Treating – How Much is Too Much?
So, if you’re like us, giving treats to our pets brings joy to everyone involved. Watching them wiggle all over the place with excitement for a treat is simply the best. And giving them something they are excited to eat feels like a way to show how much we love them. We might be rewarding them for doing a trick or obeying a command. But there is a POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimated that there were over 40 million overweight dogs and cats in the US. That’s close to half of the dog and cats in the US. Like their human family members, overweight pets have higher incidences of cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis and joint issues. And when our pets are overweight, we not only reduce their quality of life, but studies show we are reducing how many years they will live. And we know all of us want our pets to live as long as possible!
Here are some suggestions on how to give treats in a health way:
Know Your Dogs Calorie Number
One of the best things you can do as a pet parent is determine the number of calories your pet should eat each day. Just like humans, height, weight, age, health and exercise level all play into how many calories your dog needs in a day.
Set Aside No More Than 10% for Treats
If your dog needs to eat 1,000 calories each day, that means you should give no more than 100 calories in treats. It also means, you need to reduce the amount of food you put in the bowl to 900 calories. And just a heads up, those little bites of human food so many pet parents (us included) sneak to our dog or cat – those count too!!!
Be Aware of Balance
Your pet’s food is required to be complete and balanced. That means dozens of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients have been added at just the right levels to make sure your pet’s body is getting the right amount of everything and in the right proportions. It is critical for good health.
Minimize the Number of High Calorie Treats
Some treats are very calorie dense. That large biscuit your dog loves? Chances are it’s over 100 calories. Want to give a dental bone to help clean your pooch’s teeth? That’s a great idea! But be aware a regular-sized dental bone for a 50lb dog is probably around 90 calories. Plan out when they get those treats because it’s probably the only treat, they should have that day or maybe every other day.
Leverage Low Calorie Treats
LIQ was designed specifically to be a guilt-free and low-calorie way of treating. Six licks are only one calorie. This makes it the perfect way to treat your pet throughout the day without disrupting balance or giving them more calories than they need. And LIQ is exactly the type of treat to leverage while training your dog. You can reward them for learning something new as many times as you want.