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