List of top 5 low calorie dog treats Tricks to sell you treats that are no healthier than dog food.
You might think that Low calorie or low KJ treats are a great idea for your dog right? It means then can eat more for the same weight of treat, right? Well actually, usually, no.
But before we expose the industry standard tricks into getting you to pay more for very average plant based treats that aren’t as low calorie or low KJ as you might think … Lets look at how you can use healthy meat-based dog treats to achieve the low calorie dog treat goal – and keeping your dog healthy and trim.
ACTUAL LOW CALORIE (KJ) DOG TREATS
Since meat protein and carbs have a similar calorie or KJ value per gram and FAT typically has 2.5 times the energy value … the only way of having a NATURAL, true Low-calorie dog treat is by having treats that dogs can’t quickly eat, or have more fibre or non-protein / carb components.
Things like Fish skins dog treats (ling or salmon) can be eaten by any sized dog. They are more ideal to small and medium sized dogs (because they won’t be eaten as quickly). The skin has a higher amount of fibre in it than protein or carbs and fibre has a very low energy value and is important for bowel function of your dog.
You can also use things like treats in our LONG CHEWER CATEGORY that take a LONG TIME to chew. This means that even if they have a regular amount of KJ per gram, they will take so long to eat, that the ‘Calorie per hours of consumption’ means that the dog doesn’t consume as much.
For little dogs or puppies or older dogs, even something like Kangaroo Jerky Long can take a long time to eat, so they don’t end up eating that many calories in one sitting.
For medium or big dogs, that can be trusted to eat things like Dog Treat bones, where the dogs just nibble the ends off the bone, and don’t access the marrow. If the bone is bigger or stronger than the dogs chewing capability, they can stay amused for a long time, without actually eating many calories.
THESE are the MAIN NATURAL, honest way of keeping the energy consumed down.
Now lets look at all of the tricks that marketers employ on usually non-meat based treat sites to fool owners into buying treats because they think they are low calorie, but actually aren’t much different to dog food kibble!
Top 5 List of bad LOW CALORIE dog treat ‘TRICKS ‘ others use.
Trick 1 = Portion size.
NOT low calorie on a per gram basis
Apparently, it’s easy to fool owners into buying a product that say dog treat is low calorie when it actually isn’t any different to dog food KJ per gram. All the makers do, is make their grain-based treats into SMALLER pieces than usual. And then tell you not to feed your dog as many!
Here is an example of the advertising text: “at less than 3 calories per treat, (they are) the perfect little size to fit every (training) moment.”
The trick with this is, that you could call ANY DOG FOOD, that uses small pellets, a low-calorie training treat! It doesn’t have to contain meat, it doesn’t have to be low fat, it just has to be small.
The question here is, if you have an option of buying dog food dressed up as ‘dog treats’ by just using a smaller size, and you are not adding any quality meat or offal nutrition to your dog’s diet, what’s the point?
Essentially you are just buying the product because it was recommended by an affiliate marketer in a blog about their paid view of what are the “best” low calorie dog treats. And they are just selling affiliate links to e-bay or similar.
If you are after small treats or soft treats to feed your dog, we have a good range here: in our own SMALL dog treat category: And you can just as easily buy these MEAT based treats, and regulate how much you give them. Since even the meat balls have MORE meat than dog food, they are a more potent source of meat protein than dog food !
Trick 2 = Breaking a regular meat dog treat in half
NOT low calorie on a per gram basis
The best ‘low calorie meat-based treat’ award goes to a USA product that essentially has the same ingredients as our Aussie chicken breast, or Blackdog duck treat. PS we don’t call it LOW calorie.
In fact, they say “lean (bird) breast is mixed with vegetable glycerine and salt.” Glycerine is added to many poultry dog treats for taste (palatability), to stop crumbling and help preserve the treat. The salt for flavour (palatability). But there is no miracle treatment to make it low calorie!
They also include handy feeding guidelines telling you not to overfeed your dog, and that “For smaller dogs, (they) recommend breaking the jerky into bite-sized pieces”. GENIUS!
So again, if you know how much you of your regular dog food you are replacing with a HEALTHY based meat dog treat, just do that. In this case they say that the maximum bird fat is about 5% which is probably about regular for chicken or duck breast, skin off.
