Looking for the best treats to buy for your dog?
Well, you’re in the right place, as today you’ll learn all about:
- What treats will best serve your pup
- The benefits of using treats
- Treats that you should avoid
- What to look out for and where to buy them
- And much much more!
When you head out to buy dog treats, there are a few things you need to consider first. For example, what breed of dog do you have? or how old is your pup? along with many more decisions that can soon become overbearing.
That’s why to help you make an easy decision, and be sure that your evaluating the appropriate needs of your dog, I put this helpful guide together to not only educate you around the topic but also show you the best resources for finding them, so you avoid the kind of treats that will do more harm than good.
Are you ready? Great, let’s get into it!
What's in this Guide?
The Best Dog Treats In 2021
|Best Overall||Rocco&Roxie Gourmet Jerky Dog Treats|
|Best Budget Buy||Organix Castor & Pollux Organix Cheese Flavor Dog Cookies|
|Best Grain Free||Cloud Star Grain-Free Chewy Biscuits|
|Best Natural||Action & Joint Health Dog Treats|
|Vet Recommended||Smart Sticks Vet-recommended Dog Chews|
Best Overall (Editors Choice): Rocco&Roxie Gourmet Jerky Dog Treats
A real best-seller, Rocco&Roxie Gourmet Jerky Dog Treats come with jerky sticks 6-inch long made of slow-roasted, tender, delicious beef, turkey, or chicken that has been naturally smoked. Sourced from reputable farms, the ingredients are blended with a secret recipe that the family has used successfully throughout the years.
Each of the dogs treats is healthy and also doesn’t contain allergenic fillers such as corn, soy, and gluten. These also don’t contain artificial ingredients. Your pooch won’t have symptoms of hypersensitivity or stomach upsets. Plus, each stick can be cut into small pieces for smaller dogs if you want.
Their unique process of manufacturing ensures you they don’t leave oily, smelly residues on your fingers when feeding.
- Breakable jerky sticks
- No artificial ingredients or allergenic fillers
- Premium all-natural ingredients
- Not oily
- More expensive than other brands
Best Budget pick:Organix Castor & Pollux Cheese cookies
Organix Castor & Pollux Organix Cheese Flavor Dog Cookies are cooked in America and of good quality. Organix Castor & Pollux Organix Cheese Flavor Dog Cookies features the inclusion of organic free-range chicken, ninety-five organic ingredients, and the level of protein ranges from twenty-three to twenty-six percent.
In the list of ingredients, soy, wheat, and corn are not included. In this blend, there is a pack of nutrients from quality ingredients without the steep price tag.
- Appropriate for both dogs and cats
- Over a decade in the business of creating great dog treats
- Not every dog loves the flavor of the cheese
- Best grain-free dog treats
Best Grain Free: Cloud Star Grain-Free Chewy Biscuits
Best known for high proteins and canine chows, Cloud Star Grain-Free biscuits are completely gluten-free, soft to chew, and come in a variety of flavors such as peanut butter & Apples, Beef & Spinach, and much more.
This healthy dog treat is also free of soy, wheat, dairy & corn which makes it a top pick for dogs with conditions or illnesses. It’s low calorie, great for joint health, dental care, and dog training.
If you’re looking for a natural dog treat for a happy healthy dog, then this a great option to go for.
- Ingredients only include hypoallergenic proteins
- No fillers, chemicals, or artificial ingredients
- Great for small, medium & large dogs
- Made in the USA
- Your dog may not be used to a non-grain diet.
Best for small dogs: Greenies Original Teenie Natural Dental Treats
NOTE: This treat is for dogs that are 5lbs – 15lbs in weight.
Greenies Natural Dental dog treats are made with easy-to-digest, natural ingredients that are complete, nutritionally. The great taste of Greenies will definitely help your dog clean his teeth. Accepted by the VOHC or the Veterinary Oral Health Council, Greenies dog treats are something that is vet-recommended for smaller dogs.
