– Have you ever heard of a Dog Treat Calorie Translator? At the Daily Dog we are of course aware of the need to monitor the calorie intake of our dogs as much as ourselves. Given the increasing rates of obesity in humans and their dogs, we did our research to see whether a calorie counting tool for dogs does exist.
Interestingly enough, there is no comprehensive calorie translator in existence that covers a range of foods commonly fed to dogs and the “calorific values” or energy content of such foods. We did think such a calorie comparison tool would surely exist, but instead what we came across was a self serving infographic from Hills Pet Food that seems to be all too commonly referenced across the internet. The image in this Post is one example of the various ways this translator is portrayed, but in every variation it is completely misleading and designed for one purpose – to sell you more doggie weight control (read expensive) food from Hills.
The Company even has a slick website that heavily features its treat translators for dogs and cats. What they often don’t mention at all is the size of dog they are talking about; 9kg. Individual adult dogs from many toy breeds often exceed this weight – let alone the vast numbers of non-Toy dog breeds in existence. Where this weight reference is mentioned, it is usually in small print, yet the infographic is almost always accompanied by dire warnings for the dog owner who dares to give their dog the occasional treat. It never mentions that a biscuit for a 9kg Maltese represents a vastly different portion size to the same biscuit given to a 35kg Labrador Retriever!
But it gets even worse. Additionally, in an attempt to sell even more of their processed food to unsuspecting dog owners, Hills warns people not to feed their dogs table scraps either!
We think it is high time a counterbalance of common sense is ladled into the bowl of spurious arguments put forward by Hills.
The first point the team at pups4sale would like to make to all those who have seen or will see such a “doomsday” graphic in future is don’t panic and don’t waste your time worrying about the self-serving information Hills presents with it.
Secondly, don’t feed your dogs treats at all – end of story. They don’t need them any more than we do.
Thirdly, table scraps are just fine. We have raised generations of dogs over the last forty years, with canned, processed, high-preservative junk food in a can AKA “canned dog food” only EVER being used as an emergency reserve. In fact our now 13 year-old Bull Terrier X Australian Cattle Dog X Bull Mastiff dog “Ben” and 8 year old Bull Arab bitch “Kim” have only ever been served a handful of cans of dog food in their lives. They have both recently had their yearly vet check, with the surprised Vet remarking that Ben’s vital signs, heart and lungs were “perfect”. So what do we feed them and the generations of their predecessors? Here is the healthy, economical, common sense diet we use and recommend:
. Table scraps – minus cooked bones, onion, nuts, offal & chocolate.
. Added to the table scraps are a mug of dog biscuits each. We change the brand of dog biscuits each time we buy a new bag. We buy the biscuits in large bags from produce stores, as the price per kilogram is often half or less that paid at a grocery store.
. The dogs are fed each morning. At lunchtime they are fed one frozen lamb or beef bone each – usually the size that will fit comfortably in a man’s hand. This is primarily for teeth cleaning purposes, and is far cheaper than many other alternatives sold in the pet stores. Most grocery stores sell bags of frozen dogs bones at a reasonable price in the cold pet food section, as such bones are a by-product of butchery and need to be disposed of anyway. Ben and Kim have always had beautiful breath and healthy teeth and gums their entire lives – with not one minute of veterinary dental work being required for either of them.
As an additional point for those with fussy dogs, it is crucial that you introduce frozen bones to your dog’s diet at as early an age as possible. Small dogs in particular tend to be prone to dental hygiene problems and are often the fussiest of breeds. So if you can train such dogs to consume frozen bones early on, it is a win-win all round.
Hopefully our common sense advice will save you wasting money, table scraps and time worrying about providing your dogs with high cost, questionable diets that add nothing to your dog’s overall health. Your bank balance and your dogs will thank you if you do. 😉