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Doggy Diets: Three Keys to Health and “Hoppiness”

Chart of toxic foods for dogs | Whitworth Animal ClinicWhile there have been scares related to the ingredients and quality of commercial dog food, most experts agree that it is nutritionally balanced and promotes good canine health. Many dog owners subscribe to the “No People Food” rule and serve only commercially prepared food to their pet. There are those who feed only homemade mixes of vegetables, red meat, grain, fish, and poultry. Either way, the pet’s health needs can be met.

However, most people lead busy lives, so it’s hard to budget time to cook for the family—let alone the family pet. For those folks, it’s fine to meet somewhere in the middle with a blend of “people food” and commercial food. The key is to remember what’s okay and even beneficial and what’s detrimental.

#1 What you should NOT put in your dog’s tummy:

  • Chocolate especially dark *Keep chocolate out of reach from your dog.
  • Alcohol *Poisonous for dogs and cats
  • Raw Eggs
  • Cinnamon
  • Artificial sweeteners, sugar
  • Garlic, onions, leeks, chives
  • Ice Cream
  • Almonds, Macadamia nuts
  • Fat & skin *can cause painful pancreatitis
  • Any of these can cause diarrhea & vomiting and worse. Call Dr. Whitworth or the Pet Poison Helpline if your pet is in distress or if you would like to know more about toxins that may harm your pet.

#2 These food are safe and beneficial

  • Popcorn-unbuttered, unsalted
  • Corn, no cob
  • Cooked fish-especially salmon & sardines maximum 2X per week
  • Yogurt-plain
  • Honey
  • Peanuts, cashews, coconut
  • Rice

These foods can be served in small quantities:

  • Cheese
  • Bread-plain
  • Tuna

#3 Veggies cooked plainly and served in the right portions can be good treats:

  • Sweet and white potatoes
  • Asparagus, broccoli, Brussel sprouts
  • Carrots, cauliflower, cucumber
  • Edamame, green beans, peas
  • Remember, dogs are not vegetarians; low protein diets can cause severe health problems for canines.

Talk to your Vet before feeding raw meat:

  • Before you feed your dog raw meat, check with your veterinarian to discuss the pros and cons.

The internet contains some good information about feeding your dog a proper diet. There are also some well-researched books out there. Feed Your Best Friend Better and Pitcairns Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs are Cats are two respected resources. Providing a healthy diet is the key to maintaining your pet’s health and vitality. Dr. Whitworth and his staff can answer all your questions about your pet’s dietary needs.

© 2017 Whitworth Animal Clinic. All rights reserved.

The Dangers of Rawhide Chew Toys

photo of a Golden Retriever with a rawhide bone in his mouthTreats and chew toys are popular items at big box retailers and pet stores. Since most pet owners consider their furry friends members of the family, treats are part of the weekly grocery list. If Fido or Fluffy is a puppy, the list of “chewies” can be endless. After all, it’s important to give the little darlings an alternative to family footwear.

Rawhide bones are cheap and available in all sizes. Dogs like them; and, in most cases, they last a while. However, rawhide chew toys can be a choking hazard or create intestinal blockages in dogs. There are also some other risks folks should take into consideration before purchasing rawhide products for their canine friends.

In order to produce rawhide bones, the inner layer of cow or horse hide is cleaned using strong chemicals then washed repeatedly with hydrogen peroxide before being pressed into its shape. Rawhide is not classified as food, so there aren’t any regulations governing its manufacture.

Chemicals aside, rawhide can be contaminated with salmonella since it is made from animal skins. Both the pet and owner could be at risk. There have been recalls of contaminated rawhide in the past.

The internet contains many tragic tales of dogs choking on rawhide. As the dog chews, the product becomes stretched and soft. It eventually breaks off in pieces which the dog swallows. Sometimes those chunks cause the dog to choke and gasp for air. There are even cases of the esophagus being torn. If you choose to give your dog rawhide, be sure to supervise his chewing and take the product away when it gets to the point of tearing. This will help you avoid an emergency trip to the vet or other dire consequences for your pet.

