Reward Your Feline Friend With Something Nutritious And Delicious
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The Spruce / Chloe Jeong
Most cat owners like to show they love their cats not only with affection but with treats. There are a number of different kinds of cat treats and some are better for your cat than others. However, choosing a healthy treat isnt as easy as it sounds because cats can be selective in what they want to eat and some may have dietary restrictions.
Dr. Kerri Blackburn of Rivers Edge Animal Hospital in Rock Hill, South Carolina says cat treats, much like human treats, are loaded with calories and sodium to help with flavor and encourage palatability . “This can be problematic when we are focused on weight loss or a cat has health concerns like renal or heart disease,” she says. “Treats can be formulated with many ingredients and this can be problematic in cats with allergies.
Thankfully there are a number of healthy cat treat options so you can find the perfect one for your cat, despite what dietary restrictions it may have. By choosing a cat treat that your cat not only enjoys eating but that also has healthy ingredients, you can avoid giving empty calories and therefore contribute to your cats health instead of a problem.
Below, find the best healthy cat treats.
How To Choose The Best Food For Your Kitten
Young felines need plenty of protein and fat to help them grow. When scanning shelves of kitten food products, Anthony offers these basic tips for reading labels:
- Pet food ingredients are listed by weight.
- The first three or four ingredients are the main bulk of the food.
- Meat should be near the top: first or second in canned food and definitely in the top three for dry.
- Look for a food that meets the requirements set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials . The wording will either say “formulated to meet standards” or “animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures”.
Anthony notes that kittens should have a checkup with the veterinarian prior to any diet change. “Body condition, GI health, and other concurrent issues should be addressed by a doctor first,” she says. Your vet might have additional recommendations for the best kitten food brands to complement the ones listed below.
- Purina Pro Plan Kitten Shredded Blend Chicken and Rice Formula Dry Cat Food$12.00
- IAMS Perfect Portions Grain Free Healthy Kitten Paté$0.95
- Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Kitten Wet Cat Food$32.00
Best Budget: Blue Buffalo Bursts With Savory Seafood Cat Treats
Calories: 2.1 per treat | Key Ingredients: Deboned salmon, brown rice, tuna meal, barley, pork fat, tapioca starch, oatmeal, salmon meal, natural flavor, deboned cod, peas, shrimp, canola oil, brewers dried yeast, dried whey, taurine, oil of rosemary
Meat is the first ingredient
Less than $1/oz.
12 ounces is the largest container available
Slightly higher calories per treat than other similar options
These cat treats come in 12-ounce containers which will put the price of spoiling your cat at less than a dollar an ounce. Other healthy treats are priced at over a dollar an ounce and dont commonly come in more than a 2-ounce bag. Blue Buffalo Bursts have a crunchy outer shell and a creamy inside that most cats find irresistible and cat owners love that they contain no wheat, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Meat is the first ingredient in both flavors of these cost-conscious and healthy treats so you know youre giving your little carnivore something nutritious.
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Treats As Part Of A Healthy Diet
One of the most important things to remember and also one of the easiest to overlook is that treats form a part of your cats diet.
Now, whether you give one or two treats per week or multiple treats per day will inform how much of a part of the diet they are, but theyre important to factor in, nonetheless.
Too many treats can lead to an increase in calories, and weight gain in your cat, which can lead to negative health side effects.
Depending on the macronutrients , treats can also throw your cats diet out of whack.
If you choose one of the recommendations above, they can actually be a healthy addition to the diet, so we highly recommend choosing one of our top picks.
But if you have treats that are full of corn and other low-quality ingredients, feeding a few per day can seriously skew your cats nutritional intake.
Make sure that you keep in mind that youre adding more calories and potentially altering the macronutrients of your cats diet when you feed treats!
The 6 Best Cat Treats
The best cat treats are absolutely delicious. Heres why the irresistibility factor is essential.
Cats are highly food motivated. When you offer them an irresistible treat, theyll be willing to work to get it. If youre interested in clicker training and dream of a day when your cat will jump through hoops and shake paws on command, its essential to choose a scrumptious treat your cat is willing to work for.
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Prime Taste Treats Trout Jerky Treats
If health and nutrition is your goal, these treats come packed with all the vitamins and nutrients a cat needs to support optimum growth.
What I like about it:
If you ever need a vitamin-packed cat treat, this would be it. Because the jerky treats come enriched with supplements, feeding your feline friend these treats are a great way to keep him one happy, healthy cat.
The treats have the added benefit of freshening a cats breath. And whats more, these have an affordable price.
The treats are individually wrapped just like a Slim Jim jerky, which contributes to the freshness, but theyre soft and not as firm. You can easily break these apart for your dainty felines to eat.
