Dog treats: how much is too much?
Most people enjoy giving their beloved dog a special treat, and there are actually benefits to treating your pet. For example, treats can reinforce and nurture the bond between you and your pet, and they’re a great training aid to reward desired behavior. However, while treats can be an enjoyable addition to your dog’s diet, too many treats can be unhealthy. What should you know about giving treats to your dog?
Keep in mind that dog treats should make up no more than around 10% of your dog’s total caloric intake. Too many treats can lead to obesity, and a diet filled with treats can be nutritionally unbalanced. Additionally, if you constantly feed your dog treats, the treats tend to lose their value as a training reward.
If you do enjoy giving your dog frequent treats, try breaking the treats into smaller pieces, or look for lower-calorie treats. Lots of dogs enjoy healthy low-calorie treats like bits of carrot, apple, green beans or sweet potato. Try giving your dog pieces of his regular kibble as a reward; this is especially effective for pets that aren’t free-fed and don’t have food readily available for snacking all day. If your dog is already overweight, calculate the calories from treats he is receiving and subtract that amount from his regular food intake.
All pets enjoy treats. Just make sure to give healthy treats, and treat in moderation.