If Fido manages to swallow a chunk of rawhide, it may lodge there and swell causing gastric problems or vomiting. If the dog doesn’t pass the rawhide, it could become a blockage which would require surgery.

There are alternatives to rawhide chew products. Bully sticks are digestible but can have an odor and may have bacteria issues. Antlers from elk or deer won’t break apart and they don’t smell. They’re great for doggie dental hygiene.

Kongs are an example of toys made of indestructible rubber. The dog chews and chews hoping to be rewarded with a tantalizing treat enclosed in the toy.   Yak/Himalayan chews are really special—no bacteria or other hazards. The all-natural treats made of yak milk using Nepali methods.

Before you put rawhide on your grocery list, speak with Dr. Whitworth or a member of his staff and do some research. Your pet will thank you for your efforts.

The information in this article is not meant to take the place of medical advice. Dr. Whitworth and his staff want your pet to remain healthy and happy. If you have any questions pertaining to your pet’s wellbeing, please contact our office to make an appointment today.

© 2017 Whitworth Animal Clinic. All rights reserved.

Do yourself a favor and buy your dog a harness

photo of a Jack Russell terrier wearing dog harness next at water background | Whitworth Animal ClinicWalking the dog can make you feel like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz—whirling and twirling in all directions with arms going every which way. Stop being the Scarecrow and get your hound a harness to make walking more pleasant and safe.

The old-fashioned collar and leash can lead to some unsafe conditions for walking. If your dog is big and strong or smaller and strong, a harness can give you better ability to guide and control him. Harnesses take the pressure off the dog’s neck and spread it out to the stronger areas of the torso. Trachea injuries can occur with a traditional leash and collar. A harness will help avoid injury to your pet and prevent him from escaping.

When purchasing a harness, make sure to take the dog with you to the pet store. If purchasing online, be sure to measure carefully. There are many types of harnesses and the fit and fabric are important. Look for a padded, adjustable model that will be easy to put on and take off. Make sure the construction and fabric are durable. Ideally the harness you select should be compatible with car seat belts to prevent danger or injury to your pet while in the vehicle. Everyone should be strapped in for safety.

A small squirrel, bird, or cat can make a dog go wild. Harnessing your dog can prevent twisting and tangling you and your pet in the leash. With a leash attached to a harness, it’s a lot easier to control excitement and avoid harm to you and your dog. Since the harness is more comfortable than the collar, the dog is more relaxed and will be easier to train.

After the walk, it’s best to remove the harness so it does not irritate the dog’s skin or rub the fur. When it’s time to walk again, your dog will be happy to see the harness and go outside for a new adventure.

Feel free to ask the staff at Whitworth Animal Clinic any questions you may have about purchasing and using a harness with your dog.

© 2017 Whitworth Animal Clinic. All rights reserved.

Watery Eyes in Dogs Could be a Sign of Dry Eyes

photo of veterinarian looking at the eyes of little dog | Whitworth Animal ClinicWatery eyes or epiphora is a condition that causes an overflow of tears. Sometimes the cause may be due to the shape of the eyes that is seen in several breeds. As well, the overproduction of tears can be caused by other factors such entropion (eyelids turning in) or distichiasis (eyelashes turning in). Breeds that are often affected by entropion are mastiffs, pugs, chow chows, poodles, Chinese shar peis and Labrador retrievers. Breeds that typically get distichiasis include cocker spaniels, dachshunds, Pekingese, miniature poodles, bulldogs, Lhasa apsos, shih tzus and young shelties. As well, with epiphora the surface of the eye may seem dry while tears flow off from the tract over the animals face and nose.