The unique Greenies texture helps fight plaque all the way to the gum-line. Each pack contains minerals, vitamins, and an 11-counted pack of dog treats that are small enough for smaller dogs to enjoy.
One treat a day is all it takes to keep your dog happy and to help freshen his or her breathe and clean their teeth. These dental dog chews are in the original, delicious flavor no pooch can resist.
Best for Seniors: Zuke’s Hip Action Dog Treats
Just because your fur pal is a senior citizen in the dog world does not mean he or she should not get any treats. Hip Action & Joint Health Dog Treats by Zuke’s are specially created for senior-age dogs.
Infused with fifty milligrams of chondroitin and three hundred milligrams of glucosamine, you can be sure your dog’s bones and joints won’t age as fast as he might.
These come in great flavors including beef, peanut butter, and chicken. Free of soy, wheat, and corn, this treat also is rich in berries that provide your dog with antioxidant action to keep him healthy. Each of the treats contains thirty percent moisture, three percent fiber, eight percent fat, and ten percent protein.
- Made especially with your senior dog in mind
- Enriched with all the right vitamins and minerals
- Made for Joint health
- Made in the USA
- Higher price than other more competitive brands
Best natural: Old Mother Hubbard Natural Classic Dog Treats
Old Mother Hubbard truly makes treats for your furkid with passion and love. This is why they bake each treat using the best-sourced, most natural ingredients. For the past decades, the all-natural formulation has not changed.
Different flavors in a variety of differently-sized biscuits give your pooch many different snack options to select from.
For example, creamy, rich peanut butter is in the Classic P-Nutters. it is mixed with molasses, apples, and carrots before getting shaped like a bone to make every pooch more than satisfied. Other flavors combine oatmeal and eggs, or cheese and bacon. No matter which snack you select, this all-natural treat is sure to be a hit with your little pal.
- Made with the most natural, finest ingredients
- A broad selection of sizes and flavors
- 9 years of creating quality, premium dog treats
- More expensive than artificial treats
Best for puppies: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites
For those whose pooches love biscuits, Wellness Soft Puppy Bites should make your dog extreme joy. Whether you get the soft lamb/salmon variety, not only will your fur pal be eating a source of hypoallergenic protein, you are also ensuring a very safe, nutritious treat. Not only is this treat perfect for your puppy’s eye health, but it also improves the functioning of his or her nervous system.
This is natural for the DHA-rich salmon in the ingredients. Also, it is made of anti-inflammatory EPA antioxidant that leads it to enhance the system of immunity of each puppy.
The flaxseed in the ingredients also provides fatty acid omega-3 so it is rich in ALA. Puppy bites add superfoods such as carrots, blueberries, apples, and sweet potatoes into it chewy, soft formulation friendly to puppies.
- Lamb and salmon provide protein
- Sized for puppies appropriately
- Enriched with ALA, EPA, and DHA
- Made in the USA
- Not created for larger dogs.
Best at Amazon: Milk-Bone Original Dog Treats
Products by Milk-Bone are made with high-quality, nutritious ingredients that have met applicable specifications and standards of the Department of Agriculture in the USA. It has also met the required standards of the
Association of Feed Control Officials of America, as well as the food and drug Administration. Fortified with twelve minerals and vitamins, you can feel good about giving your pooch a treat whenever he deserves on. Each bite contains vitamins A, D, E, and B12 plus biotin, folic acid, and calcium.
Freshens breath and cleans teeth, it is no wonder this brand is Amazon’s bestselling dog treat at the moment.
- A trusted brand for over one hundred years
- More than twenty treat variants
- Not appropriate for puppies
Best at Walmart: Good n Fun Rawhide Dog Chews
Good n Fun Triple Flavor Rawhide Dog Chews offers a flavor-smorgasbord that every dog loves. Each chew is delicious and made from fine ingredients including chicken and beef hid. This creates a long-lasting, truly delightful dog treat that will keep your pooches’ tails wagging.
Made with a savory combination of favorite flavors, this brand is also a good protein source. Each day, make sure your dog gets his share of protein by offering him one per day. Natural chewing action helps keep your furkid’s teeth clean.