What needs a bit of improvement:
The trout flavoring on this cat treat can cause some misunderstanding. When you read the ingredient label, it not only has trout, it also has these: pork, liver, pork meal, and turkey. Its best to check the label thoroughly to make sure your cat isnt allergic to any of the other ingredients.
Vital Essentials Minnows Freeze
Vital Essentials Vital Minnows Freeze-dried Cat Treats is a single ingredient treat that provides your kitten with 60% protein. Its freeze-dried process guarantees to preserve all the nutrients that are normally lost in over-cooked dry treats. This product is made with only fresh, whole single-sourced minnows so there is no corn, wheat, or soy in the treat that can throw off your pets digestive system. A perfect healthy snack for your kitten without any harmful ingredients.
The biggest downside to Vital Essentials Vital Minnows Freeze-dried Cat Treats is that cats who dont like fish could refuse to eat it.
- Some cats dont like it
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Should You Give Dog Treats When Training
A lot of pet parents wonder if they should be using treats to train their dog or if theres a better way of reinforcing good behavior and thats certainly a good question.
Using treats to positively reinforce behaviors that you want to see repeated is a powerful tool when it comes to shaping or changing your dogs behavior. Food rewards can make your dog more responsive, increase the likelihood that a training regime will be successful, and help you create a positive connection with your pooch.
That being said, its worth noting that dishing out too many treats can cause issues with weight gain and if you only ever use treats, your pup may become dependent on these food-based rewards as the only method of positive reinforcement that theyll accept. With that in mind, we recommend using a mixture of treats alongside praise and affection when training and rewarding your furkid.
Best Meaty Treats For Kittens
Grain free treats are great, but 100% meaty treats are fantastic.
Thrive 100% Fish Cat Treats
A great choice is Thrives 100% Fish Cat Treats.
This tube lasts a long time, as the small pieces are divided up well.
It contains only white fish, and is therefore a very healthy treat for any kitten or cat. Completely grain free too, of course!
Whole Life Single Ingredient
Cooked, freeze-dried and carefully sealed, these cat treats will appeal to even the pickiest kitty. And theyre super healthy too.
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Top 5 Best Litters For Kittens
Quick Look : Top 5 Best Training Litters for Kittens
|Where To Buy||$.61/lb|
At the top of the list, youll notice a couple of non-clumping biodegradable litters. These are ideal for very young kittens, but dont offer the same hygiene and freshness that a clumping litter would provide. For those who would prefer a clumping litter, but dont want to use sodium bentonite clay, biodegradable clumping litters may provide a safer alternative. Youll also notice one clumping clay litter this one is recommended for older kittens who need an extra push to use the litter box.
Here are the top 5 best products you can use in your kittens litter box:
Pet Munchies Cat Treats
These 100% chicken liver treats are natural, healthy cat treats full of nutrients. The chicken liver has been freeze-dried to ensure it keeps all of its natural goodness and flavor.
These bite-size treats deserve their place on our list of the best cat treats because they are easily digestible and contain loads of healthy vitamins including Vitamin A, E, Copper, Omega 3 and Omega 6.
They also have high levels of calcium and selenium which helps support teeth health and joint mobility.
The small liver pieces can be fed anytime as a treat and contain no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or additives.
They also are grain free, salt and gluten-free so are well suited to cats with allergies or sensitive stomachs.
These make a high protein treat that will benefit your kitties health.
The meat used is human grade so you know your cat is getting high-quality treats with these Pet Munchies cat treats.
- 100% chicken liver
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Best Treats For Senior Cats
The treats you select for your senior cat need to be appropriate for their age and body health. As cats age, they develop arthritis in their joints and back, they can have organ disease, or develop cognitive dysfunction .
Talk to your veterinarian about your senior cats health and see if they have any nutrient levels or requirements to be aware of when selecting their food and treats. Since some seniors will start to eat less than adult cats, getting food and treats into their bodies that can help support their bodys overall health is recommended.
Joint Support: In general, pets who are aging will likely need joint support. Arthritis isnt easy to spot at home. If your pet is getting up slower than normal, walking slower, exercising less often, walking stiffly, refusing to climb or descend stairs, is limping or not jumping normally, your veterinarian can perform a physical exam to determine if arthritis has started affecting your pet.
There are a variety of treats that provide fish oil , type II collagen, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, MSM and curcumin. All of these supplements help control joint inflammation and pain, in different but complementary ways. When given together, these supplements create a synergistic effect, and can help improve pain associated with arthritis.
Here are some of my favorite treats that can help with joint care. These treats each have a combination of joint supplements to help keep your pet comfortable:
The Best Treats For Kittens For 2022
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You want to feed your kitten the best food and treats to keep their growing bodies healthy and strong. With so many options on the market, it can be tough to figure out which options are the best for your new little pet. Part of it comes down to pet preference and weve rounded up our top favorites to help take care of the rest.
