How many treats should I give my dog?

You’ve worked out your dog’s daily food allowance – but what about treats? How many treats should you give your dog? 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, 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 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 kcalCalories per servingBig dog % daily intake Small dog % daily intake
Healthier treats 
Blueberries (50g)28.5 kcal2%7%
¼ a Banana27 kcal2%6%
Carrot baton (50g)15 kcal1%3%
Green beans (3)4 kcal0.3%1%

Medium calorie treats

Energy in kcalCalories per servingBig dog % daily intakeSmall dog % daily intake
Medium – calorie treats 
Digestive biscuit71 kcal5%16%
Dental Chew44 kcal3%10%
Slice of cooked meat30 kcal2%7%

High calorie treats

Energy in kcalCalories per servingBig dog % daily intakeSmall dog % daily intake
High – calorie treats 
Hot dog250 kcal17%57%
Buttered toast 167 kcal12%38%
4 cocktail sausages100 kcal7%23%
Chunk of cheese80 kcal6%19%

We’re big fans of treating here at, 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 new Superfood bites!

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.

Get to know everything about dog weight management and why it is important.

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

8 thoughts on “How many treats should I give my dog?”

  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 and we would be happy to help.

  2. My boxer Blue has been on for a year now. He was a rescue and he had canine acne and his coat was dull, he was also so hyper it was unreal! Now his skin and coat are in amazing condition and he’s calmed down a lot ( well as much as a boxer can!) Thank you tails, he enjoys every meal and I’m really happy with the service ?

  3. I don’t know why they can’t tell us the calorie content of their treats and biscuits. How hard can it be? How am I supposed to know? I look on packet and it refers me to website where I spend 30mins and can’t find anything.

    • Hi Paul,

      I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble finding the calorie content of your dog’s treats – if you head to the shop tab when you log in, you can find the nutritional breakdown of all our treats.



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