The reason that 5% might be considered low fat, is that regular beef treats often have a natural fat content of around 10%. And as fat has 2.5 x the KJ or calories of protein or carbs, if you have a LOT of fat in a treat, it can increase the KJ substantially. But for dogs not requiring a low fat diet, a regular meat treat doesn’t have a major amount of more JK per total size than a ‘low fat’ meat treat.
TRICK 3 = Feeding low fat biscuits
Slightly lower calorie on a per gram basis
There are a very small amount of dog breeds that can’t have regular protein amounts found in meat. For these kinds of dogs, these kinds of treats are fine.
In fact we have sold Blackdog Bigga biscuit in bulk cheap amounts – and its known as a low fat biscuit for only having 3% fat. Low fat, means lower KJ. And if you have a dog requiring a low-fat diet, BIGGA biscuits can be a solution.
But again, our main proposition is that dog food typically doesn’t contain enough meat (typically 30% meat) so we always recommend using a MEAT based dog treat to supplement your dog food as a priority, NOT a plant based biscuit.
If you use plant-based treats then all you are doing is diluting the total meat protein, and in general the protein amount they are eating.
TRICK 4 = Training dog treats
NOT low calorie on a per gram basis
Disclosure, we have as WHOLE category on our site under the category DOG TRAINING TREATS.
Yes, you can have low calorie training treats, because the underlying total ingredients are low KJ per gram. But again, that is rarely the case.
Low calorie or low KJ training treats that we see on the market, are typically just dog food pellets, reshaped or repackaged to sell you for a higher price per gram.
On some occasions they do make the treat low calorie, but this is often by having the first two or three ingredients as bland low calorie vegetable matter like potatoes, and then throwing in some vegetable oil, berries and salt to make them eat this unholy concoction.
TRICK 5 = RENDERED MEAT dog treats
Lower calorie on a per gram basis. But NOT healthy.
In the past, many dog treat companies used to cook meat at very high temperatures, like they do with most commercial dog food pellets currently. This high temperature cooking burns off the fat (renders it), so that the ‘treat’ is low fat, and lower calorie.
The problem with that, is that one of the main reasons we recommend meat-based dog treats for people (adding quality protein or even quality animal fat) to a dog’s diet, is ruined). The high temp cooking can denature the meat protein making it a poor nutrition choice.
LOW CALORIE / LOW FAT, the RIGHT WAY
Dogs with pancreatitis or that are obese (and owners don’t exercise enough portion control of the dog food) can benefit from low calorie dog treats (if the dog treat has low fat in it and they don’t eat a lot).
The proper way is using a meat-based dog treat (so they get a meat protein boost), but not giving the dog the normal level of fat found in regular farmed meat treats (like beef, pork or lamb).
If you want true, natural, organic quality meat-based treats that are NATURALLY LOW FAT (and so lower calorie) we always recommend just straight dried Kangaroo meat dog treats, and some fish dog treats. These typically have fat content under 4% which is safe for most dogs, even those with pancreatitis (but you can check that with your vet). We also list the fat content in the description of most treats.
The other option is just to REPLACE the same amount of dog food (gram for gram) with 100% meat-based dog treats. Since protein and carbs are about the same KJ value, swapping up to 25% dog food with 100% meat dog treats is a very viable option.
Another point to consider is that MANY dog owners use dog treats as an OCCUPIER treat. Something that the dog can chew while the owner is away, to take their mind off being bored or getting separation anxiety. A portion controlled soft small treat, or training treat, or anything made from mainly plant matter isn’t going to last long, unless it is some kind of very artificial ‘dental chew’.
The main reason many people give a treat to their dog (to occupy them) can’t be achieved with many so called, low calorie non animal treats.
We sell low FAT dog treats in a LOW-FAT category and they are NATURALLY low fat AND animal based as they should be. And these are often SINGLE INGREDIENT, often 100% meat dog treats. You do not have to sacrifice your dog’s health or enjoyment by making them eat an artificial plant based or rendered meat-based dog treat to give them low calorie dog treats.
By being aware of the tricks that many unscrupulous manufacturers use to try and con you into buying their stock is important for you and your dog!