Treat Truth: The Sneaky Side of Calories in Dog Treats | Pupford
November 13th, 2023
Filed under Health + Wellness
We love our dogs and want what’s best for them, and that includes the treats that we give them!
And when our dogs gain too much weight, they can suffer from a host of health problems like joint issues, heart health problems, and general unpleasantness. It's the #1 avoidable disease for dogs!
In today’s article, we will cover a number of topics including:
- How do different kinds of dog treats stack up?
- How many calories should make up our dog’s daily treat count?
- What should we look for when reading dog treat labels?
So, let’s get started!
CALORIES IN DOG TREATS & THE 10% RULE
Okay, we know. We talk about this a lot, vets talk about it, it’s not a secret. But here we go again.
Treats should only make up 10-15% of our dog’s daily caloric intake.
You need to look at your dog’s age, weight, and activity level. Use to determine your dog’s daily calorie needs. Then take 10-15% of that number to determine the amount of calories in treats they can have per day.
As an example, a 35-pound dog can have about 100 calories a day from treats.
So let’s look at how many treats make up 100 calories. 👇
DOG TREAT CALORIES COMPARISON
But first, let’s talk about training. When you are training your dog, you are repetitively rewarding your dog during the length of your training session. Because these sessions can last anywhere from 5-15 minutes (and multiple times a day), you need to make sure that treats are small enough and low enough in calories, to NOT overdo it.
As we did in the video above, we’ll start by comparing 100 calories of different kinds of treats to see how they stack up.
- Mini Peanut Butter Training Treats: 50 Treats = 100 Cal
- Beef Bits Treats: 25 Treats = 100 Cal
- Plain Cheddar Cheese: 1 Oz = 100 Cal
- Dog Biscuit: 6.5 Biscuits = 100 Cal
- Bacon Strip Dog Treats: 2.5 Treats = 100 Cal
- Standard Hot Dog: ⅔ Hot Dog = 100 Cal
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast: 4 Oz = 100 Cal
- : 100 Treats = 100 Cal
It’s so important to be aware of how many treats you are giving your dog because as you can see, calories can add up QUICKLY.
We need to take all of these things into consideration when choosing treats for our dogs.
1 CALORIE DOG TREATS - A COMPARISON
Many pup parents see this information about calories and instantly want to find low-calorie treat options for their pup, and rightly so!
So, let's look at that same table above and see how much you can give your dog to constitute 1 calorie.
- Mini Peanut Butter Training Treats: 0.5 treats = 1kcal
- Beef Bits Treats: 0.25 Treats = 1kcal
- Plain Cheddar Cheese: 0.1 Oz (a tiny amount, for context) = 1kcal
- Dog Biscuit: 0.15 Biscuits = 1kcal
- Bacon Strip Dog Treats: 0.025 Treats = 1kcal
- Standard Hot Dog: 0.0067 Hot Dog (a tiny amount, for context) = 1kcal
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast: 0.04 Oz (a tiny amount, for context) = 1kcal
- : 1 Treat = 1kcal
Do you see the picture we're painting here?
Many standard biscuits and treats contain wayyyy too many calories. 👎
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN READING DOG TREAT LABELS
When you have time, go take a look at the labels of the dog treats you have lying around. Or do a quick Google search. Most of this information is readily available.
What are some of the first ingredients you see? If you have beef treats and beef is pretty far down there on the ingredients list, it might not be your best option.
Let’s break it down even more.
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID IN DOG TREATS
- Corn Syrup
- Animal By-Products
- (BHA) Butylated Hydroxyanisole
- (BHT) Butylated Hydroxytoluene
- Artificial Preservatives and Coloring
- Rendered Fat
- Propylene Glycol
When choosing a treat, simple, whole ingredients are best. Look at where your products are sourced. Check to see if there are fillers, junk, sugar, or other unhealthy ingredients, and check the moisture content in the treat.
While moisture isn't inherently bad, it has the potential to cause two issues:
- Added weight makes it seem like you're getting more than you really are
- Added ingredients. Because if there is more moisture, there can be more mold. So some of the other ingredients are added to mitigate the mold issues
Our training treats are made with simple ingredients, are low calorie, and are freeze-dried to maintain nutrients and taste, perfect for extended training sessions, don’t contain any fillers, sugar, or junk, and is a for your pup.
DOG TREAT CALORIES RECAP
With dog obesity on the rise in America, it’s so important to look at one of the MAJOR culprits - TREATS. Keep your dog’s treats to a minimum, know what is in your dog’s treats, and make sure to exercise your pup both and .
Any specific questions about your dog’s treats? Let us know in the comments below!