Treats Still Count

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Treats count

You’ve worked out your dog’s daily food allowance. But did you remember to count treats? If you didn’t, it could be time to re-do your sums. Treats can add more to your dog’s daily calorie intake than you realise, which can put your dog on the path to weight gain.

Why do I need to count treats?    

Too many treats can mean too many calories. What’s a calorie? It’s a unit of energy. In practical terms, it’s how much energy each food gives your dog. If they don’t use it all, they’ll store the extra as fat.

Some foods are calorie dense – they contain a lot of calories in each gram of food. These high-calorie foods aren’t necessarily bad, but give your dog too many too often, and they can quickly lead to doggy obesity.

How many calories does my dog need?

It’s easy to look up the recommended daily calorie allowance for humans, but less straightforward for dogs. That’s because every dog is different. Things that can affect how many calories your dog needs include:

  • Age – puppies generally need more energy than older dogs
  • Activity level – the more they exercise, the more fuel they need
  • Weight – adding or cutting calories can help under or overweight dogs reach a healthy weight  
  • Body condition – the amount of muscle and fat your dog has can affect the amount of energy they need each day
  • Neutering – neutering can slow your dog’s metabolic rate by around 5%.

At tails.com, we use all these factors in our calorie calculator. This lets us accurately work out how many calories your dog needs. If you give food that’s not in your dog’s tails.com feeding plan, we’ll take that into account too. Make sure you tell us about any treats your dog gets regularly, so we can keep their diet balanced.

Is giving dog treats healthy?

Treats can be a healthy part of your dog’s diet, especially as part of their training routine. Dental chews can also help keep their teeth clean. But remember the golden rule: moderation, moderation, moderation. The occasional ‘unhealthy’ treat can be OK, as long as it’s not the norm. Here are our top tips for treating healthily:

  • Use kibbles from your dog’s daily allowance as treats – so you’re not doubling up on calories
  • Give healthier options – look for low-calorie dog treats
  • Know your snacks – some human favourites have too many calories for dogs
  • Know your dog’s weight goals – not sure if your dog’s overweight? Here’s how to measure their body condition score.

How many treats can I give my dog a day?

The exact number depends on your dog’s daily calorie allowance and the type of treats you give. Choose the healthiest dog treats, and you can treat several times a day. Giving human food to dogs is more restrictive – these choices are often energy-rich, but don’t deliver all the nutrition your dog needs. That makes it hard to serve up a healthy, balanced dog diet without going over your dog’s recommended calorie allowance.

Counting dog treats

What are the best treats for dogs?

Calorie-controlled treating can keep your dog in top condition and help them live longer, by  keeping the health-damaging effects of obesity at bay. To help you count, here are the calorie contents of some common dog snacks, and how much of a dog’s daily calorie allowance they use up: 

  • Big Dog – Labrador (1439 kcal/day)
  • Small Dog – Terrier (440 kcal/day)

Healthy treats

Energy in kcal Calories per serving Big dog % daily intake  Small dog % daily intake
Healthier treats
Blueberries (50g) 28.5 kcal 2% 7%
¼ a Banana 27 kcal 2% 6%
Carrot baton (50g) 15 kcal 1% 3%
Green beans (3) 4 kcal 0.3% 1%

Medium calorie treats

Energy in kcal Calories per serving Big dog % daily intake Small dog % daily intake
Medium – calorie treats
Digestive biscuit 71 kcal 5% 16%
Dental Chew 44 kcal 3% 10%
Slice of cooked meat 30 kcal 2% 7%

High calorie treats

Energy in kcal Calories per serving Big dog % daily intake Small dog % daily intake
High – calorie treats
Hot dog 250 kcal 17% 57%
Buttered toast  167 kcal 12% 38%
4 cocktail sausages 100 kcal 7% 23%
Chunk of cheese 80 kcal 6% 19%

We’re big fans of treating here at tails.com, and we know dogs love it too. But we wanted to give treats that looked after our dogs’ health. That’s why we developed Good Dog Treats – low-calorie bone biscuits that are rewardingly rich in chicken, for guilt-free treating, every day.

Looking for a more indulgent treat that fits into your dog’s balanced diet? Try our hand-baked salmon biscuits.

How many dog treats should I give at a time?

It depends what kind of treats you’re giving, but in general, dog treats should be just a few bites. That may seem stingy, but remember most dogs’ stomachs are significantly smaller than ours – a small human snack is a full-on meal for your dog. Dogs generally love food, so will eat whatever you treat. That can lead them to gain weight. Don’t feel mean for keeping portion sizes small – you’re doing the best for your dog.

Got a question about doggy treats and treating your dog right? Our veterinary and nutritionist team is here to help  – get in touch at hello@tails.com.

 

2 comments

  1. Hi Sandra. Thanks for getting in touch. We know that there are quite a few dogs that can be quite fussy, but there are always a few tricks that you can try. If you would be at all interested in any nutritional advice for your dog, please do let us know via email to hello@tails.com and we would be happy to help.

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