7 Simple Affordable Pet Treats

by Eva Marienchild
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Why buy expensive pet snacks that may not even be healthy for your pet? Opt for these simple affordable pet treats instead.

There isn’t a dog owner alive who hasn’t succumbed to their canine companion’s cajoling for something bite-sized. Cats, too, pine for nibbles. Savory scents that pander to their native instincts are favorites, but certain fruits and veggies also entice.

The simplest treats are the best.

Let’s discuss how you can proffer your pet tasty tidbits.

1. Don’t buy treats that have umpteen ingredients.

Aim for single-ingredient treats. Dogs and cats aren’t so very different from us when it comes to benefiting from nutrition. Same goes for your pet companion.

Single-item pet foods have no sneaky by-products and can be quite yummy. Incidentally, no matter what pet you have, the theory applies. Hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, same deal! Little animals are what they eat, across the board. The bonus benefit? You save money by avoiding markups.

Two ideas for single-item treats:

  • Lentils – a source of iron. Start small. Serve it up with a little extra-virgin olive oil/virgin coconut oil; and
  • Cabbage – with so many nutrients you’ll run out of breath naming them all. Too, cabbage fights cancer. Buy organic (plain) sauerkraut in a glass jar (that means there is less “bad stuff” that leaches into the food from plastic). Rinse well.

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2. Do feed fruits and veggies to your dog.

We’ll talk about your cat (and hamsters, gerbils and rabbits) later.

One caveat: even if you buy organic, make sure to wash it in a bowl of apple cider vinegar or veggie wash, which you can pick up at your local supermarket. This will help remove residue, insects and all the fingerprints of handling which occur from field to shelf.

Cut the fruits and vegetables into manageable pieces.

Fruits for pets include apples and berries, and veggies can be green beans, broccoli and kale. Sauté – but don’t cook – to make them more digestible. Stay away from grapes and raisins. No chocolate either!

“Just as we encourage kids to eat their fruits and veggies rather than another piece of candy, we can also encourage a love for healthy snacks in our pets.” source: PetMD.com.

3. How about some canned pumpkin?

Cats, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits and dogs like canned pumpkin. Go for the organic version if you can. It’s only a bit more costly and the texture, taste and nutrition will be heads and shoulders above the regular labels. At a couple of dollars, you still save over pricier treats.

Your animals will stay quite regular with a few spoons of canned pumpkin.

It’s usually in the baking aisle.

Here’s a list of canned pumpkin’s vitamins and minerals: Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron and Manganese.

One interesting aside about cats: they are unable to discern what we know as “sweet foods”. “For years it was known – but not truly understood – that domestic cats, along with other members of the feline species, do not like sweets.” source: Petful.com. As felines are carnivores, meat or fish are their favorite snacks.

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4. Pets can munch safely on strawberries.

Whenever you see a fruit that is that crimson shade of red, you’re looking at the flavonoids — the fabulous phytonutrients — which keep free radicals from scavenging cells.

That’s why strawberries are known as an anti-cancer fruit! So give these delightful fruits to your fur children and know that you are helping to keep disease at bay!

Yes, rabbits, hamsters and gerbils and even your feathered friends can have a go at these delicacies…but, with rabbits, don’t overdo.

5. Try eggs on occassion.

Did you know that you can feed your dog eggs a few days a week? Eggs are one of the most complete protein foods that you can choose.

You can feed cooked eggs to cats and even birds! “It sounds a little odd to feed eggs to parrots…it really isn’t at all unusual for birds in the wild to eat other species’ eggs.” source: TheSprucePets.com.

6. Ready to make your own pet treats?

This is a reliable way to stay on top of what your pet is ingesting, because you’ll be making the treats that they love to eat with ingredients that you approve of.

Crispy Sardines and Peanut Butter: Combine sardines and peanut butter. Place on non-stick pan and bake until done. After baking, leave “goop” in the oven with the oven door slightly ajar for crispiness. Sufficiently smelly and super-crispy.

Another idea? Peanut butter and bacon. Whip the snacks up just as you would create whole wheat cookies, with a bacon-y twist. A little flax added to the mix ensures a healthy dose of plant-based Omega 3’s — alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

7. Finally, don’t forget the can’t-fail-tuna-flakes treat.

Just make sure that the flakes are completely dry. Grab a few chunks, stick them in a plastic baggie, and throw in some unsalted, non-buttered popcorn. Your pet will follow you and the scent of your homemade treats anywhere!

Reviewed August 2023

About the Author

Eva Marienchild is a health, home and life skills wordsmith, artist and voice actor who seeks to segue her skills into forums which are of help to the most people.

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