- Kabob shape combination of chicken liver, duck, and real chicken
- Great source of protein
- For supervised consumption only
Vet-recommended: Smart Sticks Dog Chews Rawhide-Free
Most dogs love chewing. Vet-recommended Smart Sticks Dog Chews Rawhide-Free is a great alternative to bones for pups that love chewing on something.
Vets recommend this brand over natural rawhide due to its easy to chew qualities, rather than rawhide which your dogs could try and swallow whole after a time.
With fourteen percent moisture, this brand also contains nine percent protein. Keep this in the car for your pooch to chew on anytime you both go for a drive. Each stick is chewed on for about five minutes but won’t get stuck in your pooch’s throat and cause him to choke, unlike regular rawhide.
- Each variant includes ten packs
- Vet-recommended due to its choking prevention
- Lasts for about five minutes per chew
Best for weight loss: Hillside Farms Duck Jerky Premium Dog Treats
I have tried tons of brands but for me, it turns out that the best dog treat for weight loss is Hillside Farms Duck Jerky Premium Dog Treats Their low-calorie formulation works really well to get your dog down to the right size and a healthy weight.
With Hillside Farms Duck Jerky Premium Dog Treats, the result is that your dog gets great muscle tone and increased satiety, among other great results.
The reason is that Hillside Farms features sixty-eight percent crude protein. Lean duck breast is the main ingredient and this product does not contain sugar, grains, or soy. Keep in mind that the only amino acid source living things need to repair tissues is protein and this brand contains loads of it.
Your pooch needs to have a lot of access to these amino acid building blocks of protein to function optimally. Puppies can only have one chew daily. Increased satiety is another result of feeding your dog appropriate dog treats.
- Dogs love the way Hillside Farms Duck Jerky smells
- No fillers in this brand
- Puppies can only have one piece per day
Treats & Training
To train your dog using treats, find a time when there are no distractions. Kids playing in the neighborhood, squirrels scurrying or heavy traffic sounds are going to be quite distracting to your pet. Your dog’s focus needs to be on the delicious treat and your instructions.
Any distractions could slow down the process…
Training your dog will require finding the right reward your pooch is willing to work for. I knew the only way training my dog to sit was to make the effort of learning it worthwhile. When the word “sit” seems over-complicated for your dog to understand, it turns out they understand pretty quickly when they get a reward each time they “sit.”
When using treats to train your dog, you might want to reward a submissive, calm state as well. keep in mind that the treat you feed your dog is in fact reinforcing his behavior just before he gets the treat. Thus, rewarding behavior that is hyperactive is not a good idea. Give him a treat when he exhibits relaxed, calm composure.
Eventually, once you notice your dog following your commands better, it is better to begin giving him the treat less and exchanging this for a pat on the head. The reason is that so he does not “sit” only when you have a treat in your hand.
To train your dog using treats, it is better to use smaller treats. This helps in ensuring your dog keeps his or her weight in check by using smaller pieces of treats.
Give your dog a treat for every complete step. This means that instead of having him run an obstacle course and climb a ladder before you give him a treat, it is better to give him a treat with every step he completes.
Buyers Guide: Why should you buy treats?
Treats are a great way to bond with your pet. You can also use these to train your pooch, to keep them occupied and calm when traveling, and as a supplement.
Manufacturers of good brands of treats work hard to create the perfect formula that goes into each product to provide your dog with everything it needs daily. Your dogs remain in great health with an appropriate supply of nutritious daily vitamins, some of which can come from treats.
Remember, vitamins are needed for nerve conduction and muscle contraction while working for disease prevention.
Treats with sweeteners are best used in moderation. Treats with caramel, cane, and fructose and glucose are utilized for enhancing the taste of the treat in sufficient amounts. As a general rule, dogs do love sweets. When added in adequate amounts, sweeteners in dog treats do help your dog love the treat.
