Your dog is a very important member of your family and, just like humans, they deserve treats too. Giving your dog a treat can be a great way to bond with them, while letting them know they feel loved and appreciated. Treats are also perfect for giving your dog something positive to associate with their good behavior, especially when used in training as a reward for listening to you or performing a trick. Dog treats can also promote optimum dental health and can be a great tool if your doggo suffers from bad breath.
However, there are so many different dog treats out there today, so how do you know which ones you should be buying? Which ones are healthy and will have positive benefits on their health? Which ones are made from reputable sources? And what flavor should a dog treat be? Looking for dog treats to keep your pooch healthy and happy can sometimes feel quite overwhelming.
Do Your Homework!
You should always go for products that are manufactured in the US and treats where the ingredients come from reputable sources. There are many dog treats out there today that do not come from somewhere reputable, so you can’t always be sure what you are giving your dog. The nutrient content is very important, and you’ll want to stay away from any artificial ingredients. You should look for dog treats that have the correct proportions of protein, carbs and fats for your dog’s size and breed too, preferably with a low calorie count.
This is especially important if you will be using the treats regularly, as you don’t want the calories of the treats to comprise more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake, otherwise they could risk becoming obese or developing health issues.
If your dog is reluctant to drink water, you can look for treats that are moisture infused too, to help them get some of that liquid back in their diet. Some dog owners are cautious of feeding their dog grains as they fear they may be allergic, however, science has actually shown that protein-based products such as beef and chicken are more likely to cause an allergic reaction within dogs, so if you fear your dog is suffering allergy symptoms, you should stay away from these products too. At the end of the day, your dog will have their own preference on the flavor of the treat, so you should determine what they like and the form of the treat too — whether it be dry kibbles, cookies or meat treats.
Below we have put together a buying guide for you, so you can take a closer look at what makes a good dog treat, and what you should be looking for.
What to Consider When Buying Treats for Dogs
When buying treats for your dog, is it important you know what you are looking for. With so many treats out there these days it can be difficult to buy the wrong one, one your dog doesn’t like, or even worse, ones made of low-quality ingredients from questionable sources.
The Purpose of the Treat
The purpose of your giving your dog the treat is an important fact to consider, because different treats can have different benefits. If you are looking for a treat to reward your dog when they listen to you or during obedience training, you will probably be giving your dog multiple treats in one session. Therefore, the treats need to be small, so you are not over-indulging your dog. The treats also need to be flavorsome, because this way your dog will really associate something delicious with good behvaior, and be inclined to do more of it. If the snack is not tasty, then your dog isn’t going to be encouraged to do the trick again and again.
Another purpose of treats can be in the form of a supplement for a health condition, such as hip dysplasia or arthritis. If this is the case, then you’ll want to make sure that the treat you are giving your doggie has the right ingredients and nutrients for their health issues, and is especially formulated to help relieve the side effects.
Bad breath is a common issue within dogs, and dog treats are often a way a dog owner deals with the problem. Dental treats normally come in the form of sticks, and can be chewed on by your dog, relieving their bad breath and effectively cleaning their teeth. They can help with plaque build up and tartar, as well as lowering the risk of gum disease. However, you need to make sure these treats are tasty, otherwise your dog won’t want to eat them and you won’t be able to fix their smelly breath.
The Size of the Treat
The size of the treat directly relates to the size of your dog, so it can fit in their mouth properly. If you have a small dog or a puppy, you will want to give them a smaller treat, where as if you have a large dog, they will want a larger treat so they can really taste it and get all the flavor. Manufacturers often provide different sizes of treats for exactly this reason, so you should be able to find a treat that is right for your dog.
The Texture of the Treat
The texture of the treat you are buying is another important factor, relating to your dog’s age. If you have a puppy, their jaws and teeth will not yet be fully formed and so they will not do too well with hard, crunchy treats. Softer, chewy treats will be easier and safer for them to eat, as well as being like a toy for them. Senior dogs will also benefit from softer treats because their teeth can be brittle and some older dogs do not have all their teeth when they reach a certain age. Larger breeds of dogs and adult dogs, however, will love hard, crunchy treats, so it all depends on your doggo.
The Nutritional Content of the Treat
Nutrients in your dog’s treat should be kept in line with your dog’s breed, size and age, to make sure you are giving them everything they need to live a healthy and happy life. The treats you give your dog should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s calorie intake per day, so it is important to look for the calorie amount on the packet of the treat.
Carbohydrate and fats in treats should be minimized, and there should be a good amount of vitamins and minerals present to help keep your dog at optimum health. Puppies and senior dogs will require more protein than adult dogs, unless your senior dog has a kidney problem, in which case high-protein is not good. DHA is also great for puppies and their brain development, where as EPA is good for adult and senior dogs because of it’s anti-inflammatory purposes.
