January 07, 2022
From fluffy beds to personalized collars, you love spoiling your dog. You spare no expense when buying his food, his water bowls, and there’s always room for him to snuggle with you on the couch. Part of spoiling him means giving him treats when he’s behaving well. Not just then, but also when you need to train him to learn a new behavior or a new trick. Treats for dogs are a way to get your pup to adopt a new set of behaviors and they’re a fun way for you to reward him when he does the right thing. Dog treats are also a great way to return all that love that he gives you so freely. Of course, you want to treat him, but you also need to make sure you’re providing him with healthy treats that don’t just taste good, but that have ingredients that support his overall health.
The list of dog treats you can find online is endless. Some treats for dogs may be more palatable than others and some may be chock full of artificial ingredients and fillers that shouldn’t even be marketed as food. To help you on your quest to find the best dog treats, we put this list together that includes several different top dog treats made to satisfy any pup—even the pickiest of the bunch. Use them as training treats, for rewards, or just for enjoyment. We only picked reputable suppliers and dog treats with high-quality ingredients, so you can select only from the best. Toward the end of this article, we answer some of your frequently asked questions to keep you in the know on everything related to treats for dogs.
There is an entire sea of dog treat products available online and without creating a set of criteria to guide us, we would have drowned. To keep our search focused on only the best dog treats, we considered the following factors:
• Ingredients List
This is by far the most important consideration. Dog treats should not just be scrumptious, but they should also be packed with beneficial ingredients that support your beloved pup’s health. They shouldn’t be considered junk food for dogs, rather they should be helpful in supporting your pup, not just tantalizing his taste buds.
• Budget Friendliness
Sure, you could just stick with regular dog food and skip past the treats, but you’d be doing your dog a disservice. Having something different and extra palatable for your dog to enjoy is not just good for him, but it’s good for you to get the secondary sense of pleasure when you see his wagging tail. You can best support your pup with dog treats when they’re budget friendly. We created this list of best dog treats to provide you with a variety of options and price points.
• Customer Reviews
We love hearing stories about how much dogs love their treats. Pet owners don’t lie about their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with dog products. That’s why we always turn to the customer reviews—to get the real scoop!
Dogs have different preferences when it comes to flavors and textures. We created our list of best dog treats with a variety of different products, so no matter how picky your pup is, you can find a solid go-to set of dog treats.
• Multiple flavors and textures
• BPA-free packaging
• No preservatives or additives
• No added growth hormones
• Free local pickup only available in select locations
Just Food for Dogs focuses on healthy dog treats. This means that any one of their options is free from preservatives, additives, and added growth hormones. There are several different flavors that you can choose from, and they have different textures as well. You can try chicken breast treats, pumpkin treats, beef brisket treats, beef liver bark treats, venison treats, chicken apple bark treats, and or salmon bark treats. There’s never a shortage of new flavors to try. You can always count on real ingredients. For example, the chicken breast treats contain chicken breast only. The beef brisket treats contain beef brisket. If you go for the pumpkin treats, this is a low protein treat that’s hypoallergenic and doesn’t contain any animal protein. Instead, these treats contain whole food ingredients like whole wheat flour, pumpkin purée, blackstrap molasses, safflower oil, and cinnamon.
About the Company
Just Food for Dogs was founded by Shawn Buckley, who is a proud dog parent of a rescue named Simon. It was through his experiences with Simon that Shawn realized how heavily polluted dog food is with unnecessary and harmful ingredients for dogs. He made it his mission to cook food specifically for his dog and that mission turned into a passion to relentlessly advocate for pet health. Today, he runs Just Food for Dogs to drive change in the dog food industry and to make scientific evidence a guiding light with all their products.
Cost, Shipping, and Other Details
Prices differ depending on the type of treat you choose and the size you choose. For example, the chicken breast treats are available in a five ounce bag for $14.85. If you want to purchase an 18 ounce bag of chicken breast treats, then you can expect to pay $44.95. The pumpkin treats are available in a five ounce bag and cost only $9.95. You can choose a one-time purchase for any of these treats, or you can auto ship and save 35% off your first order and 5% off your recurring auto ship orders. Just Food for Dogs also offers a guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied with your first purchase for whatever reason, they’ll give you a full refund minus any shipping or delivery fees.
