- The Best Dog Treats
- 1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Denali Biscuits
- 2. Natural Balance L.I.T.
- 3. Wellness Puppy Soft Bites
- 4. Crazy Dog Train-Me!
- 5. Fruitables Skinny Minis
- 6. Hill’s Grain Soft-baked Naturals
- 7. Nutro Crunchy Treats
- 8. Blue Dog Bakery Dog Treats
- 9. Natural Balance Mini Rewards
- 10. Blue Buffalo Blue Bits
- 11. Canidae Grain Free Pure Heaven
- 12. Cesar Softies Medley Trio
- 13. Ziwi Peak Good Dog Rewards
- 14. Stella & Chewy’s Carnivore Crunch
- 15. Greenies Original Dental Treats
Everyone deserves a little treat from time to time, and this is certainly true of your four-legged friend as well. Whether you are trying to teach your dog a new trick and are looking for something tasty but healthy to reward them, or you’re after the most delicious, indulgent treat to brighten up their day and spoil them a little, you’re guaranteed to find it here. We hand-picked some of the best dog treats currently on the market, including the ultra nutritious everyday treats and those specially designed for training purposes, so read on to find the right ones for your pup!
The Best Dog Treats
Protein-rich crunchy biscuits
Salmon, venison and halibut
No corn, wheat or soy
Grain-free and without artificial flavors and preservatives
Made with wild salmon, venison, and halibut, these dog treats are simple but highly nutritious, as well as entirely free of grains and poultry by-products. This makes them perfect for practically all dogs but especially pups with various food sensitivities and digestive issues.
One of the main traits of BLUE Wilderness is that their food is always packed with plenty of protein, and these treats are no exception. Inspired by the survivalist spirit of the wolf, they’re made with natural and delicious ingredients and are guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest of pooches.
Sweet potato and fish recipe
Great for dogs with sensitive stomachs
Canola oil for healthy skin and coat
Limited protein and carb sources
Sensitive pooches deserve their own treats too! Made with a limited number of simple and healthy ingredients, Natural Balance L.I.T. won’t irritate your pup’s gentle digestion; instead, they’ll boost their energy and improve their skin and coat health.
The texture of the treats is crunchy, and they are suitable for all life stages between puppy and adult canines. As well as supporting digestive health, they are also the ideal size to be used during training as rewards for good behavior.
Ideal treat for training
Lamb and salmon recipe
Soft and chewy for puppies
Free of grains and artificial additives
Created with dog training in mind, these treats are perfectly sized to not fill up your pooch too much. Made from premium lamb and salmon, their texture is soft and chewy, which is ideal for young pups whose teeth are still developing.
Free from grains and meat by-products, but packed with superfoods like blueberries and sweet potatoes, these treats won’t upset your puppy’s tummy but will instead help strengthen their immune system.
Low fat and low calories
Meat is the primary ingredient
Made for puppies and small dogs
Ideal for training purposes
Containing only 1 ½ calories per treat, these are a great option if your pup needs some help in the weight management department. There are around 200 treats in each and every bag, so it should last quite a while. There are also several different flavors available, so finding something your pupper likes best should be no issue.
That said, our favorite flavors are chicken and salmon as they’re super-delicious plus healthy. Meat is the number one ingredient in every recipe though, and every bag is free from harmful preservatives such as BHA, BHY, or Ethoxyquin.
Combination of great taste, aroma, and texture
Bacon and apple flavor
Chewy, grain-free treats
Only two calories each
A highly-rated brand of dog treats, these ones come in a mini size which makes them best-suited for smaller dogs and pups in training. Fusing the flavors of apple and bacon, they come with an irresistible aroma and delicious taste that is sure to please.
Each treat contains only two calories, so you don’t have to worry about overfeeding your four-legged friend. As a nice bonus, the packaging is resealable so you can keep the treats fresh for flavor purposes.
Made with duck and pumpkin
No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
Soft-baked for easy snacking
Grain-free but fiber-rich for gentle digestion
Made with a blend of duck and pumpkin, these treats are soft-baked for your dog to really get their teeth into. As well as being grain-free, they are also made without soy and artificial additives so you can rest assured that they are not going to flare up your dog’s digestive issues.