When it comes to dog treats, taste does matter. No, you don’t have to eat a dog treat yourself to check for taste. You can buy different treats and do a taste test. See which one your pooch loves the most. Like everything else, trial and error will work wonders in this arena.
Dog treats with great texture will help clean your dog’s teeth. Remember, these treats can usually be chewed for longer periods of time. Roughly textured treat serves as a toothbrush and helps get rid of tartar and plaque in your pooch’s gum line.
Talk to your veterinarian to find out how many calories your pet needs daily. A dog treat will need to be a fraction of the calories. Don’t exceed the caloric intake for each day to avoid obesity. Every fur child will need a varied caloric amount Simple math can help you figure out how many calories per treat your pup should consume.
Dog treats need to be properly stored. This helps preserve the treat for future use. Buy dog treats that come in small packets of ten or twelve. This way, you can use the handy sizes without having to expose the other treats to oxygen until you need them.
How do find the best dog treats?
I mean, don’t just run into the store and grab a dog treat because your dog finally looked like he was ready to be trained.
Teaching your dog to sit, roll-over, play dead, and shake hands is going to go much smoother when you have the best dog treats. However, you might as well be a good fur parent and actually know what to buy before you jump in and grab something arbitrarily.
The most important consideration when buying dog treats for your best friend is the type and amount of ingredients on the list. The more natural ingredients used for the treatment, the better. Avoid artificial ingredients and excessive sugar, for example.
Anything with chocolate could prove to be fatal. Do research before actually going to the grocery to buy your pooch a quick treat off the shelf without reading any ingredients.
Health condition of your dog
The health condition of your dog will matter with regard to what treats you are buying them. Older dogs or young pups will have appropriate dog treats. An older dog may get bored chewing through a hard piece of rawhide, for example. Younger dogs will prefer chew-able dog treats.
Level of exercise your dog undertakes
Dogs that exercise more will need treats loaded with vitamins and calories for energy. When you have an active dog, you can use their treats as a supplementary vitamin that complements their active days.
Grains have become a sort of five-letter word in the dog treat industry. Using treats that have grains that could cause allergic reactions in some pets.
Storage & shelf life
Check to see if your dog treat is within its storage and shelf life date of expiration. Make sure your pet consumes the food within the allotted time for freshness.
Size and weight of your dog
Let’s face it, a large dog is just going to swallow a tiny dog treat whole. Probably without even noticing it had a treat. Make sure that the treats you feed your dog are appropriate to its size and weight.
Age of dog
An older dog may have lost some teeth and won’t do well with hard treats. In contrast, younger dogs that are teething will love chewing on a jerky-like treat for long minutes in the day.
What to avoid when buying dog treats
Low natural ingredient
Dog treats with low natural ingredients can only mean that artificial ingredients were used to create tasty treats for your dog. What’s worse is that if your pooch actually likes them, then you are risking the life and longevity of your pooch.
Perhaps a dog treat with high-fat content is okay once in a while for underweight dogs. However, an already obese dog will not benefit from higher fat content dog treats.
Heres a quick video on various things to watch out for:
BAD things to avoid in dog treats
Whilst there are great things you should look out for in good treats, there are just as equally BAD things that you should avoid in treats for a dog too.
To help you better determine the good from the bad, I have listed out a few foods you can look out for in the contents of each product to help you decide if its the right treat for you!
Corn sticks together in a lump in your dog’s stomach, making it hard to digest. This could cause your dog’s stomach to be upset for days and is best avoided. Even if corn won’t kill your furry friend, it is not the easiest thing for him to digest.
Generally, dog stomachs are simply not able to properly process corn. Corn is a cheap filler and serves hardly any value nutritionally. Some attest to joint swelling, allergies, and bloating that may have stemmed from the aflatoxin-contaminated corn in dog food.
Wheat is a grain that can be allergenic for most dogs. Though wheat can help to keep digestive activities regular in dogs, some dogs may have a wheat allergy. This causes symptoms of itch in their feet, legs, ears, and face. Chronic infections in their ear, hair loss as well as infections in the skin are caused by wheat.
