As dogs grow older, it is especially important that the treats you offer them are healthy and nutritious, preferably with low-fat and low-sodium content. If the treats are formulated with vitamins that help with the onset of arthritis, or if they are easy to chew for dogs with missing teeth, that’s an added benefit.
There are food items in your own kitchen that can make healthy snacks for seniors. Scramble an egg with a few drops of milk for an occasional special treat that’s full of protein. Plain yogurt, pureed pumpkin or sweet potatoes, or cooked and unsweetened oatmeal are also good if your dog has sensitive or missing teeth. Small amounts of creamy, unsalted peanut butter will delight most dogs, but keep in mind that peanut butter is high in calories and fat.
Odin and his dog friends inspire home-made treats
Jennifer Powell of Georgetown, Ind., started making treats for her own dogs about a year ago. “Odin, our three-year-old Great Pyrenees, absolutely loved them,” she says, “and I decided that I was not going to feed my dogs the unhealthy and sometimes even dangerous stuff that often comes from overseas.
Jennifer started with some basic peanut butter and oatmeal treats. But as she talked to other dog owners, it became obvious that there was a need for treats that are softer and more tender for older dogs with fewer teeth.
“My treats are made with all natural ingredients,” she says. “There are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Older dogs have delicate systems, and the colors and preservatives can be dangerous to them. I use sunflower oils because some dogs have corn allergies.
“My husband, Tom, and I foster dogs for rescues. We are currently fostering Lola, a little Sheltie who has rotten teeth that will soon be extracted. She can eat the softer ‘Nanner Toes,’ and I know that I am giving her a good, wholesome treat.”
Approved by five taste-testers
“When I develop a new treat, I experiment until I think it’s perfected. Of course, I have five taste-testers that help me. The treats are named after our dogs.” All of Odin’s Delights are home-made and shipped the next day. Visit Odin’s website because, in addition to treats for older dogs, there are some great selections for dogs of all ages.
If you purchase treats, read the labels.
BLUE Super Bars™ are made by Blue Buffalo, and the company’s website states that they are made with the finest natural ingredients and have no chicken or poultry by-product meals and are corn, wheat and soy free. They describe them as “moist and meaty, antioxidant-rich dog treats.” The ingredients include blueberries, pomegranate, vitamins A, C and E, and Beta Carotene.
Patrick Meiering of Durango, Col., describes himself as the Founder and Head Bone Maker of Zuke’s treats. Trek and Ellie, his older and active dogs, enjoy Hip Action, a moist dog treat that includes glucosamine, chondroitin, wholefood antioxidants and eggshell membrane. Patrick says that Hip Action helps to keep their joints in shape so they can hike the Colorado Trail together.
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