Pet owners are unwittingly giving their animals treats that contain the same level of calories as junk food like Big Macs and Dunkin Donuts.

Many treats rival the calorie content of popular fast-food items for humans, whose recommended daily calorie intake is far higher, a study out today reveals.

When matched by weight, Dreamies cat treats contain 5 per cent more calories than a Glazed Ring Dunkin Donut, and Bonio dog treats contain approximately 53 per cent more calories than a McDonald’s Big Mac burger.

A properly exercised adult Labrador, one of Britain’s most popular dogs, should take in 1,095 calories a day.

But a Bonio contains 78, some 7 per cent of its daily allowance. This is similar to a KitKat Chunky, which contains 207 calories, or 8 per cent of an adult man’s recommended daily calorie intake.

Direct Line Pet Insurance, which conducted the study, said calorie content was rarely shown on pet food, making it hard for owners to choose healthy treats.

BBC Breakfast show vet Marc Abraham said: ‘Animal obesity is on the rise and, as pet owners, it’s up to us to control how much and what type of food our pets eat.

‘I would be delighted to see calorie information made available on all pet treats and believe it would have a positive impact in helping tackle the country’s growing pet obesity crisis.’

‘Factors like age, breed, level of activity, and whether the animal has been neutered all play a significant role in determining how much to feed your pet, so please seek professional advice if you’re unsure.

‘If your pet is overweight and you still want to reward it for good behaviour, there are plenty of healthy alternatives out there.

‘For example, dogs love carrot sticks, and both dogs and cats love plain cooked chicken; so why not give those a try instead, they’re low in calories and high in nutrients.’

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