• Anti-allergen varieties
• Supports gut health
• Free carbon neutral shipping
• 100% satisfaction guarantee
• More expensive than other options and may not suit every budget
Chippin offers several different treats for your pup. There are smokehouse barbecue treats that contain pumpkin, carrots, and cricket protein. They’re also infused with omega 3s and can be used as healthy training treats or as a meal topper. They also have vegan natural dog treats that have all natural kale, flaxseed, carrot, and spirulina protein. These vegan dog treats can be used as a meal enhancer or healthy dog treats. They also offer great training treats that support your dog’s good health. It’s a tasty combination of banana, blueberries, and omega-3 rich cricket. If you’re not sure which treat to try first, try their variety pack, which includes all their available flavors.
About the Company
Chippin is all about sustainable dog foods. They recognize that the eco pawprint is real. Their primary interest is to save the earth—after all, it’s the only planet with dogs! They look to dog owners to “chip in” and help improve the planet with sustainable dog food and dog treat purchases. The US is the fifth largest meat consumer in the world and Chippin is working to change that. That’s why they’ve created products that use 80% fewer resources than all the other options you see in today’s market.
Cost, Shipping, and Other Details
Chippin dog treats come in five ounce pouches that contain 30 treats each. You can purchase a two pack for $15.99 or a four pack of your dog’s favorite flavor for $31.96. If you choose to subscribe and save, you’ll get 20% off your total and get your treats delivered every four weeks. If you’re interested in trying out different flavors at once, go for their variety pack which is $31.96. It’s always better to subscribe, that way you save more over the long run. However, if you’re not ready to commit to regular deliveries, you can always select a one-time purchase before you add the treats to your cart. They offer free carbon neutral shipping and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
• Recommended by veterinarians
• Teenie size for small dogs
• Supports oral health
• Shipping is only free for orders over $49
Greenies makes fresh teenie dental dog treats perfectly sized for dogs between five and 15 pounds. These are vet recommended for dental care and include a patented ingredient system that helps to freshen breath. These treats are made so that they can bend for a deeper clean down to the gum line instead of breaking when your pet bites into them. They’re made with natural ingredients plus vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. They’re very easy to digest because all the ingredients are highly soluble. Without dental support, your dog can develop disease-causing plaque and tartar but with these tasty chews, your dog has the appropriate texture and hardness that helps to keep his teeth clean. Reduce the frequency of professional dental cleanings with these treats and enjoy the real dried spearmint that leaves your pup’s breath smelling extra fresh and clean.
About the Company
Greenies are specially formulated by a team of PhD animal nutritionists. They’re made to be delicious and nutritious offering natural ingredients along with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. You can give these to your dog daily to keep them at their best and you can also trust that Greenies makes all their products in the USA without any artificial flavors, preservatives, or fillers. These dental treats work with mechanical action that’s very similar to the way your toothbrush works on your teeth. These treats are designed to scrape the surface of your dog’s teeth and help remove plaque and tartar before it has a chance to accumulate and lead to periodontal disease.
Cost, Shipping, and Other Details
These teenie dental dog treats come in a pouch of 43 treats and cost $14.98. You can choose an auto ship and save an extra 5%. On the Chewy website, you get free one to three day shipping on orders over $49, so you can stock up on any other dog products while you’re shopping for treats. Greenies also offers a customer satisfaction guarantee so you can always shop their products with confidence.
• Bacon flavor dog treat
• Just three calories per treat
• Moist texture won’t crumble
• Ideal training treats
• Some dog owners don’t like the smell, but their dogs enjoy them
Pet Botanics offers training treats that are bacon flavored with 3 calories per treat. They come in a 20 ounce bag that contains approximately 500 treats. These are recommended by thousands of professional trainers because they’re perfectly sized to be provided as training treats. You can keep these in your pocket or your treat bag and reinforce behavior as you go. They’re made to be healthy and nutritious, containing real pork liver that’s also enhanced with BotaniFits, a natural nutrient blend. These aren’t the type of treats that crumble or break in your pocket, rather they’re bite sized chews with a moist texture that your dog will love. They’re suitable for breeds of all sizes!
