How Treats, Scraps and Snacks Make Our Pets Fat
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An obese labrador dogIt took me 25 years, but I’ve finally cracked the code as to why our pets are so fat: it’s all us guys’ fault. Really, I’m not joking. Time and again I encounter overweight dogs and when I inquire as to the feeding habits it turns out that it’s the husband in the household (by their own admission) who sneaks all the treats and table scraps to the pet.

Due to it’s convenience and affordability, the vast majority of dogs in our practice still eat dry kibble. We’re okay with that as long as:
1.) It’s a relatively high caliber dry food that is all natural and – preferably – grain free; and
2.) The pet seems to be tolerating it well, with no vomiting or diarrhea, and with a healthy skin and coat, and no excessive scratching.

How Much Should Your Pet Eat a Day?

As an EXTREMELY crude starting feeding point, we usually recommend feeding about ¼ cup of dry food for every 10 pounds body weight, twice a day. E.g. a 20 pound dog would start with about ½ cup of dry food twice daily. With that as a starting point we can then adjust the feeding up or down based on the diet being fed and the dog’s biology.

When we see overweight dogs (over 50% of the pets we see are overweight) and query the owners, often we discover that they are either 1.) feeding well more than the volume outlined above, and/or 2.) giving significant quantities of scraps and treats.

And when we then dig deeper to find out how many treats and scraps the dog receives each day, it invariably turns out that it’s the man in the house who is the culprit. And I mean at least 90% of the time. It ALWAYS seems to be the man who gives way too many treats or snacks. (I won’t get into the psychology of why this is, but it’s definitely much more than mere coincidence.)

Recently we ran across the chart below. It neatly puts into context how much damage we’re doing to our pets (especially the smaller ones) when we continually slip them the occasional potato chip or piece of hot dog.

Dog treat translatorAnd once again, it seems to be overwhelmingly the guys who are the culprits. So all you well-meaning men out there who think you’re doing your dog a favor when you give him the same snacks you’re eating: STOP IT! And help your pet live longer and healthier.


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