Soft treats, savory treats, and training treats are all options for growing kittens. With ingredients that work as part of a diet to promote healthy growth and development, these are our top recommended picks. It helps that kittens and kitten owners give them rave reviews as well. Try one of these tasty and healthy options to indulge your kitten with a tasty treat while still supporting their healthy growth.
- These treats promote kitten wellness and development
- Protein-heavy to promote healthy body development
- Includes omega-3, omega-6, and taurine to support brain development
- Wheat, corn, and soy free
- Safe for kittens and cats
- Made from healthy ingredients, including salmon, peas, cranberries, and blueberries
- Dual texture is crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside
- Formulated with DHA for brain development
- Two flavors are available for kittens
- Resealable pouch
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Treats Are A Great Addition To Your Cats Life
Any treat can make life more fun.
Taking a moment to give your cat a treat they love is a way to bond with your cat anytime. We can use treats to communicate with our cats during training and as a reward for good behavior. Treats help us to distract, calm, and generally help improve our cats lives.
But not all treats are created equal and certainly not every treat is a healthy choice for your cat.
In this article, weve taken a look at some of the best treats in a variety of different categories: raw, crunchy, and soft and identified what makes them a great addition to your cats diet.
Ultimately, its all about finding a treat that lights up your cat one that absolutely thrills them every time they hear the sound of the bag shaking. Hopefully, this article has brought you closer to finding a nutritious treat that your cat will go nuts over.
Once youve nailed down your choice of treats consider rounding out a top-notch diet for your cats with our suggestions for the best cat food of 2022.
Homemade Dog Training Treats
Making your own treats at home is an excellent way to save yourself some money. You can make a big batch at once that is likely far cheaper than buying bags at the store, which can dwindle fast if your dog participates in a lot of training or activities.
Another perk to DIY dog treats is the control you have over the ingredients list. Oftentimes, treats contain things you might not expect, like a hidden chicken additive on a beef formula. If your dog has allergies or other restrictions, you can prevent surprise problems by sticking to a homemade recipe.
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Can Too Many Cat Treats Hurt A Cat
Providing too many treats actually upsets the nutritional balance of the regular ration. Some of the popular cat treats contain 85% protein – far higher than the amount of protein found in an appropriate cat food formulation. Too many treats will interfere with your cat’s appetite for her regular food.
Resources And Further Reading
- PetMD. Cat Treats and Snacks: Whats Healthy? Cook, A. BVM& S.
- Bellows, J., DVM, Dipl. AVDC, ABVP, Dental Disease in Cats, VCA Hospitals, 2008.
- Feinman, J., DVM, Kittens: Dr. Jeffs Recommendations for New Owners, Home Vet, 2017.
- Lindell, E.M., VMD, DACVB, Top 5 Kitten Behavior Tips, Veterinary Behavior Consultations: Clinicians Brief, 2016.
This article has been extensively revised for 2019
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Important Things To Consider
There are important things to factor into your decision when buying the best puppy training treats. Your dogs size, health, activity level, and diet are all things to take into consideration. Other factors like cost, flavor, and smell are other things that may influence your decision.
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What Makes a Good Training Treat?
A good training treat for puppies will have a good source of protein, a savory flavor your puppy will love, and high-quality ingredients. Avoid buying treats with filler ingredients such as corn and soy. A good training treat will also be small and low in calories for longer training sessions, so look for treats that are little and less than five calories each.
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Types of Training Treats
There are many types of training treats, with soft-bite, biscuit, and freeze-dried being the most popular types of treats. Each type has its own benefits, but its important to find one that fits your dogs diet. Consider each type and brand, and always look out for any negative reactions.
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Best For Large Dogs: Old Mother Hubbard Dog Treats
Old Mother Hubbard
Why it made the cut: Various-sized appetizing oven-baked dog treats perfect for larger breeds.
- Suitable for all breed sizes and life stages
- A healthy supplemental snack for diet
- Intended for intermittent training
With nearly 100 years of experience, Old Mother Hubbard is a staple in the dog treat world. All dogs have different flavor or texture preferences and for those larger dogs that love a crunchy, oven-baked treat, this is a clear choice. The variety of all-natural ingredients and flavorssuch as p-nuttier, savory mix, or bacncheezwill leave your dog wanting more.
While Old Mother Hubbard treats may not be ideal for extended or repetitive training due to their caloric content, they are perfect for reinforcing positive behavior and overall basic commands. For example, keep a bag by the door to greet strangers or reward basic commands such as shaking, sitting, down, or staying.
- Great for repetitive training or dog puzzles
- Suitable for positive reinforcement training
- Only 1.5 calories per treats
- Only two flavors to choose from
Even though theyre small, big dogs may still react positively to the small treats, which is good if you have a dog thats on the hefty side, which can be the case with rescues or other adopted pooches.
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