How Many Treats Should I Feed My Pet?

As pet parents, we tend to show our affection by giving our fur babies a few treats! We tend to do this when they’ve been good, or when we’re feeling a little generous. But what are the real consequences of these snacks? Little rewards like these can be the exact reason why your pet is not losing weight!

We all love snacks, but they’re not always the best source of nutrients. That’s why we set a limit for ourselves, and the same thing goes for our floof. A general rule of thumb is that pets shouldn’t get more than 10% of their daily caloric intake from snacks.

Now the question is: How many calories should my pet have in one day? Consider consulting with your veterinarian about your pet’s ideal daily caloric intake. Every pet is different. An indoor cat and an active puppy will have vastly different requirements.

Every reputable pet treat label will include the amount of calories in each serving, or a recommended guideline. From there, you can calculate how much 10% is! For example: if your four legged friend needs 500 calories a day, they can only consume 50 calories worth of treats! 
When you’re feeling generous with the treats, consider slightly reducing the amount of their normal food to make up for those extra calories. 

The difference between food and treats

Calories are not created equally. Think of all the sweets you enjoy rewarding yourself with! Is it a cookie, or after-dinner cake? Delicious sweets and extra treats are not always healthy. They’re made to smell good, and taste even better! You wouldn’t eat dessert all of the time, right? Same goes for your pet. Their normal food is their nutrient-dense meals, and their treats are just like our dessert. 

Of course, you can feed special treats to your pet on special occasions. There’s always a little room for love. But we encourage you to be mindful with the amount you are feeding them. 

Picking the right treats

There are many factors you should consider before picking a treat for your pet. Whether that would be their age, reproductive status, medical conditions (if any), activity level, their size and of course, their breed. Smaller pups or kitties will have less wiggle room in their diet. Since they are smaller, their daily caloric needs are also reduced. With the 10% rule in mind, rewarding smaller pets will be trickier. Keep an eye out for low calorie treats they can enjoy. The fewer the calories, the more you can reward them! 

What happens if you give them too many treats

Pet obesity and other health conditions can come from giving your floof too many treats. Problems such as joint disease, diabetes, issues with the pancreas or kidneys can stem from excessive treat-giving. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s ideal caloric intake, and their ideal snack schedule. If your pet is overweight, consider discussing with the vet about the diet plans you can implement for the best results. 

Pet parents must remember! There are always other ways to show our love. Rewards like extra cuddle time, words of praise, or even a few extra minutes of playtime are something that our friends will always appreciate!

This article is reviewed by the veterinarian from Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University (CUVET)

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