Various Conditions

There are various conditions that can cause watery eyes in a dog such as anatomical deformities, chronic viral infections and entropion. According to Healthy Pets (by Mercola), epiphora may be caused by

  • Conjunctivitis
  • A disease of the cornea
  • An obstruction of the tear duct
  • Dry eye, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)

Moreover, the cause can be minor like an infection or chronic such as glaucoma, a structural irregularity or an allergic reaction to an irritant, even a poor diet. And if you suspect that your animal’s condition is chronic or painful, do not hesitate to contact a veterinarian to make an immediate appointment. This is particularly important if your pet is have a hard time seeing.

Dry Eye

Dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is the failure of the eyes to produce enough eye cleansing tears. Normally, tears are made up of mostly water with some oils and mucus. Tears play a crucial role for eye health. For instance, tears are the only source of lubrication, acts as an anti-bacterial and helps remove infectious material and irritants. However, dry eye is when tears are lacking water. In result, your pet will have a thick yellow discharge from their eyes. As well, the eyes are red. In the advanced stages of KCS the cornea turns brown. And if the condition is not taken care of, there can be blindness.

Breeds that often get dry eye include Miniature Schnauzers, West Highland White Terriers and Cocker Spaniels.

Symptoms and Treatment

Aside from the lack of water in your pet’s tears and a discharge, other symptoms of dry eye include mucus and inflammation resulting from lower immune system, distemper, trauma to the head, an injury near the tear gland, removal of the lacrimal gland (third eyelid) or certain antibiotics.

Rendering to WebMD, common causes of dry eye are allergies, dust or excess wind in the eyes, a foreign object or a serious infection. Moreover, consulting in a veterinarian is imperative because some conditions can render your pet blind or without an eye if left untreated.

Whitworth Animal Clinic

If you are unclear or have any concerns about your dog’s condition, contact a veterinarian immediately, especially when your pet has an infection.

At Whitworth Animal Clinic, Charles D. Whitworth, DVM provides optimum care for your canine. In fact, Charles D. Whitworth, DVM has devoted more than thirty years as a Madison veterinarian. As well, Charles D. Whitworth, DVM has had a passion for animals and the veterinarian life since he was a young kid in the third grade.

If you suspect that your pet has dry eye, contact as soon as possible. Whitworth Animal Clinic is conveniently located in Madison and serves the surrounding area including north Alabama and communities of Madison such as Huntsville and Decatur.

© 2017 Whitworth Animal Clinic. All rights reserved.

Should Your Dog Wear a Coat in the Winter?

photo of a cute dog wearing a coat | Whitworth Animal ClinicWhen it’s very cold outside, people bundle up in sweaters and coats to stay warm. But is it necessary to put a coat or sweater on your dog in winter weather?

Is your dog shivering outdoors?

If the answer to this question is yes, then you should consider putting some protective clothing on your best friend when the weather turns chilly. Some pooches have excellent layers of fur while others may not be as comfortable in certain environments. It can be due to their genetic background or the type of hair or fur a dog is born with. Their levels of warmth can also have something to do with how short or long you keep their fur. If you live in the Madison or North Alabama area, the groomers at Whitworth Animal Clinic understand the importance of appropriate hair length for different breeds of dog.

Imagine if you found your child’s body trembling and teeth chattering outdoors. You would likely make sure he or she goes inside or puts on a jacket to keep warm. The same is true of your pet who is visibly shivering.

Does Your Dog Avoid Going Out in the Snow to Relieve Herself?

If so, there could be a very good reason for this, such as not wanting to endure the cold, wet weather for any amount of time. When it’s very cold outside, we humans tend to put on a sweater and stay indoors more often. We might keep the thermostat low to save energy. But your dog may not feel as comfortable as you do, even while inside. A light dog sweater can make all the difference to your best friend.

Dogs That Need Protection From the Cold

Certain breeds of dog can handle cold weather more naturally than some. Northern breeds like Siberian Huskies, Chow Chows, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes and other dogs hailing from snowy climates tend to have a dense coat to naturally insulate them from the elements. These animals are usually just fine in the coldest weather without any added protection.