If you find a bag of dog food with soy listed as one of the ingredients, take it back to the store and get your money back.
In dogs, soy is associated with hypothyroidism. For pet owners looking for a good protein source for your pet, use meat rather than soy. Soy contains larger quantities of phytoestrogens which can biologically affect your pooch.
Bloat and gas are linked to soy, which is high in purines and is thus not a good protein source for dogs. Chronic amino acid uptake deficiencies reduced digestion of protein, and gastric distress in your pets can be the result. High pesticide levels can be present in soy and these contain large anti-nutrient quantities.
Essentially, most dogs can digest grains and should have no problem with a tad bit of wheat-content in their dog food. The problem arises when wheat substitutes take the place of high animal protein. The top two ingredients are known to give dogs food sensitivities that do happen to be corn and wheat.
Dog owners need to avoid feeding garlic to your dog. Of course, it is okay to see it in the ingredient list. The members of the group of plants including chives, shallots, leeks, onions, and garlic contain the di-sulfide N-propyl compound. This causes damage to your dog’s hemoglobin. The result is that oxygen won’t be carried to red blood cells. Never feed your dog raw garlic.
List Of Bad Dog Treats: products) To Avoid
I hate to blacklist or red flag brands, but there are a few industry foods that you may even be familiar with that have caused more harm than good. Each of the foods in the list below is those that have either shared a negative experience with myself or other customers of their products.
OK, here we go!
These treats contain sugar, salt, flavoring, coloring, preservatives, and wheat flour. These are ingredients you simply don’t want in your dog treat. Unhealthy and unnecessary, it isn’t even clear what coloring, flavoring, and preservatives were used.
Advertised to seem okay for your dog to take, there are many testimonials of the dog getting sick on this brand. Salt, flavors, preservatives, and additives were added to this product which is not healthy for dogs.
Healthy Centres Dog Treats (Salmon)
There is no real salmon in this treat packet. It contains additives such as ascorbyl palmitate so it tastes good. We will also never know whether the hydrolyzed protein from poultry comes from a meat by-product or real meat.
Harringtons Low Fat Treats (Turkey)
Rendered leftover meat waste or turkey meal makes up twenty-six percent of this product. Also, the list of ingredients also includes sodium selenite, which is a controversial ingredient, aside from preservatives.
Sodium nitrite is a carcinogenic ingredient that preserves bacon, which is in the list of ingredients for this treat. Another cancer-causing agent called BHA that is contained in bacon as well. Also, the packaging does mislead consumers into thinking bacon is the first ingredient on the list, which is far from the truth.
Best types of treats
To better help you understand threats and the different types, below I have listed out a few of the most common kinds of treats that you may come across on the market. That way you’ll understand that common jargon you might find on a product page for buying foods.
Natural treats (homemade)
Natural and homemade treats are those you make yourself. Making your own treats for dogs enables you to control exactly what the recipe contains.
You can ensure your fur child is getting a wholesome, nutritious snack with no hidden or unheard of ingredients. Plus, you can tailor the recipes of your dog treats to the preferences your dog has in taste and the right dietary recommendations.
Freeze drying treats removes the water content of food items, just like dehydration. This process involves three steps that begin with freezing. Next, under low heat, the food is placed into a vacuum chamber. Crystals of frozen water directly evaporation from ice to water vapor before it sublimates.
Remaining molecules of water are then removed under higher temperatures for a step called secondary drying. Next, nitrogen is used to seal the food for storing to prevent oxygen or water contamination. Nutrients of premium ingredients are then preserved due to the non-involvement of higher temperatures in this treat-preservation technique.
Bonding with your dog daily will involve spending time with him or her, offering special treats, and even training your dog a little every day. Quality time plus treats will mean an ultimate bonding experience for your pooch, strengthening the bond between you as each day goes by.
