Research has revealed on a gram for gram basis many dog and cat treats rival the calorie content of fast-food burgers and iced doughnuts.

The survey compared Big Macs with pet treats. Photo credit: iStock-/Bagwold

The study, carried out by Direct Line Pet Insurance, states Dreamies cat treats contain approximately 5% more calories than a glazed doughnut.

A similar comparison says Bonio dog biscuits contain approximately 53% more calories than a McDonald’s Big Mac. Unlike human foods, only a handful of pet food manufacturers list calorie content on the packaging of their pet treats, making it difficult for pet owners to make informed choices.

Direct Line is calling for clearer labelling on dog and cat treats to better inform pet owners. Key findings of the research reveal dog treats contain up to 255 calories per treat, and cat treats up to 60 calories per serving. Feeding a Labrador retriever a single Bonio biscuit, for example, equates to 7% of the dog’s daily allowance and is said to be similar to giving a human male a KitKat Chunky.

The calorific content of different brand pet treats varied widely, ranging from approximately 14 to 60 calories per serving for cats, and 14 to 255 calories for dogs.

Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line, said: “Owners should be aware of the calorie content of their pets’ favourite treats and monitor their daily intake carefully. Treats play an important role in training our pets and encouraging positive behaviours, but, as with human foods, they should be accounted for in an animal’s diet.”

Direct Line is launching the “Fit Fred” campaign with healthy pet recipes, expert vet nutrition advice and fitness tips.

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