These chewy treats are a great supplementary part of any dog’s diet as they’re natural and quite nutritious. However, they’re not ideal for overweight pooches as each treat contains 11 calories.
Made with antioxidant-rich berries
Rich in nutrients and full of flavor
Natural, with zero artificial additives
Packed with protein and made using real berries including blueberries and cranberries, these crunchy dog treats are both tasty and healthy. Each treat contains only five calories, so they are a great option for training.
The ingredients are wholesome and high-quality, and there are no unwanted extras included such as artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Also, there is no soy, corn, or wheat protein, making these treats ideal for sensitive pooches.
Contains four different flavors
No animal by-products, artificial preservatives, colors or flavors
100% pure and natural ingredients used
Crunchy texture for improved dental hygiene
If you want to stock up on plenty of tasty treats for your four-legged friend, we highly recommend Blue Dog Bakery as it comes in six boxes of crunchy, delicious treats. Several different flavors are included to please even the fussiest of pooches out there, including grilled chicken, bacon and cheese, and more.
The treats are made of natural ingredients and are low in fat, which is always a nice plus. As for the texture, it’s super-crunchy, meaning ideal for promoting healthy teeth and gums, as well as freshening up your dog’s breath.
Limited ingredient treats
Five calories or less per treat
Meaty taste and chewy texture
Suitable for all breeds in all life stages
For many dog owners, making sure that their pup doesn’t pile on too much weight is one of their most important concerns. If this is you, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Natural Balance treats contain less than five calories each, making them ideal for training purposes.
Dogs that love treats with meaty taste and chewy, soft texture will find these irresistible despite them being very simple and limited in ingredients. As a nice bonus, the treats are suitable for dogs of all breeds and ages – perfect for multi-dog households!
Made with U.S.A. beef
Suitable for dogs in all life stages
Formulated with DHA
Soft, moist, and tasty flavor
Made with U.S. high-quality beef, these soft, moist dog treats by Blue Buffalo make for brilliant training aids. With about 4 calories per treat, they’re a good option for all dogs, even chubby pups.
These are formulated with plenty of DHA, which studies show support the cognitive development of puppies and young dogs, so we wholeheartedly recommend them to young pups in training. That said, they’re so tasty and healthy that practically any dog would benefit from eating them!
Salmon and sweet potato recipe
Contains fiber-rich quinoa
Crunchy texture for healthy teeth
Made using a combination of salmon and sweet potato, these treats are delicious plus rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids – a combo that not only supports muscle maintenance but joint health too. They’re also quite crunchy in texture to help clean your pupper’s teeth, which is always a nice plus.
Because they’re pretty large, you can snap them up into different sizes depending on how big a pup you own. The packaging is a resealable pouch, which helps to keep the treats at their freshest and most flavorsome.
Three different flavors for variety
Seven calories per treat
Bite-sized for small breed dogs
Soft texture for easy chewing
Looking for super-tasty dog treats? Check out Cesar’s Softies as they’re packed with aroma and flavor that pooches go wild for. The Trio Medley recipe is our favorite as it features three different flavors (porterhouse, chicken, and bacon), although you can’t go wrong with either of their formulas.
Perfect for smaller pups, these bite-sized treats contain around seven calories each, making them great for training. As for the texture, it is soft enough even for puppies as well as seniors.
Made with free-range and grass-fed venison
96% meat formula
4.7 calories in each treat
Free from grains and artificial additives
Made with top-quality animal ingredients first and foremost, plus a few nutritious plants, Ziwi Peak Good Dog Treats are not only finger-licking delicious but also incredibly nutritious and good for your dog.
There are less than five calories in each piece, so they’re excellent for both training purposes and as a daily indulgence. The packaging is easily resealable which helps the treats retain their freshness for as long as you use them.
