Nutrition Series: What treats can my dog eat?

Submitted by Veterinary Wellness Partners on Wed, 10/14/2015 - 12:15pm

This may sound like a simple question, but it is another one that we often address.  The quick answer is that most commercial dog treats are suitable to feed your dog.  So with that being said, why address this question?  The main reason for addressing this question is that many of the dogs that we see in the clinic are overweight.

One of the main factors that contributes to this is over feeding of dogs.  Please check out our article on How much to feed your dog by clicking on the hyperlink.  So we can see that feeding your dog too much food can result in overweight dogs, but one sneaky thing that also contributes to weight gain is the supplemental feeding of people food and dog treats.  People food should not be fed to dogs, as it is often too high in calories and too high in grease and fat for our pets.  

As far as feeding treats, this is a hidden source of calories for your dog.  It is not uncommon to hear a pet parent state that they feed their dog between 5 and 10 treats a day.  Let's put that in human terms for a minute.  That would be like you feeding your children 5-10 extra "treats" (in the form of candy or energy bars, depending on the size of the dog treat that we are comparing) every day and then wondering why they gain weight.  This phenomenon can be seen a lot with the infamous "Freshman 15" that students gain when they go to college.

 This extra weight is due to a slowing metabolism, a sedentary lifestyle, and often poor dietary choices that young people make when first out on their own. These 18 and 19 year olds are not unlike our middle aged pets, who are done growing and have a slowing metabolism.