There are many reasons people give their dog treats, from training rewards to something to keep them occupied for a bit. No matter the reason, your dog is likely to be happy to have something tasty to munch on. As fun as treats can be though, dog owners should be aware of how many treats they’re giving—and realize that the treats aren’t actually necessary, experts say.
Bully Sticks are popular options because they are made form 100% beef tendon. The best and healthiest bully sticks are made from US or Brazilian beef that is grass-raised and free from the use of antibiotics or growth promoters. Being high in protein, each bully stick has nutrition value and just be aware of this so you don’t accidentally give too many calories.

We are entrusted with the care of our wonderful dogs. How could we ever give them anything but the best? Healthy dog treats are a great beginning to the many ways in which we care for and love our dogs. Just the fact that you want to bake for your dog shows that you understand the responsibility and pleasure of caring for your beloved companion. You're sure to find many recipes that help you do so in a healthy way.
The sixth best healthy dog treats choice is another USDA certified option on this list. You can order these dog treats in three flavors – cheddar, peanut butter, and pumpkin. And what better food for dogs is there than one made with human-grade ingredients? No corn, wheat, artificial flavors, preservatives, dairy or animal by-products went into the preparation of these dog treats from Wet Noses. Each pack contains 14 ounces of crunchy treats.
My Jack Russell loved this, and for 5 years, we ignorantly fed these to her -- two or three a day -- thinking that they were harmless, and she certainly loved them. Then, one day, during a vet visit, we discovered her teeth were rotting. We couldn't determine what it could be because we tried desperately to keep her away from people food and THOUGHT we were doing right by her with her dog food -- and these "nutritious snacks". She had 12 teeth extracted that day. We didn't know then what we know now. Soon after, when we got our German Shepherd puppy, we were told to be very careful what we fed him, so we started reading labels, something that didn't register as important prior. Guess what we found on THIS label: THE THIRD INGREDIENT IS SUGAR. Nutritionists have long stated that the first 3-5 ingredients in a product are it's primary ingredients. SUGAR!!! I'd never buy products for myself where sugar was in the top five ingredients, so why in the name of all that's holy would I purchase it for my dog. In addition, two of the ingredients are colorants. My poor Jack Russell lost 12 teeth, and I now suspect this is why. If I could prove it was this product, I'd sue this company for her $1,000 dental bill.
These do something bad to my dog. Not sure what the ingredient could be, but it's enough that i have finally given up on these. I like them for the texture, but they make my dog extremely hyped up and almost manic. It's like watching a dog on cocaine. Scares me. No thanks. This time, I will remember. I had tried this once before and forgotten until the same reaction occurred.
The sixth best healthy dog treats choice is another USDA certified option on this list. You can order these dog treats in three flavors – cheddar, peanut butter, and pumpkin. And what better food for dogs is there than one made with human-grade ingredients? No corn, wheat, artificial flavors, preservatives, dairy or animal by-products went into the preparation of these dog treats from Wet Noses. Each pack contains 14 ounces of crunchy treats.
With so many choices out there, how do you choose the best dog treats for your pup? For most dogs, food rewards are the most convenient and effective way to influence your dog’s behavior. Before choosing any dog treat, make sure to review the ingredients list. Always consult with a veterinarian if your dog has food sensitivities, weight-related issues, or you have other concerns.
What can you replace wheat germ with? I made these and I used a cup of oats that I ground to a powder in the food processor since I forgot to buy it and I had to make these treats on my day off…I also added peanut butter! I figured i’d ask for the next batch 🙂 they came out great and they are so healthy you did great research! Roxy and Mojo thank you!
Most dog owners (or any pet owners!) would never just grab the first thing off the shelf when buying treats, but you need to make sure you read the labels carefully. All manufacturers are required to list all of their ingredients on the label – with the ones that are more prevalent at the top of the list. So look for products that have real meat at the top of the list – especially ones that are advertised as meat-flavored. For example, if you see a treat that says it’s beef-flavored, but beef is far down the list, look for something else.
No matter what type of treat you choose, Farcas says to make sure treats don’t make up more than 5-10 percent of your dog’s diet. Though the foods on this list aren’t known to cause problems for dogs, keep in mind that you should discuss any dietary concerns with your veterinarian and know that they might have a different outlook on feeding certain foods to dogs.
My 145 pound Mellow (German Shepherd) is soooo spoiled and handles it with charm and drooly kisses. He gets treats for being the doorbell and official greeter. No bone cookie cutter big enough but I have a huge yard sale collection from a year or ten collecting. Not a fan of scary clowns so I took large round clown and made large yummy treats. Mellow loves them and I have to maintain control of the treat door. Funny look at first but buried one in his bed, dug it out later and is now sure they are wonderful. Thanks. (my vet says small garlic amounts ok–powder not salt is best). It is some wheat recipe treats!
Fantastic list! I loved every recipe, until I read #23. I don’t care how little it is, bacon is not good for any animal (although it’s one of MY favorite foods and I’ll eat it, but I won’t give it to my dogs). I read one blogger justify bacon in their dog treat recipe by saying that for the number of treats that their recipe provided, one piece of bacon wasn’t going to hurt a dog. That may be true, but it’s not worth it. Boiled chicken might be used instead. I guarantee dogs would love it, and it would be safer for them. Just as a reminder, the American Kennel Club states:
We are entrusted with the care of our wonderful dogs. How could we ever give them anything but the best? Healthy dog treats are a great beginning to the many ways in which we care for and love our dogs. Just the fact that you want to bake for your dog shows that you understand the responsibility and pleasure of caring for your beloved companion. You're sure to find many recipes that help you do so in a healthy way.
Yes, I care about my dog and his health. However I don’t have any misconceptions about how long his life will be. He’s a GSD and will live somewhere between 12-15 years. Breaking the bank with all this supposed “SUPER QUALITY/ORGANIC” crap MIGHT get me another year… there’s no telling. Then again, some environmental condition completely out of my control could take my GSD from me 2-4 years earlier no matter how much money I spend on this over-hyped trendy food/treats.
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Don't get confused though – something that may look low calorie isn't necessarily that. For example, many thing that bully sticks, because of how they're manufactured, are low-calorie treats. That isn't so, and this has recently been found in a study by Dr Lisa Freeman, where they concluded that not only do they contain more calories than initially thought, but also some harmful bacteria (Freeman et al. 2013). You must check the official guaranteed analysis of dog treats that you buy to confirm the calorie content.


