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The Best Dog Treats (Review) in 2021

Last Updated June 4, 2021

Whether you are training your doggie, playing with it, or simply want to cuddle up with it, a doggie treat is always a great tool to make your pooch feel appreciated and loved while also learning to associate what it has done to something that is pleasant, positive, and very rewarding. After all, they don’t call it positive reinforcement for nothing. Giving our dogs treats not only has a significant impact on their behavior and their relationship with us. It can also help in the promotion of optimum dental health. And if you’re ready to find out what the 15 best dog treats in the market today are, then hold onto your seats as we’re laying them all out for you.

The Best Dog Treats

1

ZIWI Peak Good Dog Rewards Training Treats

Bursting with flavor (beef, lamb or venison), ZIWI Peak Good Dog Rewards Training Treats are nutritious and delicious. They are made from meat reared on lush pasture in New Zealand and have been handcrafted by a small team of dedicated and skilled operatives.

The artisan baking process uses an air-drying technique to seal in all the flavor and goodness of the natural product. The ancient method of preserving meats is just as effective today as it has always been. The beef used in the treats is totally free range and grass fed and has been reared without antibiotics or growth promoters. Green tripe is added to further improve the taste and aid digestion. The secret ingredient is green mussel which is the latest trending superfood.

Full of flavor

Made with New Zealand beef

Carefully reared beef without antibiotics or growth promoters

Added New Zealand green mussel

Specification:
  • Brand: ZIWI Peak
  • Weight: 3 ounces (other sizes available)

2

Greenies Original Regular Natural Dental Dog Treats

You know you can trust a product that is recommended by veterinarians and accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) and that is what you get with Greenies Original Regular Natural Dental Dog Treats. They are made right here in the US from only natural ingredients. These treats contain vitamins, minerals and loads of other nutrients. Not only are they good for your dog, they also taste delicious making them a useful training treat. The highly soluble ingredients are easy to digest and gentle on your dog’s gut. An added benefit is that they freshen breath and give your pup’s mouth a deep clean – right down to the gum line. This promotes tooth and gum health.

Chewy texture that is great for gum health

Cleans teeth as your dog chews

Delicious minty taste to freshen breath

Packed with vitamins and minerals

Specification:
  • Brand: Greenies
  • Weight: 12 treat bag weighs 12 ounces

3

Considered a best-seller in the dog jerky treats category, the Rocco & Roxie Gourmet Jerky dog chew treats come with 6-inch jerky sticks made of delicious, tender, slow-roasted, and naturally-smoked chicken, turkey, or beef. The ingredients are sourced only from credible and reputable farms and blended only with the same secret family recipe that the company is known for through the years. Each of these healthy dog treats is also guaranteed to never contain artificial ingredients or even allergenic fillers like gluten, soy, and corn. At any rate, your mutt won’t have any issues about having stomach upsets or any other symptom of hypersensitivity. Moreover, the sticks can be easily broken into smaller pieces so a single stick can go a long way towards satisfying your pet’s palate. The unique manufacturing process won’t leave smelly and oily residues on the hands as you feed these treats to your pooch.  Rocco & Roxie promises to deliver only the best jerky treat for today’s dogs and it stands by this promise with a full guarantee.

All-natural, premium quality ingredients

Single protein ingredient formulation

No allergenic fillers and artificial ingredients added

Slow-roasted naturally smoked main ingredient

Non-greasy, non-smelly formulation

Breakable jerky sticks

100% satisfaction guarantee 

Specification:
  • Brand: Rocco & Roxie Supply Co
  • Weight: 1 pounds

4

Full Moon All Natural Human Grade Dog Treats

For owners who like to feed their dog the same quality food that they eat themselves, Full Moon All Natural Human Grade Dog Treats are the obvious choice. All stages of the production of these treats meets USDA standards for human foods.

They are made from wholesome chicken breast muscle to provide 55 percent protein and are delicately flavored with organic cane sugar, vinegar and rosemary extract. Because they are slowly cooked in small batches, the flavor is irresistible to dogs. They contain no corn, wheat or soy and no artificial ingredients.

