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D2010-48

Dear Daisy Dog

My veterinarian says Pepper, my 7-year-old cattle dog mix, is overweight, so I should discontinue her daily treats. Pepper has come to expect snacks, and she enjoys them so much I want to keep giving them to her. What do you advise?

Daisy Responds

The typical dog parent treats three times daily. My mom is no exception, so I understand how much Pepper enjoys her treats.

The key to responsible treating is to offer snacks that are both nutritious and functional.

It’s easy to determine whether a treat is nutritious. Just look at the package for the wording “nutritionally complete.” If you don’t see it, the snack is “junk food.”

Next, let’s talk about the health functions of treats, such as aiding weight loss, minimizing tartar and gingivitis, or supporting arthritic joints.

Like Pepper, nearly half of America’s dogs are overweight. Such dogs should snack on low-calorie treats like carrot sticks, green beans and celery.

Dogs with bad breath and other signs of dental disease benefit from treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. Click here for a list.

If Pepper is starting to show signs of arthritis, consider a yummy joint supplement, such as Glyco-Flex or Cosequin.

The best treat of all, though, is your affection. So give Pepper kisses instead of food.

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