Everyone loves treats, especially your dog—but too many and your pet will start gaining weight, just like humans do if they substitute a pint of ice cream for a healthy lunch. Treats can be a fun way to reward good behavior and improve your owner/pet bond, but don’t use them as a fallback to getting them to behave.
Most veterinarians say that treats shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of their total diet—that means you will need to figure out their recommended caloric intake and adjust their diet (including treat intake) accordingly. So, how many treats should you feed your dog in Georgia?
Understanding your dog’s caloric needs
Unlike us, there’s no standard for how many calories your pet needs. Smaller dogs will naturally need less than larger dogs, like adult Presa Canarios. Talk to your breeder and do your research to find the right range for your dog at their particular stage in life (puppy, adult, senior or pregnant). Once you’ve figured out how many calories they need per day, subtract 10 percent for treats. For example, if you’re feeding your dog 1,200 calories per day, 120 of those calories can go to treats.
To prevent weight gain from treats in Georgia, you’ll need to look at the calorie content on their dog food as well as their treats. It may be listed as “kcal,” which can be confusing—usually, kcal is equivalent to 1,000 calories. However, on dog food it’s used interchangeably with calories, so the puppy chow that says it has 200 kcal per cup does not mean you’re feeding your dog 200,000 calories.
How to keep treat intake at a reasonable level
Of course, you might want to give your dog multiple treats per day, especially as rewards for obedience training. Don’t feed them three or four high-calorie treats every day—that’s just asking for weight gain and health issues. Instead, take a large treat and break it up into smaller pieces. Dogs don’t know the difference between big and small treats—they just know they want another one. This will help you stay on top of their caloric needs while still giving them plenty of treat-based motivation.
Finally, think about low-calorie treats you can give them. Sweet potatoes, apples, carrots and green beans make for good, healthy treats. If your dog turns up their nose at fruit and vegetables, you can always buy special treats with high vegetable content included. Some owners give their dogs individual pieces of dog kibble as treats, which also helps keep the calorie content under control.
Whatever kind of treats you use, make sure you understand exactly what you’re giving your dog, and bring them to the vet regularly to monitor their health and weight.
Do you have questions about how many treats to feed your Presa Canario? D&G Kennels is your Georgia source for all things Presa—call us today to learn more about the breed and how to feed your pet for optimal health and wellness.