In terms of what to avoid, start with any artificial additives and agents that are known to cause health problems in dogs. For example, food dyes are unnecessary when choosing the best healthy dog treats and so is glycerin (a preservative), because some studies have shown their dangers. Also, while some dog treats brands still use these, BHT and BHA preservatives may be harmful, according to some experts. That said, some other preservatives can and should be used to avoid spoilage, but only as long as they have been proven to be safe for dogs. Vitamin E and Vitamin C are some of those few that are allowed.
There are two main things that veterinarians warn pet owners much watch out for when picking the best healthy dog treats: calories and specific ingredients. Just like us, dogs love treats and sometimes we can overfeed them. Because treats for dogs are so small and are gone within seconds, it's much too easy to give too much, which substantially adds to the dog's overall calorie limit and poses some risks.

Beef, Chicken, Soy Grits, Sugar, Corn Starch, Filet Mignon, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Rice Flour, Propylene Glycol, Natural Smoke Flavor, Guar Gum, Lactic Acid, Garlic Powder, Potassium Sorbate (Used as a Preservative), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Red 40, Sodium Nitrite (for Color Retention), Yellow 5, BHA (Used as a Preservative), Blue 2.
If you are working on dog training and obedience with your pup, then you will definitely want to check out Chewy’s selection of dog training treats. These types of dog treats are great for use with your dog training clicker, because you can easily store these bite-size treats in a pouch, like the PetSafe Sport dog treat pouch. Unlike your regular dog treats, dog training treats are smaller and chewy, or more pliable, so they can be broken up for small reward portions. This gives pet parents a way to reward their pet without expanding their pup’s waistline. Dog training treats come in a variety of sizes and textures so you can get the training treat that best suits your and your pup’s needs. Blue Buffalo Blue Bits beef recipe are small, bite-size morsels with less than four calories each, making them perfect for a dog training session. Their small size also makes them a great option to mix in with your pup’s dog food or to put inside dog interactive toys, because they give your dog an extra reward for his hard work. For a high-value reward, you can try Stewart Pro-Treat beef liver freeze-dried treats. Freeze-dried dog treats are great for dog training and obedience practice because they have a strong aroma and are packed with protein. They can also double as dog food toppings to fill your pup’s dog bowl with something that’s extra enticing at mealtime. Another option to consider when searching for the perfect dog training treats are jerky treats like Bones & Chews turkey jerky treats. They are grain-free and easily shredded so you can decide how big of a reward your pup gets for each dog trick. Finding the right dog training treats and dog supplies can really bring your pup’s obedience training to the next level, so check out all the delicious dog treat options Chewy's online pet shop has to offer!
Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child. In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly's research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today.
Dog treats serve a number of useful purposes. They help satisfy your dog’s need to chew, and they’re an indispensable part of training, especially for food-motivated pups. Crunchy dog biscuits and smaller treats can be given as dog training treats or everyday snacks to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Long-lasting dog treats are great for special occasions. They can help reduce stress as your dog chews or keep her occupied when guests visit. Every pup loves good natural dog bones or bully sticks, and naturally shed antlers for dogs will keep your dogs chewing happily for hours. Chewy also contains a wide range of dog treats including dental chews dog treats, soft dog treats, dog jerky treats, freeze dried dog treats, prescription dog treats, dehydrated dog treats and more. Treat-dispensing dog toys can add another layer of chewing fun. Get the best dog treats, pet food online at Chewy!
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First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then chop the liver into small pieces and place into the food processor, along with the egg and potato flakes. Pulse to blend, and add the broth as necessary to keep the mixture thin enough to spread into the baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes, cool for 5, and then empty the pan onto the wire rack. When the cake is completely cool, cut into small squares and let your pup enjoy!

