Obese golden retriever smiling and laying in grass.

How Many Dog Treats is Too Many

If you have to wonder aloud if you are giving your dog too many dog treats, then you are giving your dog too many treats.

To protect your dog's health, you should know its breed and weight. 

And you can use that data to exactingly calculate how much food you should feed your pet daily. Make sure to consult with a veterinarian.

You should walk, exercise, and play with your dog often. And keep your dog to a strict eating schedule.

We all know that we should do these things for the benefit of our dogs.

But we love our dogs like they are family. And we want to indulge them. But even well-intentioned overindulgence for your dog, like feeding them too many treats, can result in serious health problems.

And even death.

Let's discuss what is the right amount of dog treats to feed your dog every day.

Firstly, let's discuss a canine health crisis that not enough dog owners take seriously enough – the dog obesity crisis in America.

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Related: Why Does My Dog Cry When he Plays With Squeaky Toys?

The Dog Obesity Epidemic

You may see online videos and pics of obese dogs and find them cute.

Or you may even enjoy such pics as a way of ignoring an obesity problem in your pet. 

Overfeeding your dog could make you feel like you are taking good care of it. 

Obese labrador laying on stone floor looking tired.

But overfeeding your dog, and enjoying its satisfaction as it eats, could also be a distraction ploy to ignore your bad habits and their burgeoning consequences.

At any rate, pet owners should understand the full gravity of the pet obesity epidemic that they are enabling.

Over 56% of American dogs are morbidly obese. And only 10% of obese dogs ever effectively lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

Sadly, over 40% of dogs who manage to lose weight will gain it back, and sometimes more, within a year.

And tragically, most dog owners are unaware or blissfully blind to the fact that their dog is overweight. Over 22% of dog owners consider their pet to be of average weight when they are obese in reality.

The simplest way to see if your dog is obese is to feel its ribs. If you can't feel its ribs and notice large fat deposits on its neck, back, and tail base, it is obese.

If your dog pants heavily all of the time, strains to get up, is always inactive, and doesn't exercise, then it might be obese.

A dog is considered obese if it is 10% to 20% heavier than its ideal body weight.

Unfortunately, most dog owners can't see that their dog may be obese. An obese dog may be considered cute or normal to a dog owner who enjoys feeding it.

The Dangers of Dog Obesity

If you are unsure if you are giving your dog too many treats, or dog food in general, you may be harming its health.

An obese dog shortens its natural lifespan by at least 24 months.

And there is nothing cute about excess body fat on a dog. Excess body fat on a dog is biologically and adversely active in a dog's body. 

Dog fat constantly secretes inflammatory hormones. And dog fat also generates oxidative stress on the tissue and flesh in a dog's body.

In other words, the fatter your dog is, the more damage that biologically active fat can do in the long term.

Obesity in dogs can cause:

  • Stressed joints and bones
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Heart disease
  • Urinary bladder stones
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes mellitus 
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Cushing's Disease
  • Cancer

The first step in dealing with obesity problems in your dog is to admit it is obese. And the best way to assess this is to examine how much and how often you feed your pet.

How Many Dog Treats is Too Many?

Deciding how many dog treats are too many is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

To determine how many treats to feed your dog optimally, you should know its breed and weight. With the assistance of a veterinarian, you can exactingly calculate how much food to give your dog each meal.

And to do that, you need to understand how many calories, or kilocalories for dogs, your dog must eat daily. The number of "kcals" your dog requires daily to stay healthy depends on various factors.

The daily kcals a dog requires vary depending on the breed of the dog, its size, its weight, and how active or inactive it is.

For example, an active, medium-sized dog weighing 30 pounds may require 900 kcals of food daily. 

Meanwhile, an inactive, medium-sized dog weighing 30 pounds may require 675 kcals of food per day.

Once you determine your dog's ideal daily kcal intake, you should only feed it 10% of its daily kcal requirements in dog treats.

Keep to Your Dog's Kcal Requirements

Dog playfully jumping around in grass.

You can do many things to make sure you are not feeding your dog too many dog treats. Do the math and learn your pet's kcal number with help from your veterinarian.

And don't just arbitrarily reduce the amount of food you feed your pet. You could unknowingly deprive it of necessary nutrients and proteins.

When you know your dog's kcal number, you can measure how much food it will eat each day. And you can measure the 10% equivalent of your pet's kcal number and then feed it that amount in dog treats throughout the day.

Consult with a veterinarian to learn what special kinds of dog food and other types of food you can feed your pet to aid in weight loss.

Develop a daily feeding schedule for your dog and stick to it every day.

Get out of the habit of giving your dog human food or dinner scraps. Human food is too rich, savory, and fatty for the digestive system of dogs. And if you think you are feeding your dog too many treats, you don't need to compound the problem with human food.

Finally, walk, exercise, and play with your dog as much as possible to help keep excess weight off.

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