Made in USDA approved premises

Primary ingredient is chicken breast

55 percent protein

No artificial ingredients

Specification:
  • Brand: Full Moon
  • Weight: 24 ounces (other sizes available)

5

Old Mother Hubbard believes that today’s pooches deserve dog snacks that are prepared with love and passion. That is why they bake their Crunchy Classic using only the finest natural ingredients the company could ever find. What’s more, they have been doing the same thing for the past 9 decades, baking tasty and wholesome recipes for man’s best friend. The formulation is available in different sizes of biscuits and in various flavors, too, so you’ll have plenty of options to treat your mutt with. For instance, its Classic P-Nuttier is filled with rich and creamy peanut butter and mixed with carrots, apples, and molasses before being shaped like a bone to make it a bit more interesting for any pooch. Don’t like peanut butter? How about Bacon and Cheese, then? Or perhaps a combination of eggs and oatmeal should do the trick? Whatever you choose, you can count on getting only the best tasty canine treats for your furry friends. Old Mother Hubbard prides itself on not using any artificial ingredients in their baked goodies. Treats that give you peace of mind for your pet’s health.

Wide selection of flavors and sizes

Made only of the finest, all natural ingredients

No preservatives or man-made ingredients added

9-decade expertise in making premium quality doggie treats 

Specification:
  • Brand: Old Mother Hubbard
  • Model: 10180
  • Weight: 1.25 pounds

6

For those who prefer giving biscuits and similar stuff to their pooches, these natural dog treats from Wellness Natural Pet Food Puppy Bites should fit the bill. If you get its Soft Lamb & Salmon variant, not only are you ensuring a very safe, hypoallergenic protein source, you’re also giving your mutt the chance to improve its nervous system functioning as well as the health of its eyes. This is made possible by the salmon’s natural richness for docosahexaenoic acid or DHA. That said, it should also be rich in EPA for superb anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action, leading to a boost in the immune system as well as optimum coat and skin health. It’s also rich in ALA, another omega-3 fatty acid courtesy of flaxseed. The Puppy Bites stakes its claim as the best treats for puppies by adding the superfoods sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, and carrots into its soft, chewy, puppy-friendly formulation. Like the Rocco & Roxie, the Puppy Bites doesn’t come with allergenic grains, artificial preservatives, and unhealthy fillers. The treats come in puppy-sized bits so there’s no need for breaking them anymore. You get even portions with every treat-giving.

Especially formulated and sized appropriately for puppies

Novel protein ingredients in salmon and lamb variant

DHA, EPA, and ALA enriched

No artificial ingredients, harmful chemicals, and allergenic fillers 

Specification:
  • Brand: Wellness Natural Pet Food
  • Model: 89614
  • Weight: 3.5 pounds

7

Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Meat Dog Treats

Containing no grain or artificial flavors, the Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Meat Dog Treats are a wholesome way for you to treat your dog. There’s a huge variety of flavors so you will always find one that your dog will fall in love with. They contain high levels of protein and meat is always the main ingredient.

Larger dogs will love a whole one but you can break them into two for smaller dogs. There are no grains in the recipe making them suitable for dogs with grain allergies.

Take a look at our Rachael Ray Dog Food Review.

Natural meat treats

Wide range of flavors

Plenty of protein

Can be broken in two for smaller dogs

Specification:
  • Brand: Rachael Ray
  • Weight: 12 ounces (other sizes available)

8

Nudges Natural Dog Treats

Who doesn’t love grilled food? There is no reason for your dog to miss out so you can get them the Nudges Natural Dog Treats Grillers Made with Real Steak. These delicious treats have been inspired by the irresistible taste of grilled meat.

The main ingredient is beef from right here in the US and they are made up of 16 percent protein. You’ll also find chicken and ground rice on the list of ingredients. These treats do not contain any corn, wheat or soy and have no added artificial flavors or preservatives. The good news for owners of dogs with delicate digestions and allergies is that they also do not contain any animal by-products.