About the Company
Pet Botanics is a company dedicated to pets, people, and the planet. They operate with consistency, so that you always have safe and high-quality products for your pup. They use botanical ingredients to enhance their product formulas and focus on using real animal meats as the first ingredient in their formulas.
Cost, Shipping, and Other Details
The 20 ounce bag of 500 treats costs $9.61 and with an auto ship, you can save an extra 5%. Since these are purchased on the Chewy website, you can stock up on different treats or dog food to take your total up to $49 so that you qualify for free shipping. Otherwise, you can expect to pay a nominal fee for shipping. Every one of the products offered by Pet Botanics contains real meat first and then carefully selected ingredients that provide your dog with powerful benefits like improved digestion and immune system support. If you’re the type of pet owner who engages in responsible purchases for your pet, you’ll love that they use nature's resources to help you care for your pup.
• Made with bacon, egg, and cheese
• No chicken by-product meals
• Good for dogs with allergies
• Over-baked with no artificial preservatives
• Not intended as training treats but can be broken up into smaller pieces
Blue Buffalo makes health bars that are baked with bacon, egg, and cheese. They feature real meat, wholesome grains, fruits, and vegetables in a crunchy bar. You’ll never find any meat or bone meal, no BHA, and no wheat and any other products. You will, however, notice they are enhanced with vitamins and antioxidants. These dog treats are intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only. They come in a 16 ounce bag or a 3.5 pound box. They’re suitable for all breed sizes and are great for dogs that have food allergies because they don’t contain any corn, wheat, or soy. Instead, they’re packed with omegas and antioxidant support to help your puppy's immune system and encourage healthy skin and a shiny coat.
About the Company
Blue Buffalo believes your dogs should be fed like family. This is why they have a whole nutritional philosophy because quality ingredients are only the beginning. They follow through with their promise to provide high-quality food and treats for your pet because it all started with the love for a family dog named blue. Since day one, they’ve kept corn, wheat, soy, and poultry by-product meals out of their recipes. Since 2003 when they were founded, they’ve always used high-quality ingredients with real meat for their natural dog treats. They have two state of the art US manufacturing facilities and all of their products undergo a rigorous six point quality check. They have taken their work a step further, delving into philanthropic initiatives and partnerships that their dog, blue, inspired over the years.
Cost, Shipping, and Other Details
On the Chewy website, you can purchase a 16 ounce bag of Blue Buffalo health bars for $3.87. If you find that your dog loves these dog treats, you can purchase a 3.5 pound box of treats for $13.90. Shipping is free when you spend $49, and you should always check for special deals; sometimes you can buy three and get one free!
Dogs tend to love dog treats that are high in sugar or high in fat or both. Because of this, many dogs may experience weight gain that leads to obesity if you’re not careful when selecting the right treats. It’s easy to lose track of how many treats you’re giving out in a day unless you’re carefully counting them out beforehand or limiting them for certain days in the month or certain behaviors. Choosing the best dog treats, even if they’re low calorie treats, isn’t just about selecting a product your dog loves. In fact, you don’t even have to buy gourmet dog treats. You have many options; just be sure you know what not to buy. Below, we share what you should consider when searching for the best dog treats.
Healthy dog treats include additional nutrients that support your dog’s health and there are also treats designed to help promote good oral health as well. Treats that double as healthy foods are some of the best dog treats you can purchase.
To keep your dog from getting overweight, when you give him dog treats, you should know how many calories are in each treat. Subtract the number of calories that you give through dog treats from his regular meals to prevent him from overindulging. A good rule of thumb is to keep treats at less than 10% of your dog’s overall diet.
If your primary reason for purchasing dog treats is because you’re working on training and reinforcement, then it’s important you choose treats that he can gobble up quickly. You can easily provide a treat that he chews up and swallows quickly and then move onto the next reinforcement. However, if it’s a treat that takes him a while to chew on and savor, then this will impede your training progress. However, those treats that take a long time to savor and devour serve their own purpose. For example, if you’re crate training, giving your dog a long-lasting treat can help him feel safe and secure in his new environment and will keep him busy as he becomes acquainted.