Should You Give Your Dog Treats?
There are a variety of reasons as to why you should give your dog a treat, many of the reasons we have covered above. Firstly, they can be great for rewarding good behavior in your dog, especially in training within puppies as they begin to associate good behavior with a delicious treat and therefore want to continue performing at their best. Treats can also be great for health conditions within your dog and getting them to take “medication” that they may not want to otherwise.
Treats are super beneficial if your dog has bad breath, or you are worried about dental decay of gum disease within your dog. And, most importantly, treats can be a great way to bond with your dog and show them they are loved and appreciated.
So the answer is yes — but in moderation. Remember to look for treats that have a high nutritional value, and never give your dog too many treats at a time. Not only do they run the risk of becoming obese, but it also reduces the rewarding effect of your dog getting a treat when they do something good.
If you’re ready to find the best treat for your dog, take a look at the treats we recommend to you on Amazon below. We know your dog will love them!
The Best Dog Treats
These Milk-Bone MaroSnacks combine the crunchy texture of a biscuit with the delicious taste of real bone marrow, giving your dog a tasty treat. These treats are wholesome and nutritious and made with real calcium, helping to maintain your dog’s strong teeth and bones. Produced in Buffalo, USA, you can be sure that these ingredients come from a reputable source and are safe to be feeding to your doggo. Perfect for all size dogs, the manufacturer recommends you give 1-5 treats a day, as part of your dog’s regular diet.
As a guide, you allow 1 biscuit per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight and always remember to check the calorie count against your dog’s size. These treats also come in different sizes, as well as jars for large dogs.
These dog treats from Greenies are in the Teenie range, meaning they are designed for smaller dogs weighing between 5-15 lbs. These treats are dental treats for your dog, helping to minimize bad breath and recuse the risk of any health problems such as gum disease or plaque build up. The unique shape of these treats gives your dog something to chew on, while they clean down to the gumline to fight plaque and tartar and freshen breath. Made with natural ingredients as well as vitamins and minerals, these nutritious treats provide a balanced recipe.
They are also made in the USA, so you don’t need to be worried about any unusual or unsafe ingredients. The highly soluble ingredients are easy to digest too, perfect for your small dog. These are vet recommended and also come in other sizes, perfect for larger dogs and dogs at different life stages.
These soft and chewy treats from Zuke’s are made with real chicken as the main ingredient, providing a great source of protein and nutrition while still being tasty enough to be a special treat for your doggo. With less than 3 calories per treat, Zuke’s Mini Naturals are ideal for use as training treats, and their small size means they are perfect as a small breed dog treats and not too big for their mouths. These natural dog treats feature cherries and turmeric to help maintain a healthy lifestyle, and there is no corn, wheat or soy and also no artificial colors or flavors.
They are precisely formulated to maximize absorption and bioavailability, meaning they are extremely nutritious and beneficial to your dog’s health. Even better, they are made in the USA so you can buy with confidence that they are of high-quality. They also come in different flavors, including duck, pork, rabbit, salmon and peanut butter and oats.
With USA beef as the number one ingredient, these Nudges Steak Grillers dog treats give your canine friend something extremely delicious to munch on. With tastes of grilled food, your dog can enjoy that summer flavor all year round, made with all-natural products and no corn, wheat, soy or artificial colors or flavors. These treats are quite large and are therefore perfect for larger dogs, however they can be torn very easily into smaller pieces, so even the littlest dogs can enjoy the great taste offered in these treats.
These dog treats are only intended to be a supplement alongside your dog’s regular food and are great for teaching and obedience training. They are made in the USA from reliable sources with reliable ingredients.
Much like the Greenies dental dog treats above, these treats are designed to help your dog with bad breath, while also preventing health problems such as tartar build up and gum disease. These specific treats are made for dogs of adult size between 25-50 lbs, and are great for them to chew on. As your canine chews on these, the treat cleans down to the gumline to fight plaque and tartar and freshen bad dog breath. The ridges in the treat help to scrub the teeth clean too, leaving them looking and smelling much better.
These treats are vet recommended and are made with natural, easy-to-digest ingredients and are nutritionally complete, with vitamins and minerals and a balanced recipe. They are also made in the USA from trusted sources. You can give your dog the treats every day to hep maintain good dental hygiene. They also come in other sizes for different sized dogs.
These Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats are made from only natural ingredients, such as turkey, potato and flaxseed. There is no grain present in these dog treats, making them perfect if you suspect your dog has a grain allergy. As a crunchy treat, these pet treats are great for adult dogs, especially if you are obedience training or need to give your dog a reward of some sort. There are no poultry by-product meals present in this treat, nor are there any artificial colors, preservatives or flavors.
With high-protein, these are not only nutritious treats but they are also tasty, making sure your dog understands that if they do something good, they get something that tastes good too! There are 41 calories per treat, meaning these should be used only as a supplement to your dog’s regular food. They are also available in four other flavors — bison, red meat, duck and salmon.
Zesty Paws Calming Bites are turkey flavored chewable supplements with natural and organic ingredients that help dogs with nervous, anxious, or aggressive behavior feel calm and comfortable. Perfect for dogs with hyperactive and aggressive behavior, these treats can give anxiety-relief for a thunderstorm, fireworks, car rides or separation anxiety. These calming treats contain 30mg of suntheanine per chew, which is a pure and GRAS-designated form of L-theanine that helps to stimulate brain waves to promote relaxation without giving your dog any kind of a drowsy effect.
The treats also contain thiamine and organic chamomile, which act as a relaxer to reduce jumping, biting and barking, organic ginger root, L-tryptophan and organic passion flower to help minimize outbursts, and valerian root that can help to reduce scratching, restlessness, paw licking and chewing. This treat is made from a grain-free formula and there are no artificial colors or flavors present. They also come in peanut butter flavor.
These freeze-dried dog treats by Stewart are made of one ingredient only — 100% pure beef liver — making them extremely nutritious and safe for your dog to eat. Vet-recommended, these treats are sourced and produced in the US, and with only one ingredient, you know your dog isn’t eating anything of low-quality. They are also high in protein, something your dog needs to keep their muscles strong and lean. Without any added flavorings, these treats are very delicious and are a preferred treat of pro-trainers, giving your dog something they want to keep behaving for.
The blue bucket these treats come in helps to keep the treats fresh, meaning they’ll last you a long time even if you aren’t giving them to your dog every day. These dog treats also come in seven different flavors — salmon, chicken breast, chicken liver, duck liver, lamb liver, turkey liver and cheddar cheese — so your dog can choose their favorite flavor!
The Good’N’Fun Rawhide Kabobs dog treats are made from premium chicken, wholesome duck and hearty liver and so, while giving your dog great a taste they will love, these treats are also packed with protein to keep their muscles strong and lean. The unique kabob shape of these treats provides long-lasting entertainment for your dog, helping them to slow down while eating their treat so they don’t eat it too quickly. The natural chewing action that occurs around the shape of the treat also helps reduce tartar build up, while also being a healthy way to satisfy your pup’s urge to chew.
Manufactured under strict food safety guidelines, you can be sure your doggo is eating only the best, most trusted ingredients. Perfect for all sized dogs, these treats come in different pack quantities, depending on how quickly your canine eats them!
The PREMIUM CARE Calming Treats for dogs can help to calm many different dog-related anxieties, including separation anxiety, weather-related anxiety, nervous behavior and hyperactive behavior. Flavored in a tasty duck, these treats are made with natural ingredients like organic passion flower, chamomile, valerian root, L-tryptophan and organic ginger root, as well as organic hemp. These calming treats work to relieve certain symptoms of anxiety, such as excessive scratching, barking, chewing, licking and salivating.
Organic chamomile is also included in the recipe, acing as a relaxer that can help reduce jumping and biting from dogs that display aggressive behavior. These soft chews are perfect for any size of mouth and for any life stage, and without any added fillers such as corn, dairy, soy and artificial colors and ingredients, you know you are giving your dog high-quality nutrition. The pack of treats have fewer fillers and more active ingredients, meaning you will give your dog less and they will last longer so you get more for your money.
These 100% natural Chik ‘n Skewers from Pet ‘n Shape are made with chicken breast wound around a savory rawhide chew, making these not only tasty for your pup but also chewy and fun to eat. Chicken breast is a great source of lean protein and you can rest assured that your pooch is getting a healthy snack. Because they’re chewy, these treats are great for dogs of all ages and the shape makes them exciting and a great size for a reward when training.
The ingredients are lab tested in the US to ensure they are of high-quality, and this treat is made without artificial additives, colors or preservatives and contains no wheat, corn, and soy. The tub is great for storage — it is resealable so not only locks in the flavor and keeps them fresh, but is also difficult for your dog to get into if they are liable to want a midnight snack! These chicken skewers are also available in a duck flavor.
