Are freeze-dried bonito flakes a healthy treat to serve my cat?

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Bonito is a bony fish, part of the tuna family. Bonito flakes look a little like wood shavings. In Japan, dried tuna flakes are used extensively in Japanese cuisine, in broths, rice balls or even salads.

In the United States and, for cats, bonito flakes are healthy and cats absolutely love the taste! They are marketed as cat treats and found primarily in specialty pet stores.

Bonito flakes are considered to be healthy for cats because they are:

• High protein
• Low carbohydrate
• Brands often contain taurine, an essential amino acid.
• Low sodium
• Abundant in fish oils, which are good for feline urinary tract infections, reduced hairballs and healthy skin and coats

NOTE: Because the snack is high protein and low in carbohydrate, it is often good for those felines with diabetes, or for those felines on a weight-loss program. Although there is no precise limit to how many you can give, the concern with giving a cat too much of anything is that it can potentially cause inflammation of the bowels leading to GI signs, such as nausea or diarrhea. Although this “maximum amount” is quite subjective, it is recommended not to exceed three to four treats per cat in a day to help avoid GI distress. These can always be broken into smaller pieces so you can give more bits throughout the day.

It is important when buying bonito flakes for your pet that you look for one with no preservatives or additives. There should be absolutely nothing in the fish to compromise its purity.

Bonito flakes can be found in Asian markets but, for your pet, is best to obtain them right from the pet store, since ones in the markets could contain additional substances.

Your cat can eat them as is, straight from the container, or crumbled on top of food.

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