Inspired by grilled meats

Beef is the primary ingredient

Plenty of protein

No artificial flavors

Specification:
  • Brand: Nudges
  • Weight: 36 ounces (other sizes available)

9

BLUE Wilderness is best known for creating canine treats and chows using highly novel proteins that are considered to be less allergenic than the usual beef, chicken, and lamb. If you don’t believe us, just look at the flavors they have for their Grain-Free Biscuits Crunchy Dog Treats. They’ve got duck, alligator, salmon and venison, red meat, and turkey. The thinking is that, if you’re afraid of adding gluten and other allergenic grains in your doggie treat, then you should also be able to remove other common sources of allergens such as beef and chicken. This projects a better understanding of what constitutes safer food for pooches. The Crunchy Biscuits feature only the finest, all-natural ingredients without having to resort to the addition of artificial preservatives, coloring, and even flavoring. What your mutt gets are the healthiest dog treats that come in naturally delicious flavors. This BLUE Wilderness product is enriched with omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. But if you get its salmon recipe then you’re not only giving ALA to your pet, you’re also giving them EPA and DHA.

Formulated using only novel, hypoallergenic proteins

Mostly single-ingredient protein formulations

No allergenic grains and fillers

No artificial ingredients and chemicals

Bite-sized pieces 

Specification:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Model: 548
  • Weight: 10.1 ounces

10

If you’re after low-fat dog treats that don’t only taste great but are also fully digestible, then Best Bully Sticks’ Prime Thick-Cut Cow Ear Dog Chews is the one to get. You’ve read that right. These doggie chews are made only of cow ears, sourced from cattle that have been fed exclusively with grass and grown in a free-range style of livestock farming. Adding to its safety profile is its FDA and USDA certification. Each cow ear is meticulously inspected and evaluated by hand before these are eventually minimally processed to become one of the best canine treats for dogs. Technically, it is not just any ordinary treat; it’s a dog chew that can help in promoting healthier dentition and gums in pooches while also giving them fresher breath. And since the Bully Sticks are made of only a single ingredient – that is cow’s ears – then you can feel a lot more secure about its safety. This makes it even easier to digest, too. You don’t even have to worry about its fat content as cow’s ears don’t have high-fat content. The downside? Well, it’s pricier than most. But hey, if you want a safer and healthier alternative to rawhide, then the price is all worth it.

You may also like our Dog Chews Review.

All natural cow’s ears sourced from free-range and grass-fed cattle

USDA and FDA certified safe

Safer and healthier alternative to rawhide

Low fat content

Specification:
  • Brand: Best Bully Sticks
  • Model: FBA_Bes-1362
  • Weight: 1.07 pounds

11

The WellBites makes for exceptional gourmet dog treats primarily for its integration of two meat protein sources in every preparation. It is available in a combination of beef and turkey, lamb and salmon, chicken and venison, turkey and duck, and chicken and lamb giving you amazing versatility in what you’re giving as a delicacy to your pet canine. Each preparation follows the same signature formulation and processing that Wellness Natural Pet Food is known for, using only the finest, natural, and premium quality ingredients sans unhealthy fillers and other ingredients. The superfoods sweet potatoes and blueberries are also added while flaxseed is blended into the mix to give the WellBites an exceptional omega-3 fatty acid profile, although this is more related to its ALA content. If you want a more extensive omega-3 formulation, you might want to stick with its salmon variant as this contains DHA and EPA, too for more health-giving benefits. Regardless, if you’re not happy with your purchase, you can always rely on the Wellness Guarantee to give you a full refund.

2 meat protein source preparation

Free from allergenic grains as well as manmade ingredients

Appropriately sized delicacies for training or positive reinforcement

Enriched with superfoods and essential fatty acids 

Specification:
  • Brand: Wellness Natural Pet Food
  • Model: 89165
  • Weight: 6.6 ounces

12

They don’t call it Soft and Chewy for nothing. Milk-Bone are dog snacks that are not made of milk, let’s get this straight. What it does contain is a premium quality real chicken meal to give it an exceptional protein profile. In case you don’t like giving your doggie chicken, then you can opt for its beef and filet mignon preparation. At any rate, you’ll be giving your furry friend something that it will truly love. The Soft & Chewy biscuits can also be considered as diabetic dog treats for the simple fact that it contains a maximum of 2.5% crude fiber and packed with vitamins and minerals that are known to be important in glucose metabolism and in improving the activity of insulin in the canine body. Of course, these 12 minerals and vitamins are not only crucial in promoting healthy metabolism they can play a huge part in ensuring optimum functioning of the other organs as well.