Pawfectchow’s Calming Hemp Treats are a must-have if your dog suffers from anxiety and stress, relieving symptoms such as growling, barking, scratching, chewing, licking and uncontrolled urination. They are great for many situations that may make your dog feel uneasy, including separation, car rides, thunderstorms and fireworks. These calming pet treats can also be used if your dog suffers from aggressive or hyperactive behavior, such as running when in an unfamiliar surrounding or in a stressful situation (like visiting the vet, for example).
Formulated with five different extracts and powdered ingredients including hemp oil, chamomile and passion flower extracts, these treats are effective but more importantly a safe and healthy supplement for your doggo. Also included in these treats are natural duck and chicken flavoring, giving your dog a taste they will love. Perfect for dogs of all breeds and all sizes, there are no chemical relaxants or sedatives in this formula. Made in the US, with US grown and processed ingredients, there is no sugar, dairy, corn or soy-derived products in this treat, and no hormones or artificial flavorings or preservatives.
These fish oil chews from Active Chews contains a unique blend of sardines, anchovies, herring and mackerel, creating a potent and delicious chew your dog will love. Perfect for dogs with skin conditions, these chews help to treat itchy skin, flaking and hot spots, while developing a stronger immune system, healthier brain and heart within your doggo. The fish oil contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat. Also included in this blend is biotin, helping to maintain steady blood sugar levels and supporting your dog’s nervous system, as well as vitamin E and C that provide antioxidants for the body and protect heart and eye heath.
In addition to the fish oil, this formula uses a natural chicken flavor that your dog won’t be able to resist. Dogs will love the taste and texture of these healthy dog treats and you’ll know that your best friend is getting the vital dog supplements for skin, brain, and immune health they need for a better quality of life. These treats are not baked so they contain all their goodness and potency, and the resealable tin means they stay fresher for longer. They are perfect for all dogs of any size and breed, and you can give them a set number of chew depending on their weight, as laid out on the packet.
These Hill’s dog treats are flavored beef and sweet potatoes and made from real beef, without any grains. Designed for adult dogs and perfect if your dog has a grain allergy, these soft-baked chewy treats are great for training as they provide a healthy, nutritious snack while still being tasty. Also a great supplement to your dog’s regular diet, the beef in these treats gives your dog great protein, essential for maintaining lean muscles, and, made without corn, wheat or soy and contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, you know your dog is eating only the best, most nutritious ingredients.
Made in the USA with ingredients you can trust, both you and your dog will love these treats. There are different flavors for your canine to try too, including chicken and carrots and duck and pumpkin — or you can buy a variety pack!
The Classic Assortment from Old Mother Hubbard is a selection of different flavored dog treat biscuits, in the shape of bones and small enough for every pup to enjoy. Flavoured original, chicken, cheddar and char tar, these treats are perfect for every day snacks, as well as being the perfect size for training and rewards. These dog biscuits are full of all-natural ingredients and natural flavors, with a natural crunch that your dog will love. Each biscuit is full with the highest quality fruits, veggies and proteins, giving your doggo the all-round nutrition they need even in a special, tasty treat.
These healthy treats are slowly oven-baked to preserve the natural flavors and they are made with the most trusted ingredients. They are available in three sizes — mini, small and large — for dogs of all sizes and there is a wide range of flavors to choose from, especially great if your pup is a fan of a certain flavor more than another.
With this five pack of Soft & Chewy bites from Wellness Wellbites, your dog gets the luxury of trying out all the flavors — beef and turkey, chicken and lamb, chicken and venison, lamb and salmon and turkey and duck. With two kinds of fresh meat in each flavor, these bites are not only moist but contain protein that helps your dog’s muscles stay strong and lean. Also included in the bites are fruits and vegetables, such as apples, sweet potatoes and blueberries, so your canine friend is getting well-rounded nutrition, even when they’re eating a treat.
Perfect for training or just showing your dog you love them, these treats are grain-free and contain no corn or soy or artificial colors or flavors. These treats are available to buy individually too, so if your dog likes one flavor more than another then you can satisfy their taste buds.
These high-protein Best Bully Sticks are made from high-quality, free-range, grass-fed beef and being only a single-ingredient dog chew, they are fully digestible and a healthy for your pup. These dog chews never splinter and are very safe for your pet, and, being completely natural, they have a great taste and scent that your dog will go crazy for. These dental chew sticks are designed to scrape away tartar and plaque from the gumline through chewing action, perfect if your dog suffers from bad breath or you are worried about the issue of gum disease. These sticks are durable and long-lasting, meaning your dog won’t eat them whole immediately.
Without any additives, hormones or unhealthy chemicals, you know you are feeding your dog only the best. There are four different levels of chew — light, medium, hard and power, so you can choose based on your dog’s age, size and dental health. Light is best for puppies and those with weaker teeth and jaws, where as power is great for those who have stronger mouths and want something to really chew on.