Includes 98% raw, grass-fed beef, organs and bone
Packed with high-quality protein for muscle support
Free of added hormones and antibiotics
No grains, artificial additives, salt or sugar
If you’re looking for both healthy and delicious treats for your pupper, we highly recommend Stella & Chewy’s Carnivore Crunch. Made of grass-fed beef meat, nutrient-packed organs, and bone, these protein-rich treats are guaranteed to boost your dog’s physical strength and performance.
With less than three calories in each, they make a great training aid to encourage your furry friend to continue showing good behavior. They’re also ideal for sensitive pups as they contain a single protein source and no grains or additives (not even added salt!).
Naturally complete treats
Unique chewy texture fights plaque
Accepted by the VOHC
Perfect size for small and toy breeds
Made with natural ingredients and fortified with vitamins and minerals, these uniquely chewy dental treats will not only give your pup cleaner teeth and fresher breath, but will also boost their overall health. Unlike many dental dog treats, these ones are accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council, so they’re guaranteed to fight plaque and tartar buildup.
As the name suggests, the Teenie treats are quite tiny – perfect for small and toy breeds, as well as puppies who like their treats delicious and chewy. Needless to say, these are natural treats, so free from all artificial additives!
Best Dog Treats Buying Guide & FAQ
And there you have it – 15 delicious and nutritious treats that are sure to please even the pickiest of pooches. Still not sure which ones to get for your furry friend? Not to worry because our buying guide contains everything you need to know on dog treats, including how to pick the right ones for your pup, how to use them effectively in training, and more!
What to Look For in Dog Treats
There are plenty of features that separate good-quality treats from their low-quality counterparts. Look out for some of the things below to help you to make the right choice.
- Quality Proteins
Dogs should have plenty of protein in their diet, and while healthy dog treats are supposed to form a supplementary part of their eating, it is still a good idea to make sure that they are protein-rich. Another thing to look out for is the source of the protein. Animal-based protein sources are always going to be best, so look out for real meat and organs. Puppy treats should be especially packed with protein, as growing dogs need more of this important macronutrient to properly develop. The same goes for senior dogs unless your veterinarian has advised you otherwise due to a pre-existing health condition.
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- Nutritional Content
The healthiest dog treats offer many nutritional benefits, so it is important that you choose the right ones. We have already mentioned the benefits of high protein content, but carbohydrates and fats should be minimized. Extra vitamins and minerals can play a big role in making sure that your dog stays in good health. Look out for so-called superfoods or antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Whole grains are often good if your dog doesn’t suffer from any kind of sensitivities, while healthy fats such as fish oil can also provide supplementary nutritional content.
- Calorie Content
On average, pet treats should constitute no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Most of the time, the calorie content of each individual treat is listed on the packaging, so you can add this to your calculations of how much to give them. If you feel the need to reduce the amount of regular food that you are serving, you can adjust the ratios accordingly.
- Artificial Additives
Dog biscuits are a long-lasting food that needs preservatives to maintain their long shelf life. However, you don’t want your dog’s food to contain harmful ingredients. For example, some dog food contains natural preservatives rather than artificial ingredients such as BHA and BHT, which some studies have shown to be harmful for some dogs. You should also try to look for products that contain no artificial colors or flavors if your pup is of sensitive health.
If your dog suffers from any allergies, you don’t want to risk giving them any food that is going to cause flare-ups. Many owners are looking for food that is grain and gluten-free these days, but this is not necessary unless you know for a fact that your pup is sensitive or allergic to grains. If you are not sure whether your dog is allergic to certain ingredients or not, limited ingredient food is best as this will give you a better indication of what is causing the issue. Consult with your vet to get more advice regarding your dog’s nutrition.
- What the Treat is Intended for
The reasons why you want to give your dog treats should impact your decision-making process. For example, if you are looking for something to be used in obedience or behavioral training, small and flavorsome treats are highly recommended. If the treats are not tasty enough, your pup may not associate the good behavior with something pleasurable, so the positive reinforcement will not have the desired impact.
Alternatively, you could be looking for healthy dog treats made from organic ingredients, which are more beneficial to your dog's health. Perhaps your pet needs more of a particular vitamin or nutrient in their diet, and healthy dog treats can provide this. For instance, if your older pooch could use some help in the joint health department, it's better to focus on ingredients like omega fatty acids and glucosamine instead of taste alone.
