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How Many Treats Per Day Is Right for a Dog?

October 10, 2022 3 min read
holding treat up for dog

We totally understand the urge to shower your dog with treats 24/7. Even though most pet parents know that dogs need a balanced diet (just like humans!), very few actually know how many treats for dogs they should feed their puppy per day — and how much is too much. Today, we’re discussing how many treats per day is right for dogs and how to calculate their daily treat allotment.

How Many Treats Per Day Is Right for a Dog?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy rule such as “give your dog five treats a day.” In general, treats should make up no more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily caloric intake. However, figuring this out is complicated by the fact that treats themselves vary a lot in calories: The best treats for big dogs are going to contain a lot more calories than tiny little puppy chews.

Furthermore, each dog’s daily caloric intake varies greatly depending on their breed, current weight, activity level, age, and more. Ten percent of a large, active dog’s caloric intake might be 100 percent of the daily caloric intake for a tiny dog that lies on the couch all day. We’ll talk more about how to calculate a dog’s daily caloric intake (and how many treats to give them as a result) in the next section.

Giving your dog treats is a great way to bond with them and is also a key training tool for many food-motivated dogs. However, it’s important not to give your dog too many treats because they tend to be much higher in calories and lower in nutrients than regular kibble. Cutting back on regular food to give your dog more treats can lead to nutrient deficiencies, and feeding them too many treats can result in weight gain. Find a happy medium where you are feeding your dog the right amount of nutritious kibble and supplementing with a few treats every day.

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Calculating a Dog’s Caloric Needs

The easiest way to figure out your dog’s daily caloric needs is to talk to your vet. They will be able to tell you not only your dog’s daily calorie target, but also whether they need to gain or lose weight (or maintain their current weight). Barring that, you can use a calculator such as the dog’s resting energy requirements (RER) or this one from the Pet Nutrition Alliance to get a rough idea of how many calories your dog should be eating each day. Then, multiply that number by 10 percent (or 0.10) to figure out how many calories of treats your dog can have each day.

If you know how much food you are supposed to feed your dog each day, you can also reverse engineer this number by multiplying the amount that you feed them by the number of calories in a cup of food. For instance, if you feed your medium dog two cups of food each day, and each cup contains 300 calories, then their daily caloric intake should be roughly 600 calories. Continuing the math, this means that your dog can eat about 60 calories of treats each day (600 x 0.10 = 60).

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Once you know how many calories of treats your dog can eat every day, consult the nutrition information on your various treat bags to figure out how many individual treats you can give them each day. For instance, if your dog can have 100 calories a day from treats, then they can eat three of our 6-inch thin bully sticks for dogs, which are 33 calories each.

In general, larger treats tend to contain more calories, but this isn’t universally true across the board. Single ingredient treats such as bully sticks and bones tend to be lower in calories because they lack filler ingredients. They also last for a really long time, meaning that your dog gets a really rewarding experience from their daily treat. However, smaller treats may be more appropriate for training sessions or smaller dogs. Having a variety on hand is always a good idea.

Ready to order delicious treats for your dog? At Best Bully Sticks, we stock a variety of healthy, high quality treats for dogs of all breeds and sizes. Order today and get free shipping on your U.S. order over $79!

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