These Probiotic Jerky treats from In Motion combine the health benefits of probiotics with lean protein and antioxidants from all natural non-GMO sweet potato and USDA chicken breast. The protein-rich chicken breast is naturally low in fat and helps to strengthen your dogs muscles, while the sweet potato can help reduce the risk of some cancers and helps protect against heart disease. These probiotics strengthen your dog’s immune system and improve digestion so they feel both happy and healthy, and the great taste of this treat gives them something they’ll love to chew on.
These delicious dog treats are made in the USA with human-grade ingredients, so you can be sure you’re giving your dog only the best. Based on your dog’s size you can give them up to four of these treats a day, perfect for training purposes or just because you love them!
Zuke’s Lil’ Links dog treats are made with real chicken as the number one ingredient, making a tasty treat that is perfect for rewarding good behavior. Also made with wholefood fruits and veggies and seasoned with savoury herbs such as turmeric and sage, your dog is getting a well-rounded treat that goes right alongside their every day diet. There are no mystery meats, no poultry byproducts, no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and no grains, so perfect if you think your dog might have a grain allergy.
This meaty treat has a flavor your dog will crave, and the size and texture means they can easily be broken in half if you think one treat is too much for your dog’s mouth. This means every dog can enjoy these treats no matter their size. These Lil’ Links are crafted in the USA, so you can buy with confidence that they are safe.
These Cloud Star Chewy Tricky Trainers come in cheddar, salmon and liver flavors for a delicious treat that is the perfect size for training your dog. Because they are small they are not only great for small dogs and fit in your hand easily, but they are great to give frequently to your dog too, making them perfect if you are trying to teach your dog a new trick. There is no corn, soy or wheat in these treats and there are less than two calories per treat, too.
They are fully nutritious and made in the USA, so you can be confident that your dog is eating the best, safest ingredients. They also don’t crumble or fall apart like some dog biscuits, and are soft and chewy and therefore gentle on all dog’s jaws, making them a great treat for even puppies and senior dogs.
Dog Treats FAQ’s
How often can I give my dog treats?
As mentioned above, there is a general rule that canine treats should not constitute more than 10% of a dog’s daily calorie intake. So if your dog needs 500 calories a day, then 10% of this is 50 calories. A gram of carbohydrates and protein is equivalent to 4 calories each and a gram of fats is equivalent to 9 calories. From this, you can then work out how many treats to be giving your dog each day. It is worth pointing out that you should give your pet treats in-between meal times. This also means that you can spread the calories out over a day, giving a certain amount between each meal.
Which treats are best for training?
There are so many treats out there designed for training dogs that it will be up to you and your dog’s preference as to what works well. However, treats for training don’t need to be limited to packeted treats from manufacturers — human food such as chicken breast or fruit and vegetables can work just as well. If this doesn’t work for you, then you can also give your dog some of their dry kibble as a treat. Wet dog food works well too, because it is generally more tasty than dry food.
Do treats promote dental health?
We touched on this above and yes, dog treats can certainly promote dental health if you choose the right ones. There are certain treats that are designed to help dogs with bad breath, as well as stopping plaque and tartar build up and preventing gum disease. These treats normally come in the form of a stick that your dog can gnaw on, and they can come with nubs and ridges that help to scrub your dog’s teeth as they eat it.
My dog is on a weight loss plan, what treats should I give them?
If your dog is overweight and currently on a weight loss plan, it is important to feed them treats low in calories. Cutting treats out of their diet completely can be a bit boring and unfair on them, so you just have to be cautious of the nutritional value of the treat you are giving them.
Healthy dog treats can actually be a great way to get your obese dog doing some exercise — if you can get them to run in the park or chase something repeatedly with the promise a treat will be waiting for them when they come back to you, they will be keeping active and losing weight. Remember, you should never consider dog treats as something to replace your canine’s regular meal, as this can become very unhealthy.
Dog treats can be a perfect way to bond with your dog and show them how much you love them and how valued they are. They are also perfect for obedience training, helping your dog to understand that if they do something good or behave well, there will be a tasty treat waiting for them. Dog treats can be beneficial for health issues, giving your canine extra nutrition in between their regular meals, as well as helping with their dental issues and preventing problems such as decay or gum disease.
Always remember to feed your dog treats in moderation, so they understand it is a reward and something special. Take into consideration what your dog likes and dislikes when choosing a treat and, with the wide range of treats we recommend on Amazon listed above, we know you can find the perfect treat your doggo will love that’ll keep them healthy and happy.