The Hidden Calories in Snacks

When pets are fed a balanced diet there’s no nutritional need to offer them any additional treats, but inevitably there are times when an owner will want to treat their pet. 

Treats have a role to play in helping train dogs to follow commands, in rewarding good behaviour and in helping to develop a bond between pet and owner.  However, too many treats or the wrong kind of treat can soon lead to obesity and a variety of health problems that come with being overweight.

Be Treat Aware

When giving pets treats outside of mealtimes it’s best to give them food from their daily food allowance.  Or choose healthy alternatives like apple, carrot or other vegetable sticks.

If buying pet treats:

  • Always read the labels and avoid pet treats that are high in fat and salt.
  • Keep treats to less than 10% of a pet’s daily calorie intake.

Don’t feed table scraps to your dog or cat — especially when they are trying to lose weight.  What appears to be a small snack for us can be a whole meal for a cat or dog.   Human foods are often too high in fat and either salt or sugar for pets. 

  • 28grams of cheese for a cat = two and a half burgers for a human
  • 1 cup of full fat milk for a cat = 3 burgers for a human
  • 28 grams of cheese for a dog = 1.5 burgers
  • 1 dental chew for a dog = 1 chocolate bar for a human

Be Treat Wise

Only reward good behaviour or when a dog responds appropriately to a new command.

Don’t reward your dog when it is jumping up or begging as this only reinforces the unwanted behaviour.

NOTE: If your vet has suggested using cheese or another human snack to administer medicine, please be aware of the extra calories and account for it in your dog or cat's daily calorie intake.

Speak with your vet or vet nurse for advice on healthy snacks and diet and nutrition.