Dog Treats or Calorie Bombs? (Why is My Dog Fat?)

by Sandy Gregory, M Ed, RVT, CCRA

 

 

     There’s an obesity epidemic in America and it’s not just with humans.  Veterinarians are seeing many more dogs these days with serious weight problems–problems that can lead to many of the same diseases that obese humans face, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. 

     Of course, we don’t mean to make our dogs fat–and often we’re not even aware that those cute little treats we give them are part of the problem.  But when you start thinking about your dog’s diet as you would about your own, you realize that every dog needs a certain number of calories everyday, just like we do.  And if you exceed that number on a regular basis, your on your way to having one pudgy poodle. 

     Consider this:  A 23-lb. dog who isn’t especially active needs about 386 calories a day to maintain his weight.  Similarly, a 44-lb. dog needs 670 calories to maintain her weight, and a 70-lb. dog needs around 1024 calories. 

     Now, take a look at the calorie content of some popular dog treats and you can see just how easy it is for your dog to go from fit to fat:

 

Dog Treat                                                                  Calories per piece

 

Alpo® Biscuits                                                                     30

Alpo® Chew-eez® Chew Strips                                        60

Beggin Strips® Dog Snacks                                                40

Bonz® Dog Snack (small)                                                   43

Bonz® Dog Snack (medium)                                              67

Bonz® Dog Snack (large)                                                    89

Chew-rific™ Dog Biscuits                                                  31

Milk-Bone Dog Biscuits (small)                                         20

Milk-Bone Dog Biscuits (medium)                                   40

Milk-Bone Dog Biscuits (large)                                       115

New Greenies® (Teenie™)                                                25

New Greenies® (Petite)                                                      54

New Greenies® (Regular)                                                  90

New Greenies® (Large)                                                    144

New Greenies® (Jumbo)                                                   270

Purina ONE® Total Nutrition Flavor Biscuits                37

Purina® Beggin’® Wraps                                                   68

Pro Plan® Dog Treats                                                         35

 

     The trick isn’t eliminating dog treats entirely, it’s in being judicious with the higher calorie treats–or in finding a lower calorie alternative.  Below are listed a few healthy treats that aren’t so high in calories. 

     And remember, what your dog craves most of all is your attention.  A few minutes focused just on him is the healthiest alternative of all.

 

Healthy Alternative Treats

 

Charlee Bear® Dog Treat                                                      3

Apple slice (1/6 of one medium apple)                           13

Carrot (1 baby)                                                                        6

Chicken (1/2 oz. lean)                                                         26

Cottage cheese (1 oz.)                                                          30

Green beans (1/4 cup)                                                          9

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