Dogs that have short hair, are small, and don’t weigh much are more susceptible to becoming too cold when outside, especially for extended periods of time. These dog breeds can range from terriers to shepherds to beagles. Even poodles, who usually have very dense coats, can suffer in the cold if their hair is shaved or cut too short.

Smaller, lightweight breeds, such as a Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier and Bichon Frise, do not tend to handle the cold very well. They may not have enough body fat to insulate them in addition to having shorter hair or no fur at all.

Ask Your Vet

If you’re unsure about putting a coat on your pet, ask your veterinarian or Charles D. Whitworth, DVM in north Alabama for advice. Should you decide to purchase a coat or sweater, consider one that is made of wool or an acrylic/wool blend for best insulation. Measure your dog correctly for a good fit that makes it easy to take the coat on and off without it being too tight or loose. Your shivering pet will thank you for the extra warmth in his or her own way.

If you reside in Madison, Huntsville, Decatur, or north Alabama’s surrounding communities, Charles D. Whitworth, DVM would be happy to speak with you if you have any questions concerning your pet. Contact the friendly, helpful staff at Whitworth Animal Clinic to inquire about our services that range from health to boarding, grooming, and training.

© 2017 Whitworth Animal Clinic. All rights reserved.

Walking Tips For Walking Your Dog

photo of a small cute dog on a walk | Whitworth Animal ClinicDogs are the healthiest and happiest when they get the right amount of exercise. Walking with your dog also helps maintain a good bond and reinforces you as the leader. As a matter of fact, the renowned Cesar’s Way states that by walking in front of your dog you show that you are seen as the pack leader.

And when it comes to walking your dog, there are certain tips that can help train your dog right and also make the walk a lot more enjoyable.

Take the Lead

It is important to take the lead and stay in the front of your dog. That way you are perceived as the leader. On the other hand, if you allow your dog to control the walk then you make him the boss. Also, you need to be the first out the door and the first one in, and during your walk either be beside your dog or in the front.

Have the Right Gear

Like people, dogs have their own unique preferences and comfort levels. Some dogs do best with a head halter while other dogs function best with a flat collar. To reduce pulling and support safety, choose a front clip harness for your dog. In fact, most dogs easily adapt to a front clip harness, which makes the walk a lot more pleasant.

Carry Treats

You should always have treats available to encourage good behavior. In fact, treats are especially valuable when the command “leave it” is needed. For example, you can reward you dog when they leave certain things alone like a cat, squirrel or a strong scent of another dog.

Leave the Phone at Home

This is your dog’s time, so leave the phone at home. It is a time to enjoy walking with your dog and to create memories. If you stop and look, you will notice that your dog couldn’t be happier. And after the walking, both you and your dog will have a much better perspective on life.

Keep a Routine

Like children, dogs need a consistent routine. If you take a 30-minute walk every morning, then try to stick to the ritual. As well, makes sure they get their daily evening stroll, it gives them comfort and a sense of security.

Hierarchy vs. Bonding

Although the two may seem conflicting, hierarchy and bonding can be attained with a daily walk. In fact, the walking routine creates a great bond between you and your pet. It also establishes the leader, and that is you.

Exercise and Contentment

Walking provides a plethora of benefits both for the body and the mind. It offers you and your dog, great exercise and also mental stimulation that are very satisfying. After the walk, your dog will be tired from the walk and mentally satisfied from all the stimuli of animal scents, tracking certain smells and observing all movement. And at the end of the day, your dog will be well balanced from the day’s activities and much calmer.

Whitworth Animal Clinic

Daily walks for your dog are highly important to keep him fit and healthy. And for optimum health, your dog needs a regular check-up with a professional veterinarian. At Whitworth Animal Clinic, you can be rest assured that your pet will receive the very best care. In addition, Dr. Charles Whitworth can recommend the perfect amount of time your dog needs to walk on a daily basis. Moreover, a check-up will determine your dog’s health status including optimum weight, condition of his heart, needed vaccinations and other health conditions or concerns.

