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20 Surprising Treats to Tempt Your Patients

Steve Dale, CABC

Just as we have our own individual taste preferences, so do dogs and cats. And food can be the way to their hearts. Many Fear Free Certified veterinary practices and Fear Free veterinarians even offer “menus” and keep track in pets’ records of personal preferences.

Of course, many cats will do anything for tuna. And dogs love those hot dogs. Those statements won’t stop the pet press.

However, veterinarians and veterinary technicians can also think outside the treat box. Sometimes, just because it’s novel, a treat may be more enticing. Also, at home these items might be used for training or for animals needing a bit of an appetite boost (always only with veterinary approval).

Who knew, for example, that many cats have a thing for olives (no pits please) or marshmallows. Or that dogs, and not necessarily Australian Cattle Dogs, love Vegemite, an Australian food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetables and spices. Most Americans disdain Vegemite, but many dogs love the stuff.

With Fear Free founder Dr. Marty Becker contributing, here’s a list of 20 surprising treats:

  • Anchovy paste
  • Apple
  • Baby food (without onion)
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Bonito fish flakes (known as katsuobushi in Japanese cuisine)
  • Braunschweiger
  • Cheerios
  • Cheez Whiz/Easy Cheese
  • Churros (fried-dough pastry)—hold the chocolate sauce
  • Green beans
  • Liverwurst
  • Marshmallow cream
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Olives (no pits)
  • Peas
  • Peanut Butter (avoid sugar-free peanut butters containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol, which is toxic to pets)
  • Rice cakes (plain)
  • Sardines (in pesto, in olive oil or in water)
  • Vegemite

Remember to keep portion sizes small, appropriate for the size of the pet. You don’t want to send him home with a tummy ache!

This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT.

Steve Dale, CABC (certified animal behavior consultant), hosts two national pet radio shows and is on WGN Radio, Chicago. He’s a regular contributor/columnist for many publications, including CATSTER, Veterinary Practice News, and the Journal of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. He’s appeared on dozens of TV shows, including Oprah, many Animal Planet Programs, and National Geographic Explorer. He has contributed to or authored many pet books and veterinary textbooks such as “The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management” and co-edited Decoding Your Dog, by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. He speaks at conferences around the world. www.stevedale.tv.

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