Related Post: Vegan Dog Treats
Another reason why you may want to give your pup a dog treat is to improve their oral health. Some good dog treats are specially designed to reduce tartar and plaque build-up, while others lower the risk of gum disease. The act of chewing on crunchy treats is something that has been shown to be beneficial, so take your time to choose a treat that your dog can really get their teeth stuck into.
- Treat Size
The next point to consider is the size of the dog treat. A puppy will obviously need a smaller treat than a full-sized dog or a senior. Likewise, larger breeds of dog will also need something a little bigger than smaller pooches, otherwise, they could end up swallowing the treat without having the opportunity to enjoy it. Some manufacturers give you some guidance on what size dog their treats are suitable for, and this is information that is always worth taking into account.
- Treat Texture
The texture of the dog treat should also play a part in helping you to make your mind up. If you are buying puppy treats, you need to bear in mind that their teeth and jaws are not fully developed. As such, anything that is too hard and crunchy will not be beneficial. The best treats for puppies are generally softer, just as they are for senior dogs who are struggling with weak teeth. However, larger breeds with tougher jaws and stronger chewing habits tend to do better on crunchy treats, as do dogs in need of some oral health help.
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- Production, Location, and Brand
Another point which is worth considering is where the product is manufactured. Bear in mind that treats made in the US are generally produced with stricter guidelines and a higher level of supervision compared to those in other countries. It is also a good idea to do some research into the brand and company background to see how trustworthy it is. Just as you look at what goes into your own food, the same should apply to the chow of your canine companion.
The Benefits of Dog Training Treats
Looking to find out more on the benefits of dog treats? Read on!
- Invaluable Training Tool
For the purposes of training your dog, treats can prove to be a highly useful tool. The vast majority of dogs are very motivated by food, so you can use them to teach your pooch good behavior or to get them to perform some tricks. As mentioned earlier, the best motivational tools are those treats that your dog adores but doesn’t get very often. Regular treats can also work, but they may not provide quite the same level of incentive. Save the premium treats when your dog deserves a special reward and they are less likely to lose their appeal.
- Discourages Bad Behavior
Dogs have a natural instinct to chew, and if you don’t provide them with something to get their teeth stuck into, it is more than likely that your treasured possessions are going to bear the brunt of their attention! Give them some dog treats of the chewy or crunchy variety and they will bite on this instead, which is much better than seeing your new pair of shoes torn to shreds!
- Provides Mental Stimulation
As well as physical exercise, dogs also need mental stimulation. While dog toys are a good way of providing this, the right treats can also do the job as well. Chewy treats offer the highest level of engagement as your canine companion will take quite a while working their way through them.
- Wholesome Nutrition
As we talked about in the section above, the best dog treats provide wholesome nutrition to your furry friend. However, they need to feature good-quality ingredients. Check the packaging for what is included. The best dog treats use real meat as their main protein source rather than meat by-products and derivatives. Natural dog treats shouldn’t contain any artificial additives which can be harmful to your pup or problematic in their digestion. High-quality ingredients mean less chance of an upset stomach. Many low fat treats also contain additional nutrients and minerals which are beneficial in your dog’s all-round health.
- Improves Dental Health
Since dogs can’t look after their oral hygiene in the same way that humans can, it is especially important that you help them out in this department. The natural action of chewing can be beneficial in reducing tartar and plaque build-up, so it may be a good idea to opt for crunchy biscuits. Some treats are rich in minerals like calcium and phosphorous, which are particularly important in promoting strong teeth and good gums.
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How to Train Your Dog Using Treats
Dog treats can prove to be a highly beneficial tool when you are trying to train your dog and teach them good behavior or new tricks. If you have just brought a new dog to your home or you have never tried to train them before, check out this advice on how to get started.