For any questions about walking your dog or about regular check-ups, contact Whitworth Animal Clinic. As well, make an appointment as soon as possible if there any concerns. Whitworth Animal Clinic is located in in Madison, Alabama and serves the communities of Madison, Huntsville, Decatur and the surrounding areas in north Alabama.

What to Look for When Choosing the Right Dog for You

group of 4 puppies | Whitworth Animal ClinicWhen choosing the right dog for you, there are many factors to consider before making a permanent decision. In fact, selecting the right breed is just as an important as deciding to have a dog in your life. It is actually a major decision that needs plenty of thought and consideration. You need to weigh all the odds and examine your lifestyle so that you choose the perfect dog. You will also need to make adjustments in your life. The number and type of modifications will depend on the breed that you select.

The Size

Dogs come in numerous sizes, from very small to massive. Most likely, you know what size of dog you prefer. Some people adore the lap dog that can be carried around. Others love a breed that is gigantic in size and structure. Each sized dog comes with its own set of characteristics.

Small Dogs – A small dog tends to be defensive and will bark more often. In truth, the “small complex” can develop into a “tough dog” attitude. Some small dogs are also easily hurt and vulnerable. In fact, being handled to aggressively or stepped on can cause severe injury.

Extra Large Dogs – Quite frankly, a very big dog needs a lot of space. And if your dog wags its tail a lot, then he will need even more space to avoid injury. Not to mention damage to your belongings. A bigger dog also cost more money such as food, big sized dog supplies and other large items. Also, extra-large dogs need to be trained when they are young. For instance, if you cute puppy is allowed to jump on top of you or strangers, in adulthood they will simply walk all over you.

Level of Activity

Every dog is different and some have more energy than others. Select the breed of dog you want by activity level. Questions to ponder include:

  • Is the breed the sprinter type?
  • Is the breed a jogger?
  • Is the breed a couch potato?

In addition, consider how much exercise the dog will need and compare it to the amount of time you can spend with your pet. In fairness, it is important to answer the question honestly and as accurate as possible. For instance, if you do not plan on taking daily walks with you dog, then it is probably best to avoid a high energy like an Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Jack Russell Terrier, or certain poodles. Some of the low energy type dogs include a Basset Hound, Bulldog, or Bull Mastiff.

Rendering to the humane society, your lifestyle and the dog’s energy level should be compatible. For instance, it would not be fair to have a high energy dog in a tiny four-story apartment. But if you take a long distance run every morning then if may suffice.

Maintenance and Care

No matter what type of breed you decide on, your dog will need maintenance and care. In fact, all dogs need to be groomed and bathed on a regular basis. However, certain types need more care based on their type of hair coat. A breed that has continual hair growth will require more routine grooming. Also, short haired dogs with a smooth coat are major shedders. However, you can lower the amount of your dog’s shedding by the use of certain grooming tools.

In addition, some breeds are prone to ear infections such as dogs with floppy long ears. And another consideration is drooling. Dog breeds that tend to slobber a great deal are Bloodhounds and Mastiffs.

Whitworth Animal Clinic

If you are still unsure of what type of dog is right for you, then you can always contact a veterinarian. Oftentimes a vet may have ideas or suggestions about animal care, temperament, food or exercise needed for a particular breed that you are interested in. As well; they may be able to help you choose the right dog for you.

At Whitworth Animal Clinic, Dr. Charles Whitworth provides the best care possible for your dog. Not only does Dr. Whitworth have a passion for animals but he has served as a Madison veterinarian for over thirty years. In fact, his passion for animals started when he was in the third grade with the strong need to be a veterinarian.

For questions or concerns about types of vaccines, licenses or diet for your first pet; contact Whitworth Animal Clinic. As well, make an appointment as soon as possible for your animal’s first check-up. That way you are assured your dog is in good health and he does not have any health conditions that could be potentially life threatening.

