One of the most common resolutions made every New Year is to drop a few of those pesky pounds, but did you ever think that your dog might need to make this resolution, too? According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54% of dogs and 58% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. For many pets, a combination of increased activity and decreased calories in their daily diet can help shed those excess pounds.
To help ensure a happier, healthier pet in the New Year, the ASPCA Poison Control Center (APCC) has provided some ideas for healthier snacks that won’t derail your pet’s 2017 weight loss goals:
An Apple a Day…
Some commercially produced pet treats are deceptively high in calories, and a couple of treats can actually decrease or stop weight loss. Try substituting safe fruits and vegetables into your pet’s diet.
Green beans are very low in calories and have a satisfying crunch. They can be a great green snack for your dog or cat. In addition, most dogs love baby carrots, and at about four calories each they make a great weight loss snack. Also, carrots are gentle on the tummy and don’t usually make dogs gassy—a common complaint with other veggies. If you’re a cat person, you can also try peas, frozen corn, broccoli florets, and of course, cat nip! Cat nip and cat grass can actually be beneficial for your cat’s health and are kind of like wheat or oats.
Raspberries and apples (without the core and seeds) are low in calories, and are a good source of fiber, which will help your dog feel full and satisfied.
It’s important to note that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for animals. Be sure to avoid garlic, onions, raisins and grapes, as they can be toxic to your pet. Check out our full list of foods to avoid feeding your pet as you plan their 2017 slim-down diet.
Protein, Protein, Protein…
When it comes to a pet who may have “more to love,” snacks that are high in protein and low in fat are your best bet. For cats, cooked fish and meats such as liver can be great, healthy treats your furry friend will go nuts for.
Nibble on Kibble
It seems obvious, but oftentimes dogs don’t really care what they are getting—they just want some attention and treats to munch on. Many people find that reserving a portion of your pet’s food for the day and giving it out slowly as a treat does the trick to satisfy those in-between the meal cravings.
Air-popped popcorn is only about 35 calories per cup, and it sure is tasty. Popcorn pieces make it easy to toss your pup a snack throughout the day without loading them up on calories. Just be sure not to use any butter or salt on your dog’s popcorn.
Don’t forget to try and keep your pet active with toys and games. Try hiding a healthy treat in a puzzle game, or make a game of finding a snack!
Always be sure to consult with your veterinarian before starting a weight loss plan for your pet, or before adding new snacks to their diet to ensure that they will be appropriate for your pet. If you believe that your pet has ingested a potentially poisonous item, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.