar snap and snow peas for about 3 minutes on each side, first lightly coating with olive oil if you prefer. For English peas, you need to shell them first. Cook the peas (minus their pods) in boiling water only two to four minutes until they turn bright green. Drain in a colander.
- Pet treat portion size: One or two Sugar snap or snow peas. For English, 1 or 2 tablespoons – depending on the pets size
- Benefits: Great source of vitamin K, and C. Good source of manganese, fiber, folate, phosphorus, protein, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, potassium and vitamins B1, A, B6, B3 and B2.
Sweet Potatoes & Pumpkin
- Preparation: Sweet potatoes make a great chew if you dehydrate them. Cut them lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick. Just follow the vegetable dehydration instructions included your dehydrator. You can also feed your pets mashed sweet potatoes. To prepare, peel and wash potatoes. Cut into quarters. Put into boiling water in a large pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Test potatoes with a fork. When they are fully tender, remove from pot, place in a heat-resistant container and mash with a potato masher
- Pet treat portion size: Half or one dehydrated chew, depending on size of dog. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of mashed sweet potato in pets dry food.
- Benefits: Great source of vitamin A. Good source of vitamins C, B6 and B5, manganese, potassium and fiber.
Here’s to your pets health! Remember Pets rule