Packed with 12 minerals and vitamins

Made of premium quality chicken or beef and filet mignon

Designed as an easy-to-feed biscuit

No added preservatives and artificial chemicals 

Specification:
  • Brand: Milk-Bone
  • Model: 00079100036608
  • Weight: 9.38 pounds

13

Zuke’s wants to be known for producing not only tasty and yummy dog snacks but also nutritious and healthy canine treats. Here’s the thing with Zuke’s Superfood Yummy Betas Blend: it doesn’t contain any meat proteins and thus, can be considered a vegetarian version of gourmet dog treats. For example, its Great Greens preparation comes with green beans, spinach, broccoli, peas, kale, asparagus, and cabbage, all known superfoods that are densely packed with nutrients and antioxidants for healthier coats and skin and a substantially improved immune system. It also contains healthy fats and wholesome grains particularly ground oats to supply the Yummy Betas with the much-needed amino acids for tissue-building purposes. Not to worry though as wheat gluten and other allergenic grains have not been included in its preparation so you’ll feel definitely more confident for your doggie’s safety. It’s got 35% moisture, too in each snack so it should be welcome news to pooches that seldom drink.

Quality vegetarian doggie delicacy

Packed with antioxidants and amino acids

Made of select superfoods

Includes wholesome oats 

Specification:
  • Brand: Zuke’S
  • Model: 61055
  • Weight: 0.8 ounces

14

Good'N'Fun Triple Flavored Rawhide Kabobs for Dogs

For a natural treat that dogs simply can’t resist, you cannot do better than Good’N’Fun Triple Flavored Rawhide Kabobs for Dogs. These unique treats are totally delicious and will fulfil your dog’s natural desire to chew – just as they would in the wild. They are made with three different types of meat – chicken, duck and liver. The tasty bites are held together with delicious pork hide and premium raw hide.

Not only are they a great source of protein, the chewing action is also beneficial for your dog’s teeth. 

Unique raw hide combination

Delicious and chewy

Three different meat ingredients

Great source of protein

Specification:
  • Brand: Good n Fun
  • Weight: 24 ounces (other sizes are available)

15

Farmland Traditions Dogs Love Chicken Premium Jerky Treats

Made from chicken raised in the US, Farmland Traditions Dogs Love Chicken Premium Jerky Treats for Dogs even have an antibiotic-free option. They are made from lean chicken breast that has been oven-dried to retain all the flavor and goodness. They are suitable for all breeds but small dogs will require fewer treats.

This training treat is low in fat and calories and has no soy, wheat, corn or fillers. They contain 60 percent protein for muscle development and growth.

Made from chicken reared in the US

Antibiotic-free option

Contains lean chicken breast

Low in fat and calories

Specification:
  • Brand: Farmland
  • Weight: 3 pounds (other sizes available)

16

They say that if it’s from Hill’s Science Diet, then you can only expect a product of the highest possible quality and safety. Especially designed for training purposes as part of your positive reinforcement methodology, the Soft & Chewy Training Treats comes with precision-balanced nutrients using only the highest quality all-natural ingredients. These healthy dog treats are rich in proteins, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins and none of the artificial ingredients that scare a lot of folks. It also includes wholesome healthy grains as well as fruits and veggies in its preparation to really make sure your pooch gets the healthiest snack it could possibly get while training. The Soft & Chewy Training Snacks come in a triangular shape, unlike the more common squarish or even rectangular form. Hill’s Science has the full backing of the scientific community and guarantees the quality and safety of its products, or you get your money back without questions. 

For more information on the brand, check out our Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food Review.