- Choose the Right Treats
Some dog treats are bound to be better for training purposes than others. Generally, you want a small treat that is tasty and can be consumed quickly without filling your dog up. Dog training takes a lot of patience and many treats to reinforce the good behavior. You don’t want to risk your dog getting an upset stomach or causing them to gain weight because you have overfed them so don't look for high-calorie treats for training. If you have chosen some larger treats, you could divide them up into smaller pieces to offer them little by little rather than all at once.
The other point to bear in mind is that you should vary the treats that you provide. This way, your dog is less likely to get sick of eating the same thing over and over again. If you keep certain treats for special occasions, your pooch is more likely to follow your commands so that they can get their paws on them!
- Use Treats with a Small Puppy
The best time to use food treats is when you are first training your new puppy. They provide a clear incentive and help to reinforce good behavior from a young age. However, as we will talk more about it later, you shouldn’t rely on treats too much as your puppy can become over-reliant on them.
- Reward the Right Behavior
You need to be consistent with your treat-giving. Otherwise, you are going to end up rewarding your dog at the wrong times and causing confusion. Generally, you should only give the dog a treat after they have performed a trick, or they are calm and well-behaved. You don’t want to reward jumping around or other hyperactive activity. For example, if you are rewarding them for performing the ‘sit’ command, you should only give them a treat if they are still sitting down.
- Reward Small Progresses
Some people hold back on giving their dog a treat until they have performed an entire action, but it's better to reward your pupper's progress as they move toward their goal. It may take time to reinforce each step, and you can’t expect your dog to go too fast. Over time, your pooch should start to realize what the treat is connected to and will repeat the action. You can also use praise to reinforce good behavior.
- Don’t Use the Treat as a Bribe
You should be using the treat as a reward rather than a bribe. If you overdo it with treats, your dog may only perform a command if they know that a treat will be presented to them afterward. Ultimately, you should rely on treats less and less as your dog becomes better at training. You can encourage good behavior in other ways as well, which we will talk more about later.
- Remove Other Distractions
Sometimes, other distractions in the room stop your dog from learning as quickly as you would like them to. Try to find a place away from a window where there are fewer noises and things whizzing past. This way, your dog can concentrate on performing the action and is more likely to get a better understanding of why they are being rewarded with the treat.
- Avoid Overfeeding
If your dog is going through a particularly intense training session, it can be tempting to ‘over reward’ them by offering too many treats to reinforce good behavior. But if you do this, there is every chance that they are going to consume more calories than needed and start putting on weight. Just as obesity is unhealthy for humans, the same is true of dogs. The health complications can be extremely negative, so make sure that you monitor how many calories you offer to your canine companion on a regular basis.
Always bear in mind that dog treats should only make up around 10% of your pooch’s daily diet. Even though you may really want them to learn a certain trick, it is not worth compromising their health over. If you are training your dog a lot, you will need to reduce the portions which you are offering them at mealtimes accordingly.
- Phase Out Treats Over Time
Going back to what we talked about earlier, it is very common to become over-reliant on dog treats as a means of encouraging your dog to perform a certain action. You don’t want to reach the point when your dog will only perform a command with the promise of food at the end. Once your dog has started to master a new behavior, you can reduce the number of treats offered gradually over time. As a rule of thumb, when they respond to commands 90% of the time, this is when treats can be gradually phased out.
There are plenty of other rewards that you can start to phase-in. Petting and praise are the most common examples of positive reinforcement, and you can also go out for a walk with them at the end of the training session or play with their favorite toy. Varying the kind of rewards that you offer is a great way of ensuring that you don’t rely on food treats excessively.
Our Top Pick
Out of all different grain-free biscuits which we have discussed above, our number one pick has to be Blue Wilderness Denali Biscuits. Just like the other food from this brand, these treats are 100% grain-free, so will not upset your dog’s stomach if they have an allergy or aversion to grains. They're also made of finest of natural ingredients, in this case, an irresistible blend of wild salmon, halibut, and venison, which most dogs go wild for. The crunchy texture is not only satisfying but can also take care of plaque build-up and improve your pupper's dental health. Overall, one of the best dog treats at a very reasonable price!
Q: What exactly are dog training treats?
