Canine Obesity: How many treats to feed your dog?
Did you know recent statistics classify 56% of dogs in the U.S. as overweight or obese? We love our dogs, but feeding them too many treats can cause serious health problems - despite those puppy eyes!
Treats that contain essential nutrients are a great part of your dog’s diet. Because of their incredible sense of smell, treats are invaluable for training sessions and positive reinforcement - “I gots a treat so I been good”. However, many of us have been guilty of over-feeding and it might be doing more harm than good.
Before we dig into this blog, it is important to note that only you and your dog’s vet understand their health better than anyone. For anything weight or health-related, we always recommend consulting your vet first.
Your Dog’s Weight
We love our dogs and we want them to live a long, happy life full of tail wags and wet kisses. That’s what makes their health so vital, which includes keeping an eye on their furry waistlines and having a general idea of their weight.
There are multiple factors that determine your dog’s weight; breed, age and shape. There are a couple of routes you can take to understand where they sit on the scale.
If you’re unsure where to start, try these:
- BCS (Body Condition Score)
A Body Condition Score is a hands-on assessment of weight. It’s based on a dog’s frame as opposed to a straight body mass. You might recognize this when your vet uses terms like “BCS” or “BSC score.”
Rather than relying on the scale, you determine your dog’s body condition through touch and visual inspection. Then you assign a number to your dog’s appearance. The scores range from 1-9 (1 for severely underweight and 9 for obese) and your dog should aim for between 4-5.
Here are 3 easy steps to do a BCS at home:
- Feel your dog’s chest and ribs
- Check for the abdominal tuck
- From above, check for a waistline
- Calorie Intake Calculator
To get specific with your dog’s caloric levels, you can use a Calorie Intake Calculator. This provides a clear understanding of their current and ideal weight, so you can adjust their feeding schedule accordingly - whether that’s to gain, lose or maintain their weight.
You can use the result to assess your dog’s food intake, including their main diet and complementary foods such as treats, chews or sneaky nibbles.
As dog parents, it’s helpful to figure out where your dog sits on the scale, but do relax! It should be fun and fulfilling to have a canine companion in your life.
How many treats?
So, you’ve done the research and you have a good grasp on your dog’s overall health and weight. But what about treats? Treats are part of many dogs' daily lives. From reward training that builds positive association to a yummy chew that distracts them, treats are pawsome.
The simple answer? There is none. As we mentioned, each dog is different. From high-energy Cocker Spaniels to more docile Pugs, every dog requires their own feeding routine.
We do, however, have a general rule to help:
- The 10% Rule
This rule is pretty simple. For your dog’s daily caloric intake, treats should only make up around 10% of that. That doesn’t mean an additional 10% on top of their intake but within the daily requirements.
So anything that is not considered your dog’s normal meals - whether that’s training treats, tasty jerky, or even a piece of cheese - should be included in the 10%.
Just like their regular diet, the treats you choose really do matter. Have a think about how many treats you give your dog during a rewards training session - 5 or 10 maybe? That all adds to their daily intake. If you’re worried about over-feeding treats, you can always cut a large treat in half or opt for a healthy treat like a banana or a carrot (top tip: freeze them for a nutritious chew).
Do you want to get your paws on healthy supplements for your dog? While our chews are much more than treats, our supplements are formulated with ingredients proven to support your dog and their health - read about the Superfoods Inside our Dog Supplements here.
Here at Active Chews, our range of nutritious chews are designed to help your dog in all their adventures. See our full range of treats here.
Like treats, you can also calculate Active Chews into their diet. Size matters when it comes to how big (or tiny!) your fluffy friend is and how many chews they need to take. Let’s break it down.
If your dog is a:
🐕 Small breed (such as a Chihuahua) = 1 chew Per day
🐕 Medium breed (such as a Labrador) = 2 chews Per day
🐕 Large breed (such as a Great Dane) = 3 chews Per day
Different-sized dogs will require a different quantity of chew to reap the rewards.
We think it should be simple and easy to keep track of your dog's overall food intake. A BSC, Caloric Intake Calculator and the general 10% rule are useful resources for dog owners but the best advice you can get is always from your veterinarian. You can use our chew guide to provide your dog with the optimum amount!
If you’re a regular chewer, our handy subscription service also helps you calculate your order frequency so you never run out AND you'll save 20% on every order! Just click subscribe and save when ordering.
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