Single ingredient meat protein source preparation

Packed with veggies, fruits, and wholesome grains

Rich with amino acids, minerals, and vitamins

100% money back guarantee

Veterinarian approved and recommended 

Specification:
  • Brand: Hill’s Science Diet
  • Model: 1879
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces

17

Made of peanut butter, chickpeas, and potatoes as well as a handful of other natural ingredients, the Cloud Star Buddy Biscuits wants you to believe that it is the healthiest dog treats for the simple reason that it doesn’t contain animal sources which can be quite allergenic especially beef and chicken. Adding to its hypoallergenic claim is the exclusion of gluten, soy, corn, and wheat from its preparation, ensuring that your mutt’s tummy won’t be upset every time it nibbles on one of these snack bites. The Buddy Biscuits are marketed as low calorie and low-fat snacks for doggies, laying claim that it can be exceptional diabetic dog treats. While it is definitely low-fat, its protein content is quite low, too. Good thing it is only meant as a snack, otherwise, your pooch will be suffering immensely from the Buddy Biscuits’ low protein and low-fat content.

Vegetarian inspired doggie delicacy

Free from gluten, soy, corn, eggs, and wheat

Designed specifically for small breeds, puppies, and senior dogs

Low fat, low-calorie snack 

Specification:
  • Brand: Buddy Biscuits
  • Model: 938046
  • Weight: 5 ounces

18

Milo's Kitchen Dog Treats

If your dog is a huge fan of homemade treats but you don’t have the time to make them, Milo’s Kitchen Dog Treats are the perfect answer. They are made with 100 percent chicken as the primary ingredient giving 20 percent minimum in protein. You will find no artificial colors or flavors in this recipe and no meat by-products which can trigger allergies. Break them up into pieces to feed them to your dog to supplement a balanced diet.

Tastes like homemade treats

Contains real chicken

No artificial colors or flavors

No meat by-products

Specification:
  • Brand: Milo’s Kitchen
  • Weight: 18 ounces (other sizes available)

19

Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Natural Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats

For dogs that prefer a moist training treat, you can’t go wrong with the Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Natural Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats. They come in a range of flavors to suit all canine tastes but the beef option contains pure beef as the primary ingredient.

These delicious bite-sized chunks also contain DHA to support healthy brain development and help your dog’s cognitive abilities. They contain no meat by-products and no red dye so they will not irritate a delicate digestion. The recipe also contains flaxseed to provide omega oils to keep your dog’s coat in the best condition. Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Tender Beef Recipe Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats is one of 10 dog food recipes included in our Blue Buffalo Dog Food Review.

Moist training treats

Packed with protein

Bite-sized chunks

No meat by-products

Specification:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Weight: 19 ounces (other sizes available)

20

Active Chews Hip and Joint Dog Chews
Active Chews Hip and Joint Dog Chews new packaging

If you’ve got an aging mutt or perhaps an adult pooch that is diagnosed with impaired mobility secondary to articular problems, then you might want to start it on the Active Chews’ Premium Hip and Joint canine treats. It contains three of the most useful substances when it comes to articular or joint health: methylsulfonylmethane or MSM, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Technically, this is best classified as a joint health supplement, but its unique formulation that also includes yucca, turmeric, flaxseed, oats, and rice bran means that it can double as dog chew treats, too. We’re just concerned about its chicken as it only comes in the form of natural flavoring and not really chicken meat itself. This somehow strengthens the notion that, while it is labeled as dog treats, it is best classified as a supplement for optimum joint health. You simply cannot use this as a doggie snack for training purposes or as positive reinforcement. For example, you can only give a maximum of 1 chew every day for a pooch that weighs no more than 30 pounds. Nevertheless, dog joint supplements like these should be a welcome addition to your array of doggie chow so you’re better equipped to manage their articular issues. 

Specially formulated for dogs with joint and hip problems

Packed with MSM, chondroitin, turmeric, and glucosamine

Enriched with vitamins and minerals 

Specification:
  • Brand: Active Chews
  • Weight: 1.19 pounds

21

Looking for some super-tasty but natural and healthy treats for your pup? Give Cloud Star Tricky Trainers a try. Made of natural ingredients, with real chicken liver for that amazing taste, these treats are packed with protein (10%) but are not high in calories (3 calories per treat) – delicious and perfect for both training and the occasional indulgence. Because they have a soft and chewy texture, they’re suitable not only for puppies and adult dogs, but seniors too, as munching on these doesn’t require sharp teeth. They’re also quite small in size, which is a plus for small breed dogs. And if you (because we doubt your dog will!) get tired of the liver flavor? No worries, these come in three more delicious tastes: cheddar, salmon, and peanut butter. There’s also the grain-free liver flavor for dogs sensitive to grains.

