Treat-itis. It’s a condition I tend to diagnose on behalf of my patients. But this time it’s the humans with the problem. 

Treat-itis is so pervasive it’s almost the norm. But thankfully, it’s treatable. Problem is, a cure is only easily achieved once you get past the layers of whatever the human psychological traits are that compel people to feed a multitude of treats and not believe their pets will actually gain weight from them. 

It’s tough ... and stressful for veterinarians who see fat pets waddle in and out of their offices all day attached to owners who would feed them with impunity––that is, at least until the painful cost of all those years of fat start to take a toll on their pet's health. 

Part of the problem is that people don’t tend to think much about how many calories their pets actually consume by way of these "little treats." And when a “teensy morsel” gobbled down in the blink of an eye accounts for 50 of her 300 daily calories, it’s a big deal. 

Here’s some idea of what these treats really contain, calorie-wise (according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s Web site):

  • Milk Bones: 20 for the tiny ones to 225 calories for the biggest ones
  • BusyBones (by Purina): 309 for the small ones to 618 for the big ones
  • DentaBones (by Pedigree): 105 for the small, 188 for the medium and 300 for the large ones
  • Pig ears are about 130 calories for the small ones
  • Rawhides? 100 to about 600 calories for the ones I sourced

Not enough evidence to cure your treat-its? Well then, consider this: It’s also the case that treats are usually BAD for pets in lots of other ways. Apart from the fact that they add all kinds of extra weight your pets don’t need, they’re usually made of nasty, rendered fats and lots of other useless fillers. (Chicken feet and cow hooves, anyone?) 

So here’s my solution: Either make your own treats (check out this post for some ideas) or consider these lower-calorie offerings...

  • Frozen (or fresh) Green Beans (23 calories per half cup)
  • Frozen (or fresh) Broccoli (20 calories per half cup)
  • Baby Carrots (4 calories each)
  • Apple Slices (32 calories per one half apple)
  • Cantaloupe Slices (30 calories per one half cup)
  • Canned Pumpkin (40 calories per half cup)
  • Air Popped Popcorn (15 calories per half cup)

Pretty easy, right? OK, then, get shopping. And while you’re at it, take him for a walk, too. 

Dr. Patty Khuly