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How Many Treats Per Day Can You Feed Your Dog?

By Bridget Reed


No matter how old a dog is, they can give irresistible puppy eyes. However, even if your dog seems to be practically begging for another treat, it might not always be the best option for their overall health. 

So, how many treats can you give your dog every day? Unfortunately, there’s not one simple answer, but this article will tell you everything you need to know about incorporating treats into your furry friend’s diet. 

How Many Treats Can I Feed My Dog Per Day?

The general rule of thumb for a healthy dog diet is to make sure your dog primarily eats healthy, nutritious dog food and that only 10 percent of their diet is treats. If your dog’s diet includes more treats than that, you might notice them gaining weight or having digestive issues. 

However, it can be difficult to determine exactly 10 percent of your dog’s diet, especially because dogs vary so much in size. To determine how many calories your dog should eat daily, check their dog food bag

Look at the chart on the side of your dog's food to see how many calories they should be eating daily and how many calories their food contains. If your 60 lb dog needs roughly 1,000 calories of food per day, they should not get more than 100 calories from treats. 

You can consult your vet if you’re worried about not doing the math correctly or want a second opinion. Talking to your vet about how much food and treats your dog can have daily is the best way to ensure they eat a healthy diet. 

Talking to your vet can also be beneficial because you need to factor your dog’s age and activity level into their daily caloric intake. Generally, older and less active dogs will need to eat fewer calories. 

When Should I Give My Dog Treats? 

If you want to give your dog consistent treats, you can take a little kibble out of their bowl during feeding time. That said, remember that not all calories are the same. Dog food has nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your dog needs to stay healthy, so don’t think of treats as meal replacements. 

What Type of Treat Should I Give My Dog?

Now that you know exactly how many treats you can give your dog, you might wonder about the best dog treat. This section will closely examine jerky treats, human food, training treats, and biscuits to help you figure out the best treats for your furry friend. 

What Is a Jerky Treat?

Jerky treats are bite-size pieces of meat such as beef, lamb, chicken, or pork. You might notice that your dog knows when you open a bag of jerky treats because they tend to have an intense meaty smell. Since dogs have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell, it can be helpful to use jerky treats if you train or control your dog in a highly stimulating environment. 

However, jerky treats tend to be highly caloric. On average, each jerky treat contains 20 calories. You should only give a large dog a few jerky treats daily. 

If you have a medium-sized dog, they should only get a couple of jerky treats per day, and small dogs can only have one piece of jerky every day. If you are training your dog and need to feed them more jerky treats, you may want to consider giving them a little bit less food at dinnertime. 

Can I Give Them Human Food as a Treat?

It can be tempting to give your furry friend a little bit of human food as a treat, especially if they show interest in what you’re eating. Unfortunately, it’s easy for your dog’s calories to add up, and giving them scraps from the table may cause a problem because it is difficult to know exactly how many calories are in each piece of human food. 

That said, if you want to give your dog a bit of human food as a treat, you can do so as long as the food is healthy, low-calorie, and unprocessed. Instead of tossing your dog a slice of cheese or luncheon meat, try offering carrot sticks, plain green beans, fresh berries, lean turkey break, non-fat yogurt, or unseasoned popcorn. 

What Are Training Treats?

Training treats, as you might have guessed, are made specifically to help you train your furry friend. They are small, soft, and low-calorie. Given that there are only three to five calories per training treat, you can give your dog several to reward good behavior without worrying about their health. 

Training treats are also perfect because dogs can eat them quickly and return to training. When to don’t have to wait for your dog to eat all the biscuit crumbs or chew through a thick piece of jerky, they are more likely to stay focused on training and learn faster. 

What Are Biscuits?

Biscuits are an easy, inexpensive way to treat your dog. However, make sure you carefully read the ingredients list on the biscuits. It is not uncommon for wheat or soy to be the primary ingredient in dog biscuits. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, biscuits may be irritating. 

A high-quality biscuit will first have meat or meat meal on the ingredients list. Fruits and vegetables will follow the meat. Although there are not as many calories in biscuits as in jerky, you should still carefully read the nutrition label to decide how many biscuits you can safely give your dog. 

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Overweight?

It can be hard to determine if your dog is overweight, especially if they have a thick, beautiful coat. The easiest way to know if your dog is overweight is to take them to the vet and get a professional opinion. There are also a few signs you can look for at home to tell if your dog is overweight. 

Regardless of your dog’s breed, you should be able to feel their ribs easily. The easiest way to know if it feels correct is to feel the back of your own hand — their ribs should feel like the tendons on the back of your hand. 

You should also notice a significant difference between the width of their chest and stomach. Generally speaking, if a dog is overweight, there will not be a difference between the width of their chest and stomach. 

Your furry friend may also be overweight if they seem to pant more when they walk and take more naps than usual. 

What Should I Do If My Dog Is Overweight? 

If you think your dog is overweight, don’t worry! You can take several easy steps at home to help manage your dog’s weight and get them back to a healthy weight. 

Make Sure Your Dog Stays Active 

Like humans, the most important way to keep your dog at a healthy weight is to ensure that they stay active. When your dog is active, they can burn off the calories consumed during breakfast or dinner. 

It can be difficult to ensure your dog gets enough exercise when you have to work all day or have a busy schedule. Remember that taking your dog on frequent walks or simply allowing them to play in a safe, off-leash environment can be enough. 

You can also try to make their indoor environment more stimulating with toys to encourage them to be more active at home.

Differentiate Between Begging and Hunger

Another important step to take at home to help your dog lose weight is distinguishing between begging and hunger. Sometimes, your dog may beg just to get your attention, not because they are hungry. You encourage the behavior when you give your begging dog scraps from the table or more dog food.

Although it can be difficult, try to take a moment to think when your dog begs for food. If they have had a meal recently, trust your instincts and refrain from giving them more food or a treat. 

If your dog is a professional regarding puppy eyes and begs frequently, you may want to consider giving them a high-protein and high-fiber diet that will keep them full for longer. 

Be Diligent With Measurements 

Sometimes when you’re in a rush feeding your dog or giving them a treat, you may just eyeball the measurement. But when trying to help your dog lose weight, being diligent and consistent about the amount of food you’re feeding them is one of the most important steps. 

If you’re unsure how much food to feed your dieting dog, consider talking to your vet. Portion control is one of the fastest, easiest ways to help your overweight dog. 

Come Up With a Healthy Diet and Stick to It

Everyone knows the hardest part about sticking to a diet is sticking to it! The same goes for your dog. If you really want to help your furry friend lose weight, slowly introduce new, healthy changes to their diet and stick to them. 


You can calculate the number of treats you can give your dog every day by calculating how many calories they should eat daily. You can give your dog 10 percent of their daily caloric intake in treats. Remember that the amount of calories your dog needs depends on their breed, age, and activity level.

There are several different types of treats you can give your furry friend. Dogs love jerky treats for their meaty flavor, but you can also give them a small amount of healthy human food, training treats, or biscuits. Regardless of the type of treat you give your dog, remember only to give them a limited amount of treats.

If you think that your dog may have gotten a little overweight from too many treats, you can help them lose weight by keeping them active, differentiating between begging and hunger, being diligent with measurements, and sticking to their diet!


Canine Olfaction: Physiology, Behavior, and Possibilities for Practical Applications | NIH

Vegan versus meat-based dog food: Guardian-reported indicators of health | NIH

Evaluation of the effects of dietary soy phytoestrogens on canine health, steroidogenesis, thyroid function, behavior and skin and coat quality in a prospective controlled randomized trial | NIH

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