Can Humans Get Ringworm From Their Pets?

photo of sleeping dog and owner | Whitworth Animal ClinicRingworm, also known as dermatophytosis is not a type of parasitic worm in the skin. It is a fungal infection characterized by red, scaly and itchy skin. The rash is also circular in shape oftentimes resembling a worm. In result, the term ringworm easily became a misnomer.

As of date, there are around 40 types of fungi that can cause ringworm. Most of the strains are of the Epidermophyton, Trichophyton or Microsporum type. Ringworm is also very contagious. According to MedicineNet, all age groups get ringworm. However, ringworm is most common in children. As well, ringworm is found mostly in warm and moist climates.

Moreover, ringworm is not just found on the arms or legs. The fungus can be found on the scalp as well as on the feet known as tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) and in the groin (jock itch).

How Ringworm is Spread

Since ringworm is a fungus, it is easily spread from one person to another. Generally a person can get the fungi by coming into contact with infected skin areas or by using an infected comb, brush or other personal care items. In fact, ringworm can even be transmitted through clothing. Other areas that have the potential of spreading the fungi include pool surfaces and locker rooms.

Getting Ringworm from Your Pets

For many years people have shrugged off the notion that animals could transmit diseases and fungi. The truth of the matter is, humans and pets share numerous diseases including ringworm. Plus it is not uncommon to be infected with ringworm on several parts of the body at one time.

Also, humans can get ringworm from several types of animals such as dogs, cats, birds and even rabbits. As well, humans can actually give ringworm to their pets.

Taking Extra Precautions

Precautionary measures are the best way to prevent ringworm from spreading. In addition, there are important precautions that need to be taken once you or your pet is infected. The extra safety measures are to prevent fungus from spreading or passing from someone else, including a pet.

• Immediately seek a specialist if you suspect ringworm
• Keep infected pets away from the whole family and other pets
• Use the creams and medications exactly how they are prescribed
• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water every time you touch your pet


There are several types of fungi that can produce round scaly spots on the skin. Not all circular spots on the skin are caused by ringworm. The best way to identify the fungi is to have a physical examination. A specialist can take culture tests and also evaluate skin scrapings underneath a specialized microscope. In effect, tests offer an accurate diagnosis plus help with the right and proper treatment.

Whitworth Animal Clinic

If you suspect that your pet has ringworm, it is best to contact a specialist immediately. In fact, the longer your pet has the fungi, the harder it is to get rid of. As well, ringworm can spread to other members of the family.

For outstanding veterinary service or pet concerns like ringworm, contact Whitworth Animal Clinic. It is well-known as the best pet clinic in Madison and the surrounding areas of north Alabama. In fact, Dr. Charles Whitworth is a prominent veterinarian who has been licensed since 1981. Additionally, Whitworth Animal Clinic helps you feel assured that your pet is in good hands and will have the best care possible.

Living with Dogs & Children

photo of a blond happy girl with her chihuahuaMost children love having dogs as pets. Inviting a dog into the family home can actually be healthy for your kids. Studies have shown that when a dog lives in a home with young children, the children experience fewer respiratory tract infections, less incidences of ear infections and less instances of asthma diagnoses than children in pet-free homes.

Yes, children and dogs usually make for a great combination. But living with both species can sometimes be a challenge for the adults in charge. It’s important to be sure both canine and humans are protected and safe in that shared environment.

Training Your Dog

Dogs need to be trained. When you bring a pet into the home, that animal becomes a member of the family, and there are rules laid down so everyone can happily co-exist. If you live in Madison or surrounding areas in north Alabama, Whitworth Animal Clinic provides positive dog training sessions in your own home.

Dogs need to learn some basic obedience commands such as sit, down, stay, leave it, and come. This allows both adults and children some firm control over your pet’s behaviors. When a child is eating, for example, you’ll want your dog to obey the command “stay” or whichever word you’ve chosen so Fido isn’t tempted to steal food.

When your dog and young child are playing together, it’s wise to be present until you know your pet is trained to be gentle. Animals can get overexcited or disturbed when small children shriek and shout or pull a tail in play. Train your dog to get used to a variety of noises from when you first bring him home. For example, praise her and give a treat when you speak in a loud voice to her. Play a recording of children’s high-pitched voices as your dog is eating. He will then associate the sounds with something pleasant.

