Holiday Food Calories and the Price Your Dog Will Pay

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Yes, it is holiday season.  In the U.S., we are celebrating our Thanksgiving holiday and will soon follow this up with Christmas/Hanukkah, and New Years feasts (Hanukkah overlaps with Thanksgiving this year).  Most of us will tend to overindulge and likely will pack on a few pounds if we aren’t careful.  The same can be true for our dogs!


Who doesn’t want to share some of the wonderful Thanksgiving (holiday) food with our dogs?  Turkey, squash, mashed potatoes are all yummy treats that our dogs just love.  So go ahead and give your dog some holiday samplings.  Just don’t overdo it and strive to make up the extra calories by cutting back on their regular food and treats and/or adding a little more exercise to burn some extra calories.


The Exercise Price for Holiday Treats

We compiled a small sampling of popular holiday foods along with their calorie amounts.  We then calculated how long an average 50 lb dog would need to walk or run to burn off that extra food.  The results are shown below.


With the exception of the pilsner beer ;-), the food calorie data are for a single ounce.  For frame of reference, a one-half cup serving is 4 ounces (or 4 times the calories that are displayed).  So if you decide to give your dog a ½ cup of mashed potatoes (which we don’t recommend), then you would have to do 4 times the number of minutes of exercise as shown in the table.  It can quickly add up to be a lot of extra exercise! We estimate the calorie burn using a walking speed of 2.5 miles per hour and a running speed of 7 miles per hour.
calories for holiday food

Happy Thanksgiving from the folks and dogs at

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  1. wow that is very interesting. Good thing I only give each one a forkfull after I am done eating.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Follow-Up/FitDog FridayMy Profile

  2. Still, though, a piece of lean turkey has less calories than a dog bisquit of the same size.
    Jana Rade recently posted…What Happens In The Dog’s Body: Xylitol PoisoningMy Profile

    • Yes, Turkey is a relatively low cal food. Plus it is high protein. You could easily argue that it is a far better ‘treat’ than a biscuit!

  3. Roooo I only got a tiny little piece of turkey, it was sooooo small I don’t think there were any calories in it at all *Waggy tail*
    Alfie – Alfie’s Blog recently posted…The one where Five humans, one Dog and a Big Bird were invited for Dinner #MondayMischiefMy Profile

    • Ah, poor Alfie…well be thankful you didn’t over stuff and get sick!
      mkob recently posted…PetsMove Senior Winners!My Profile

  4. Great info. Someone gave me some chestnuts recently. Those look like one of the highest calorie foods to burn off…lol. We don’t usually give the dogs people food as treats for the holidays. Usually I buy some special treats and that is what we share with them. It is easier to portion control. 🙂
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