Made with real chicken liver

Soft, chewy texture – perfect for senior dogs

High in protein but not in calories

No artificial preservatives

Specification:
  • Brand: Cloud Star
  • Model: B0042RMC5I
  • Weight: 14.1 ounces

22

Made of organic, healthy ingredients, the Organix Castor & Pollux Dog Cookies with cheddar cheese flavor are the perfect treats for any young, old, or adult pup. Some of the ingredients found here include organic chicken, peas, brown rice, oats, barley, and flaxseed, which help make each treat high in protein and healthy fats. That said, each treat also contains 8 calories, which can add up if your pup is already overweight. This can easily be avoided if you’re mindful about treat-feeding though. It helps that the treats are crunchy and easy to break, so you can feed half (or even a quarter) a treat instead of a whole one if overfeeding is an issue. Because they’re packed with delicious ingredients, the Organix Castor & Pollux cookies are ideal for training and rewarding good behavior – most dogs go crazy for the cheddar cheese flavor, but if your pup is more of a chicken type, that’s available too.

Made of 95% organic ingredients, including organic chicken

Crunchy and tasty, easy to break

High in protein and healthy fats

No corn, soy, or wheat

No allergenic ingredients or artificial additives of any kind

Specification:
  • Brand: Organix
  • Model: 8212
  • Weight: 1.1 pounds

23

Purina Waggin Train Chicken Jerky Tenders Dog Treats

With just two natural ingredients, chicken and vegetable glycerin, you know exactly what you are giving your dog when you feed them Purina Waggin Train Chicken Jerky Tenders. There are no added artificial colors or flavorings and no corn, wheat or soy making them suitable for dogs who are allergic to these ingredients.

Dogs love the natural flavor and chewy texture that satisfies their natural desire to chew. These treats can be fed as a supplement to a balanced diet according to the size of your dog.

Contains real chicken

Only two natural ingredients

No artificial ingredients

Naturally chewy

Specification:
  • Brand: Purina
  • Weight: 30 ounces (other sizes available)

24

Freeze-Dried Training Treats for Dogs

These Freeze-Dried Training Treats for Dogs are a delicious way to reward your dog for good behavior. They contain just three ingredients – the main ingredient can be chicken, liver, rabbit, salmon or sweet potato. Because each treat is just one calorie, you can use them repeatedly for training sessions. These are classed as high value treats and are sure to get your pup’s attention but are not as messy as carrying fresh meat around with you!

The ingredients provide plenty of protein and have been freeze dried to retain all their goodness. The moisture content is very low so you are only paying for the treat – not extra water!

Three ingredients only

Delicious main ingredients

High protein

High value – perfect for training puppies

Specification:
  • Brand: Pupford
  • Weight: 4 ounces (other sizes available)

25

Pedigree DENTASTIX Treats for Large Dogs

For fresh breath and clean teeth, give your dog these Pedigree DENTASTIX Treats – specially designed for larger dogs. They are clinically proven to prevent the build-up of plaque and keep gums healthy. They contain rice flour and wheat starch as well as a full range of vitamins and minerals.

The protein content is 8 percent and your dog needs just one of these a day to help with dental health. Luckily, dogs love the texture and taste.

You may also like our latest review of Pedigree Dog Food.

Three flavors

Minty flavor for fresh breath

Helps prevent the build-up of plaque

Plenty of vitamins and minerals

Specification:
  • Brand: Pedigree
  • Weight: 2.76 pounds (other sizes available)

Best Dog Treats Buying Guide

Buying a doggie treat should not really be difficult. While we already shared with you 15 of the best dog treats today, you can still look for a more appropriate one for your mutt. Here are some tips to picking the best treat for your pooch.