Most dog owners (or any pet owners!) would never just grab the first thing off the shelf when buying treats, but you need to make sure you read the labels carefully. All manufacturers are required to list all of their ingredients on the label – with the ones that are more prevalent at the top of the list. So look for products that have real meat at the top of the list – especially ones that are advertised as meat-flavored. For example, if you see a treat that says it’s beef-flavored, but beef is far down the list, look for something else.
My daughter volunteers at a dog rescue and we want to make several different batches and bring them to share in celebrating her birthday in a couple months. I LOVE the variety of recipes and especially ones for those dogs with grain allergies or that are diabetic! My question is, will the treats still be good if we make ahead of time and freeze them until closer to the big day? Sadly, I’m not much of a cook so I am not familiar with what freezes well and what wouldn’t.
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Pumpkin is known as a remedy for a dog’s upset stomach, but it’s also great for healthy dog treats. Put a tablespoon of canned pumpkin in your dog’s bowl and you’ll be amazed at how fast it disappears. Pumpkin — since it contains A LOT of fiber — is a great way to fight both diarrhea and constipation. So if your pup is having bathroom troubles, try a little pumpkin. Plus, it has other healthy ingredients like vitamin A (great for eyesight), potassium (which promotes healthy nerves and muscles), and many other important ingredients. But remember: Since too much vitamin A can be toxic to dogs, don’t make pumpkin a regular part of your pup’s diet.
This dog treat recipe is perfect if you’ve got some fun cookie cutters on hand. And since it’s peanut butter based it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a hit with your dog. I have yet to meet a dog who doesn’t go bonkers for PB. For this recipe you’ll need 2 cups of whole wheat flout, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 cup unsalted natural peanut butter and 1 cup skim milk.
Plato has produced another meat-based treat that is all-organic and all-natural. This one is made from duck meat, brown rice, natural preservatives and citric acid. It is fortified with vitamins E and C as well. Duck meat is a great protein alternative for dogs that react to other meats, such as chicken. This food product contains 30% crude protein, fats, fiber, iron and zinc.
Fruits and vegetables – Green beans not only provide the crunch that your dog loves, they’re also low in calories. Apples and raspberries are also low in calories and high in fiber. This will not only promote good digestion, but will also give him a feeling of fullness.2 As a result, your dog might not attack the dinner bowl quite as hard as usual.
The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) provides a list of dental chews that can go a long way toward knocking off the tartar and plaque that can build up in your dog’s mouth over time.1 This can lead to a wide range of problems, such as gum disease and oral infections. Unless you have a regimen of brushing your dog’s teeth every night, or go to your vet for regular cleanings, dental chews are healthy dog treats and are the best way to help ensure your canine’s oral health is as good as it can be.

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Thanks Kimberly! I never really thought about how many calories are in treats but I guess even small portions can add up if you give your pup a bunch of these throughout the day. I’ve used Milkbones in the past because they’re usually at my grocery store and saves me a separate trip to the pet store but agreed, they are hard to break up into pieces, plus I had no idea they were packed full of preservatives, so I’ll probably switch to one of the more natural brands above like Zuke’s minis. And ordering online via Amazon means I can still save myself a trip to the pet store, thank you!
Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories and more. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.
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