Long-lasting dog treats are a way to keep dogs that love to chew busy for quite some time. He will find it a great joy to keep chewing on a delicious treat that does not seem to want to disintegrate no matter what he does. Make sure pets are monitored while they chew long-lasting treats. Some pooches get impatient and attempt to swallow their treat whole.
Animal parts such as imported pig ears and ham bones or rawhide bones are animal parts that your little carnivore is going to want to chew on forever. Don’t forget that your dog’s primal ancestry originated from wolves.
This tells you that any actual real animal parts are going to be quite alluring for your pet. You can do trial and error and see which treat appeals to him the most.
Soft & chewy
Soft and chewy dog treats are used commonly to reward puppies during a session of training. Softer treats are easier or faster for your pet to eat compared to treats that are crunchy.
Soft treats have a strong smell, typically, which helps keep your dog’s focus as you train them. Dogs with dental issues or senior dogs who can’t chew on crunchy, hard treats will love a chewy, soft alternative.
Best purposes for dog treats
Using treats for training your fur-child tends to work. Remember, when it comes to training your dog, this basically required finding the right reward your pooch is willing to work for. The only way training your dog to roll-over, for example, was to make the effort of learning it worthwhile.
As it turns out, I noticed that they understand pretty quickly when they get a reward each time they “roll-over.”
Dog treats require dogs to chew, thus scraping off the tartar and plaque from their gum line. Some dog treats manufacturers even add texture and chew-ability to the treats precisely for the dental benefit this brings your pooch. One treat a day is all it takes to keep your dog happy and to help freshen his or her breathe and clean their teeth.
Traveling could be stressful for your dogs, so a treat now and then will definitely be a welcome break for your dog. On-road trips, stop every few hours to give your dog a walk and a treat. This helps your dog calm down and become accustomed to road trips, particularly if you select the usual brand of treat he already loves at home.
When you are worried about fulfilling the complete nutritional requirements of your dog, a dog-treat that is chock-full of vitamins will help ensure your dog’s perfect health. Not unlike the way multi-vitamins work for humans, a dog treat is an easy, convenient method of giving your dog supplements that will benefit their health daily.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now its time to answer your questions. There are a few things that you may have felt we didn’t cover in this article… So to ensure we touch base on just about everything there is to know, I decided to answer a few quick questions to make sure that no stone is left unturned.
Are Milk-Bone treats good for dogs?
Milk bones contain BHA which is a carcinogenic preservative. Also, most pack sugar into each milk bone, which is not exactly ideal for your dog’s dental or physical health.
Dogs will thus consume milk bones quickly and ask for another one, which will mean over-consuming their daily appropriate calories. Certain brands add tons of chemicals to their milk bones.
Are dog treats a healthy option for dogs?
Dog treats are a great way to help keep your dog’s teeth clean and his tartar and plaque in control. It is also a great way to strengthen his or her muscles for chewing and to add in additional nutrition for whatever his diet may lack.
This is particularly true in treats that have been fortified with antioxidants, which boosts his immune system in the process.
How often should you feed your dog treats?
Feeding your dog treats too often is not exactly a great way to keep him in great shape. Find out from your vet the caloric intake requirement and give your dog ten percent in treats. For example, some dogs need four hundred calories daily. Thus, treats should be a maximum of forty calories. and the rest should consist of regular, healthy food.
Can treats help a dog to lose weight?
Treats can help a dog to lose weight when you break chewy treats into bite-sized pieces. This keeps your dog chewing for hours while controlling calories, which could help him feel satiated sooner without the weight gain. In the process, obese pups will experience weight loss without too much effort, which is a win-win situation all-around.
So for the best dog treats in the market, that about wraps it up. You should now have a clear idea as to which treats are best for the size and age of your pooch. Finding the best dog treats couldn’t be easier if you follow the steps in this guide. I know its a lengthy article, but there was a lot to cover, given that we touched on:
- Calories per dog treat
- Ingredients like grain-free and natural contents
- Training treats
- My personal top picks
And much more… I hope that now you can make an easy decision on the best high-quality ingredients treat for your pup.
Till then check out some Dig Doggy for more!