Always go for products that are manufactured in reputable countries. It is also important to look at the reputation of the company producing it. So, given a US-made and a Chinese-manufactured product, you’ll be better off with a US-made doggie treat.

Check the nutrient content and make sure that there are no added artificial ingredients in it. Also determine if the preparation carries the right proportions of protein, carbs, and fats and even moisture. Most of these preparations will be in dry form so if you’ve got a pooch that rarely drinks, you might want a product that has significantly higher moisture.

As for the presence or absence of gluten and other grains, science has shown that these are actually no more allergenic than chicken and beef. So, if you’re worried about allergenic grains, then make sure you stay away from chicken and beef, too.

Consider the calories of the product. This is very important since you will be making sure that the amount of treats you give will not comprise more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily calories. Otherwise, you risk your dog developing obesity and diabetes.

Choose the type of treat that your mutt will enjoy. Some come in the form of dry kibbles while others are styled like cookies or biscuits. Some also come as meaty treats or jerkies.

Check out our review of Dog Treat Pouches & Bags.

Dog Treats

What to Consider When Buying Treats For Dogs

When it comes to purchasing doggie delicacies, it is imperative that you have a very clear understanding of what you are looking for. Many times, pet owners buy products for their pooches only to feel sorry afterwards simply because the product they bought is not really right for their doggies. To help you avoid making the same mistake, here are some things that you really have to consider whenever you’re out choosing and buying treats for your pooch.

  • Objective or purpose for giving the treat 

The reason for giving a delicacy or a snack to your pooch is also a very important consideration. Understand that there are several types of treats and these can vary depending on their purpose alone.

If you need a canine delicacy specifically for positive reinforcement such as during obedience training or behavioral training, then you may have to get smaller sized bits that are truly flavorful. What you want your mutt to learn is to associate the desirable behavior or the performance of a desired action with something that is pleasurable. If the snack is not palatable or delicious, how can you expect mutts to perform the desired action over and over when what they learn is to associate the doing of the action with something not really delicious? As such, you have to make sure that it really is a “treat”.

If your purpose is to provide supplementation as part of the treatment or management of a particular health condition, for example, hip dysplasia or arthritis, then it is important that you choose something that has more specific ingredients that are specially formulated for the relief of symptoms associated with these conditions. You can look at these more like nutrient or food supplements that need to be taken in measured doses as specified by the manufacturer.

If you want to promote optimum oral and dental health for your mutt, freshen up its breath, prevent the buildup of tartar or plaque, and lower the risk of developing gum diseases, then your choice of a canine treat should be one that is designed specifically for such a purpose. You can look at these as dog chews, but in essence, they are still considered as treats.

These are just three of the more common reasons why you may want to give a treat to your pooch. One of these may be your goal for providing them such products or it may be different altogether. The point is to always consider the purpose of you giving your canine friend such a product.

  • Size of the treat 

This should already be a given. The size of the treat should be commensurate to the size of your mutt’s oral cavity. The good thing is that manufacturers often provide different sizes for a particular preparation so that every life stage is covered. If you have a puppy or a small breed, for example, you’re supposed to get something that is small, too. The same is true if you have a large breed. You will need something that is sufficiently larger to allow them to enjoy the delicacy.

  • Texture of the doggie delicacy 

It is also important to look at the texture of the canine delicacy you’re buying. If you’re buying for a puppy, know that their jaws and teeth are not yet that fully developed and as such won’t really benefit from hard and crunchy bits. What they will need are those that are quite soft and chewy. The chewiness will serve like a toy for them. Senior pooches can also benefit from softer treats especially if they no longer have some of their teeth. On the other hand, larger breeds of dogs, as well as adult pooches, can do well with crunchy ones.

  • Nutritional content 

It goes without saying that the nutrients contained in these products should be commensurate to the nutritional requirements of the breed, size, and age of the pooch. While treats should not constitute more than 10 percent of your mutt’s average daily calorie intake, it is still important to look at the nutrient content of these products.