Educate Your Children

Teach your kids to respect their dog’s territorial limits. Remind them that dogs generally consider eyes staring into their own eyes to be a challenge. Have them learn that when the dog is playing with a toy and eating her meal, the child should not disturb things, come too close, or try to take either of these things away.

Children should also understand that dogs can act unpredictably when poked with a toy, pulled by the tail, or frightened. Your pet may put up with unexpected pinches and rough play now, but there’s no predicting when an aggressive reaction may occur. Teach your child to gently stroke your pet and involve children in the training process. You can begin by having them help teach the “sit” command.

Keep Your Dog Healthy

Whitworth Animal Clinic is a full-service center for pets. Veterinarian, Dr. Charles Whitworth, has been in practice since 1981, serving the communities of Madison, Huntsville, Decatur, and surrounding areas in north Alabama.

Whitworth Animal Clinic offers vaccinations, spay and neuter, and other wellness services for your pets. Veterinary cardiology, dentistry, ophthalmology, orthopedics, and many other medical issues can be diagnosed and treated at this facility. Pet boarding and grooming are also available.

Best Treats for Dogs

photo of a chihuahua dog eating healthy with a carrot in mouth Whitworth AnimalClinicHealthier Treat Alternatives

Dog owners enjoy giving their beloved pets treats for many different reasons. Some use treats as training incentives. People may feel compelled to give a treat to canine companions when they feel inclined to indulge. However, while there is nothing wrong with rewarding a pet, the type of snack chosen may not have the greatest health benefits. Dr. Charles D. Whitworth, DVM and his associate animal lovers from Whitworth Animal Clinic suggest that dog parents consider other options.

Healthier Alternatives

Commercially prepared treats come in all brands, flavors, shapes and sizes. Unfortunately many are also laden with fat, sugar, preservatives and empty calories. Various fruits and vegetables make a wonderful alternative. Consider apple or banana slices, a fresh strawberry or a piece of melon. Not unlike when we eat fruits, remove seeds and pits, which can pose a toxic hazard. A couple of baby carrots, green beans, or tomato slices are some of the different vegetables that are safe for dogs. Maybe a spoonful of yogurt now and then. Many dogs also enjoy popcorn without the butter or salt.

All of these options provide fiber, vitamins and minerals that traditional store-bought treats lack. Avoid grapes and raisins, as chemical compounds within these fruits can lead to kidney problems. Dogs should also not eat cooked vegetables containing garlic or onions. The root vegetables cause anemia by destroying red blood cells.

Individual canines develop preferences. Some dogs gleefully enjoy anything offered. On the other hand, finicky pets might only prefer certain fruits or vegetables. Have fun experimenting.

Homemade Treats

There are many recipes available for homemade dog treats. By making homemade snacks, you have complete control of the ingredients and can make alterations as desired. Look for recipes containing healthier ingredients. They might include cooked meats, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains.

Whatever healthy treat you decide to use as a reward for your four-legged friend, the snack should not exceed 10 percent of the animal’s daily calorie intake.

Non-Food Rewards

Given the hectic schedules that we humans maintain on a daily basis, we may not spend as much time with our dogs as they would prefer. With this in mind, rewards and treats need not always be food oriented. Set time aside to spend special moments with your companion. Go for a walk or a run. The exercise does both you and your pet a world of good. Perhaps pamper the pooch with a little extra grooming time. As dogs love having our undivided attention, any time spent one-on-one will be as much appreciated as a food-based delight.

If having any questions or concerns, faithful dog owners living in Decatur, Huntsville, Madison and other surrounding locations in north Alabama should call the Whitworth Animal Clinic and arrange a visit with Dr. Charles D. Whitworth DVM. We are located at:

106 Rainbow Drive
Madison, Alabama, 35758
256) 830-1503