Dog training treats is a broad term which includes any food which can be given to your dog to encourage a certain behavior. You can buy them pre-manufactured, like the products above, or you can make your own homemade natural ones such as pumpkin dog treats. Training your dog helps you to have a better-behaved canine companion, or it can simply be a fun activity to teach your mutt various tricks. Giving your dog treats lets them know that they have performed a certain behavior correctly and helps them to learn faster.
Whichever treats you choose, they should be tasty enough to act as a genuine reward for your dog. They should also come in a small size or be dividable, as you will need to keep offering them to your pup to reinforce the good behavior. Generally, they don’t contain many calories as they should not contribute to your dog putting on weight or becoming obese. If your dog becomes less responsive to a particular treat, you may need to switch to something else to ensure that the effect stays the same. Bear in mind that your dog’s treats should make up no more than 10 percent of their regular diet.
It is a good idea to keep the dog treats out of sight, showing them to your dog only once they have completed the behavior you want from them. This helps to keep the excitement level high and maintains the treats as something extra and special.
Q: Can I use my dog's regular food as treats?
You can try using your dog’s regular food as treats, but whether these will be effective or not depends on your furry friend. Obviously, if they do work for their regular food, this is a bonus as you don’t have to worry about tipping their diet off-balance or feeding them too many calories and contributing to weight gain. If your dog eats kibble, you can set aside some of their regular food for training purposes to keep their calorie-intake consistent.
There are plenty of ways that you can make your dog’s regular kibble more interesting and tastier to improve its appeal. Mixing in some yoghurt, cottage cheese or other moist food is one option. Alternatively, you could up the protein content with some lightly cooked meat or eggs. Adding some essential oils such as salmon oil will help to make the food more flavorsome, as well as boosting their immune system and improving their skin and coat.
Alternatively, you could try a new brand of kibble for your dog, which they may find to be special enough to perform their tricks. Ultimately, it is a good idea to try some experimentation and to vary things up to keep your dog interested and excited about what you are going to offer them next.
Q: Can I use "people food" as dog treats?
While it is a good idea to keep your dog on a canine diet as much as possible, there is some “people food” which you can offer them to keep things interesting. Peanut butter is a favorite of many canines, and it is also a good source of protein and contains many heart healthy fats. Cooked chicken is also a popular choice, or you could also try some low-fat cheese as long as your dog isn’t lactose intolerant. Yogurts with probiotics are often good for your pooch’s digestive system. Avoid those which contain artificial sweeteners or added sugar.
Salmon is a tasty and healthy option, packed with omega-3 fatty acids which support their immune system and keep their coat shiny and healthy. You can either feed your dog cooked salmon or add salmon oil to their regular food. There are also plenty of vegetables which can act as treats such as baby carrots, pumpkin, and green beans. These have the natural advantage of being packed with vitamins too. If you have an older dog or one with digestive issues, oatmeal is both a beneficial and tasty treat.
Q: How should I store dog training treats so they stay fresh longer?
Once you open up a bag of dog treats, their freshness is immediately exposed to the atmosphere, which will cause them to degrade over time. The three main factors which can impact the nutritional value and quality of the food are air, moisture, and temperature. You have a couple of main options of how to keep the dog treats fresher for longer. First, you can keep them in the original bag. Some packaging comes with a sealable top which you need to keep closed. Otherwise, you could use a bag clip to seal in the freshness.
Your other main option is to use some airtight dog food storage containers. Plastic or stainless steel are a couple of the most common materials. The most important thing is that it has an airtight food-seal vacuum locking lid. Before you refill this type of container, you need to wash it out to stop the rancid oil contaminating the new food. A thorough scrub with hot, soapy water should do the job. Rinse and dry it out before refilling it.
As for the storage location, a cool, dry place is best. Too much moisture can lead to the food becoming moldy, which can end up making your pet ill. Also, high temperatures can end up making the degradation process go quicker. Ideally, the treats should be in a place which is out of your dog’s sight to make it even more exciting when you get them out. You also want to stop your dog from being able to help themselves whenever they want!
- What are safe and healthy treats for my pet? - Clinical Nutrition service