Again, puppies and senior dogs will require more protein in their delicacies, unless of course the senior dog already has a kidney problem in which a high protein diet is a no-no. Puppies will also require plenty of DHA for brain development while adults and seniors will benefit more from EPA for its anti-inflammatory properties. Carbs should always be minimized and so are fats. Of critical importance is the presence of vitamins and minerals that can help promote more optimum health.

Should I Give My Dog Treats?

Most newcomers to the world of dog ownership often ask about the need to give their pooches a treat. There are actually a variety of reasons why you should give your Fido a treat. We have already covered some of these in the preceding section.

These edible tools are an important part of behavioral training in dogs. They form the reward component in positive reinforcement activities. For example, you are training your mutt to come to you once you call out its name. At first, the treat is used as bait or as a motivator for your mutt to come to you. You can show your open hand with a treat on it so it will be enticed to come to you as you also elicit a verbal or sound cue. Step by step you will be training your pooch to come to you until such time that it learns to associate the sound of a call to the presence of a treat. Eventually, it will already be almost instinctual for it to come to you once you call its name. More than this, however, treats can also stimulate physical activity while also adding variety to their nutrient intake. This can play an important role in their overall development.

As we have already mentioned above, treats can also be used as a more appealing method of addressing their health concerns or even of promoting optimal health and preventing diseases. All of these can be accomplished using these edible materials.

How Often Can I Treat?

There is a rule in the canine world which states that snacks and treats should never constitute more than 10 percent of a mutt’s average caloric intake. For example, if the caloric requirement of a pooch is about 500 calories, then 10% of this is only 50 calories. Knowing that a gram of carbs and proteins is equivalent to 4 calories each and that a gram of fat is worth 9 calories, you can then make the adjustments as to how often you should give your pooch a treat.

Here’s a tip. Always provide the treat in between your dog’s meals. So if your mutt is feeding three times a day at about 165 to 170 calories per feeding, then you can perhaps provide 25 calories worth of treats in between the first and second feeding and between the 2nd and third feeding.

Which Treats Work Best for Training?

Technically, your choices of treats for training purposes is not limited to commercially available products like the ones we have presented here. It can actually be human foods that are considered safe for dogs such as lean chicken breast, turkey, de-seeded apples, or even fresh pineapples. Some would actually recommend cheese sticks as well as hotdogs cut into smaller pieces. If you’re not confident about giving them your food, then you might want to use their ordinary dry kibble. Wet dog food works best as these are often more palatable and delicious than dry kibbles.

Dog Feeding

Do Treats Promote Dental Health?

Some treats can promote dental health especially those that come with nubs or ridges. These help remove tartar or even plaque that may already have begun building in between the gums and teeth. Fruits used as treats can be quite tricky especially those that contain a lot of Vitamin C as these can be too acidic for your pooch’s teeth. As such, if you do decide to give your mutt fruits, then give only in moderation.

My Dog is on a Weight Loss Plan, What Treats Shall I Give it?

If your canine friend happens to be obese and is currently on a weight loss program, it is important to use low calorie treats. This is where fruits and veggies can be really beneficial as these are packed with nutrients yet are low in calories. There are also commercially prepared treats that contain low carbs and low fat. Why low fat? This macronutrient actually packs 9 calories for every gram of it. It is like giving more than 2 grams of either carbs or proteins.

Doggie treats are considered an important component in canine behavioral training where desirable behaviors are rewarded and positively reinforced so that pooches will keep on repeating the desirable action. These can be useful, too, in assisting them to achieve their optimum wellness through increased physical activity and the chance to improve their emotional and social well-being.

However, it is important to recognize that doggie treats should not be viewed as a replacement for a dog’s regular meals. As such, knowing how often and how much you should give to your canine friend as a delicacy is very important. Equally significant is knowing which types of treats will work best with your dog. It is only through adequate knowledge of these things will you be able to fully utilize the many amazing benefits of doggie treats.

Warning: When buying online, always ensure that you are purchasing a legitimate product, as there are many companies that will sell imitation products that can be easily mistaken for the real thing.

Sources:

  1. Krista Williams, BSc, DVM, Dog Treats, VCA
  2. What Should I Know Before Feeding Dog Treats?, RSPCA Australia
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