Consider your dog’s oral health and decide if crunchy treats might be better for tartar and plaque prevention or if he might need a softer texture because he’s an older dog.
A strong smelling treat might be a little off-putting for you, but it can be fantastic for your dog. Especially treats that have ingredients like cheese or bacon—they are like the holy grail of treats for dogs. These stinky treats can also help to get your dog’s attention right away. If you’re training in an outdoor location where there are other dogs and other pet owners, having a strong smelling treat to turn to for getting your dog’s attention can be super helpful.
Don’t be afraid to change it up. Just because your dog has a particularly favorite treat, or you’ve gotten used to buying from the same supplier does not mean that adding variety into the mix is a bad thing. In fact, your dog may become bored with the same types of dog treats, and he’ll lose his sense of enthusiasm if that happens. To keep him enticed and excited, try different varieties. Sometimes peanut butter flavors or sweet potato scents will do the trick, and other times your dog will crave a meaty treat.
The total number of treats that you provide your dog with varies based on how many calories each treat has. Just like a human diet, your dog has a certain daily caloric intake and the treats you provide him should not go past 10% of his daily caloric needs. Unlike human diets that have a standard 2000 calories per day suggestion, dogs come in all different shapes and sizes and will have a completely different set of caloric needs depending on their activity levels as well. That said, if you’re not sure what your dog’s daily caloric intake should be, ask your vet. Your vet will be able to provide the most precise information based on your dog’s lifestyle and his size. Ultimately, if you’ve only been feeding your dog regular dog food and now you are going to incorporate dog treats, make sure that you reduce the total dog food amount that you provide in a day to make room for the additional treats! Remember the 10% rule and you’ll be good to go!
Unfortunately, the dog food market is riddled with products that are made to appeal to dogs—not necessarily made to support their health. Sometimes the flavors like peanut butter or bacon (even sweet potato!) are completely artificial—and what’s the point of that? Below are some of the items you should look for when shopping for dog treats to make sure that you protect your pet when you’re looking to reward them with something tasty.
Products Made Outside the U.S.
Because outsourced ingredients can be more cost-effective for the company, many suppliers have their products made in places like China. Although not every product made in China is potentially harmful to your pet, when you see a label for a dog product that points to manufacturing that’s out of the country, you should look very closely at the ingredients label. The FDA has investigated several dog treats supplied from China that have been harmful to dogs, creating severe health conditions like Fanconi Syndrome (FLS). To stay on the safe side, choose treats that are made in the US.
Rawhide is often sourced from cows and is the inner layer of that animal’s skin. Sometimes artificial flavors are included to make these chew toys more appealing to dogs, but these types of treats and toys can contain toxic ingredients that make your dog sick and that may also even cause an obstruction. As an alternative, go for 100% meat dog treats and chews.
Even though dental sticks can be helpful with cleaning your dog’s teeth, they’re packed with so many ingredients that it’s just not worth it. Most of the ingredients included in these dental sticks are unnecessary and may actually do more harm than good.
The best way to prevent the purchase of dog treats that are bad for your dog is to know what to look for. If you’re seeing a dog food label that has an ambiguous ingredients list, put that bag right back where you found it. Companies that are transparent about the ingredients they use, and that go the extra mile to incorporate additional nutrients for coat, joint, and skin health are the ones doing it right. Look for human grade ingredients, organic ingredients whenever possible, and also free range ingredients. Avoid any fattening carbohydrates, any artificial flavors, and harmful additives, like maltodextrin.
When you give your pup a dog treat, he is filled with joy and in turn, so are you. These moments can be as simple as peanut butter treats that keep him savoring long after he’s done or they can be more focused, like training treats to help encourage good behavior and make him the best at performing special tricks! There are plenty of dog treats for you to select from, and now that you know which brands come out on top and which ingredients to avoid, you’re all set to place an order and surprise your favorite four-legged friend.