To Treat, or Not to Treat …

This time of year bring in lots of extra food, treats, candy and guest which can lead to extra pounds for you, but don’t forget about your pet!  We have several, furry family members on our place, one of which is obese.

Our (should be little) Cha-winnie Sadie should be about 8-9 pounds, however despite our best efforts to limit her food intake and feed her special food she, she weighs in closer to 20 pounds.  Although we try our best to avoid table food, with a small one in the house sometimes she sneaks a bite here and there.

An OSU Veterinarian gives this perspective to pet owners to help them understand what a “little bite” means for a pet.

While it may seem like a snack to you, in most cases, it is an entire meal for your pet.

Here are suggestions regarding feeding human treats and what it would mean to your pet in human terms:

  •  For a cat weighing up to 10 pounds, a single potato chip equals ½ hamburger with all the trimmings(lettuce, tomato, mayo and bun). A 1 ounce piece of cheddar cheese is like eating 2 ½hamburgers. One cup of whole milk equals three hamburgers. Milk can cause weight gain and could upset your cat’s stomach.
  •  For a 20 pound dog, one little cookie equals an entire hamburger with all the trimmings. A 1ounce piece of cheddar cheese for a dog is like eating 1 ½ hamburgers. One hot dog, cut into tiny pieces for training treats, equals 2 ½ hamburgers.

There are, however, some healthy human snacks that you can give your pets.

A banana, frozen or room temperature, chunks of frozen mango, fresh carrots and canned or frozen green beans can be used as treats.

Apples without the seeds can also be given as a treat.

A “pupsicle” made with plain Greek yogurt and a variety of fruits is also a great treat. You can use mango, banana, blueberry or all three. Note that it is important to use plain yogurt with no artificial sweeteners as those can be toxic to your pet.

For some other great snack ideas, take a look at this Spoil Your Pet handout. This is available at

If your veterinarian suggests using cheese or another human snack to administer medicine, please be aware of the extra calories and account for it in your dog or cat’s daily caloric intake.

Always consult your veterinarian if you have any questions.

Source:  Elisabeth J. Giedt, DVM



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