Content continues after advertisement

Research Note: Treats & Owner Psychology

Sign in to Print/View PDF

The objective of this study was to examine owner attitudes and views about treats, with a focus on owner perceptions and motivations for feeding treats. In response to researcher-mediated questionnaires, pet owners (n = 280) almost unanimously viewed the word treat within a nutritional context as opposed to as a toy or reward. Most (96%) owners fed treats, with 69% feeding store-bought treats on a daily basis. Most owners fed multiple types of treats, with dog biscuits and chews predominating.

Many views, both positive and negative, regarding the feeding of treats as beneficial and as a contributor to weight gain were expressed. Nearly three-quarters of owners considered treats to be an additional component to their dog’s diet; however, only a minority made adjustments to their pet’s meal intake. Owners cited such reasons for giving treats as providing essential variety in the diet, rewarding good behavior, or keeping their pet happy.

These views demonstrate the complex and multifactorial roles that pets have in society, with many owners equating their pet with a friend or child. The authors concluded that more research is needed to understand pet owner psychology regarding provision of treats, especially as it relates to the rise in pet obesity.


For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

All Clinician's Brief content is reviewed for accuracy at the time of publication. Previously published content may not reflect recent developments in research and practice.

Material from Clinician's Brief may not be reproduced, distributed, or used in whole or in part without prior permission of Educational Concepts, LLC. For questions or inquiries please contact us.


Clinician's Brief:
The Podcast
Listen as host Alyssa Watson, DVM, talks with the authors of your favorite Clinician’s Brief articles. Dig deeper and explore the conversations behind the content here.
Clinician's Brief provides relevant diagnostic and treatment information for small animal practitioners. It has been ranked the #1 most essential publication by small animal veterinarians for 9 years.*

*2007-2017 PERQ and Essential Media Studies

© 2023 Educational Concepts, L.L.C. dba Brief Media ™ All Rights Reserved. Terms & Conditions | DMCA Copyright | Privacy Policy | Acceptable Use Policy