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How can we treat our pets without treats?


How can we treat our pets without treats?


We all love to treat our pets; we enjoy giving them tasty titbits almost as much as they love to eat them, but sometimes we must stop giving food treats; they may be on a special diet, or they may have to watch their waistlines, so how can we still 'treat our pets' without treats?

While it can seem that the way to our pet's happiness is through their stomach, in truth, our pets love spending time with us and doing fun activities with their best friends, namely us, their owners.

So here are a few tips to help you treat your pet without using food.


•         Go on some new adventures; dogs love to sniff and explore, and taking a different path or a change in direction from your usual route is an exciting new adventure with plenty of new smells to investigate.

•         Play dates: how about arranging to meet some canine friends?

•         Games, what is your pet's favourite game, is it tug of war, fetch,  or learning a new trick?

•         How about hide and seek, but instead of hiding food, how about hiding a favourite toy? Give their noses a workout; you can play this indoors or outdoors, let them sniff out their prized possession, and enjoy how happy they are when they find it. Make it more challenging for them, get them thinking, and hide the toy under a box or banket, up high or down low; the more inventive you get, the more challenging and fun it can be.

•         If your pet has to rest and cannot run around, how about quality time together?

•         Do not underestimate the positive benefits and power of touch. A nice relaxing brush and groom, they will enjoy quality one-on-one time with you with lots of love and fuss, tummy tickles and scratches, or even an excellent therapeutic massage.


For our feline friends, it can sometimes seem a little trickier; they prefer to do their own thing, but they too love having your undivided attention, having their human at their beck and call, and getting head rubs on demand; we all know cats rule the home! 

Cats love to stalk, chase, and pounce; they are curious and love to explore new things. 

  • Cut some holes in a big cardboard box, and your cat will usually be the king or queen of their new domain. Make a fun assault course allowing them to climb, jump, and investigate new spaces, make a tunnel behind the sofa, cover a dining room chair with a blanket, and lead the way with a fishing toy to chase.

•         Hide a portion of their daily food ration in various places, up high on their cat tree or under beakers they can knock over; let them go fishing inside cardboard tubes or bat around treat balls, enabling them to 'hunt' for their tea. 


If none of this inspires your pet and they only enjoy food treats, try using some low-calorie alternatives such as safe fruit and vegetables or use a portion of their normal daily ration. This way, they can still have treats but are not adding many extra calories, and it is perfect for pets on a special diet.

Author: Emma Webb / Posted: January 5th 2024
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