Best Natural Dog Treats
Unhealthy dog treats can harm your dog's health and potentially decrease its lifespan. Top experts recommend these nutritious dog treats to make dogs happier and live longer.
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All dog owners concur that the exuberant tail wags brought on by treats are a reward in and of themselves. Whether they are used for training, rewarding excellent behaviour, or simply because your pooch is so adorable, healthy dog treats offer wonderful methods to show our pets that we care. For our largest dog breeds to the smallest dog breeds, we thus search for the greatest dog treats we can locate.
But pet care experts also understand that improper treats lead to an imbalanced diet. Despite the fact that your dog may enjoy bacon, obese dogs have shorter lifespans—up to two years shorter—and are more likely to develop conditions like pancreatitis, diabetes, and arthritis.
I've spoken to thousands of dog lovers and other dog specialists over the years as a certified animal behavior consultant. I contacted 50 of my colleagues, who are dog experts, to find out which treats they thought were the best. Commercial treat alternatives are fantastic if you know what to look for and what to avoid, even though many people make their own natural dog food and treat (more on that below).
There are several dog treats available that are unhealthy for your dog's health because they are heavy in fat and contain artificial preservatives. Check out this list if you're worried about your dog's weight or are simply seeking for a better option.
Many dogs have a strong focus on food. Their powerful nostrils can detect the aroma of something delectable faster than you can say “sit,” and their ears perk up at the sound of a packet rustling. Due to their love of food, training dogs with treats is usually relatively simple, but there is always the concern that giving them too many goodies would result in weight gain or an imbalanced diet.
The greatest healthy dog treats for training, ideal for teaching everything from a dependable recall to your dog's next big fancy trick, are detailed in this list. Treats should always be included in your dog's daily ration, and to balance it out, meals should be smaller.
Although it's uncommon, dogs can become allergic or sensitive to foods like chicken, beef, or maize and experience itchy skin or stomach problems. Because of this, it's crucial to only offer them the greatest, most high-quality treats and to monitor the impact of any dietary changes. In light of this, I've included the top healthy dog treats below.
Dog experts advise avoiding dog treats that include chemical preservatives or excessive amounts of fat (over 25%). Ingredient percentage analyses by weight must always be included on labels, with the ingredients with the highest indicated quantities first. To determine the actual percentage of fat, you might require a converter. Since American-manufactured sweets often have better safety control than those made in China, experts favour them.
Look for ingredients with a single source. Protein products that are freeze-dried or dehydrated, for instance, are well-liked by dogs and contain a lot of nourishment in small amounts. Dehydrated fruits and vegetables satisfy the dog's desire to chew and endure a long time without using many preservatives. Many experts and pet parents favour foods made for human use or goods created under similar circumstances.
The greatest practices for your new puppy might not be the best for an elderly dog, and canine athletes have different requirements, according to veterinarians. The appropriate treat for your dog will rely on both his particular demands and preferences. Ask your veterinarian for advice, particularly if your dog has health issues that affect what she should eat. Also, remember that if Fido refuses to eat it, even the healthiest dog treat is useless.
Freshpet Dog Joy is a tasty dog treat for adult dogs of all sizes. It contains only fresh, complete meat and vegetables, require refrigeration and has no preservatives. It has a fresh scent and comes in various shapes and flavours, with carrots, peas, and other fresh ingredients clearly evident in each. The treats, which resemble Vienna sausages somewhat, can be broken into smaller portions for smaller dogs or given whole to larger puppies.
Many of the pet specialists I talked to, including veterinarian Dr. Lore Haug of Texas Veterinary Behavior Services and certified dog behaviour consultant Greta Kaplan of Fuzzy Logic Dog Training, gave Freshpet high praise. The Freshpet Dog Joy treats helped me train Magic, my German Shepherd. For this nutritious dog treat, he would almost perform a backflip.
- Unprepared and uncooked fresh delight
- High palatability: Picky dogs appear to enjoy them.
- Offers tiny treat portions in chicken, turkey, and bacon flavours.
- Available at Walmart and target negatives
- Not always available in local stores
Many dog experts advise using fresh or even raw foods. Instinct Raw Boost Freeze-Dried Food Topper, which uses raw, entire ingredients, is a good choice for a specific commercial product.
The freeze-dried morsels, advertised as a “food topper” for your dog's regular commercial meal, are ideal for nutritious dog training rewards and feature raw meat, fruit, and vegetables. One-eighth of a cup, the recommended serving size, is sufficient for 56 training sessions. Bravo-Dawg, a 120-pound Bullmastiff, enjoyed every tiny morsel—and the attention that came with it—that we gave him as treats.
- Affordable: The 56 servings in a 14-ounce box cost around 50 cents each. Food is naturally preserved by freeze-drying, which also makes morsels simpler to handle.
- No requirement for refrigeration
- Available in three flavours: chicken, lamb, and beef
- Easy to transport and not messy
- More than 1,000 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4.7 stars
- Available at Petco, Petsmart, Amazon, Chewy, and
- Fewer calories than other goodies
- Not as fragrant. Thus it might not be appealing to all dogs
Despite popular belief, dogs enjoy fish just as much as cats do. These Ocean Chews from the Honest Kitchen offer crunch and a fishy flavour without additional ingredients. Although Cat Lane, an animal nutrition and education expert, prefers to prepare her own nutritious dog treats, she also suggests the Honest Kitchen snacks.
Products like Ocean Chews are renowned for providing companion animals with nutritious nourishment since they are made with human-grade ingredients in a human-grade kitchen. These snacks are produced from real fish skins, frequently folded twice to give the teeth a nice width to chew on. They are a viable option for pets with food sensitivities to other components like chicken or beef.
- Contains only one ingredient: skins from wild-caught, sustainably-sourced Wolffish fish.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are present for healthy skin and fur.
- Easily absorbed
- Made in America
- 2,000+ Amazon reviews with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5
- Available from Petco, Chewy, and Amazon
- Although humans won't likely enjoy the strong smell, dogs will, so after handling, re-seal in a bag and wash your hands.
- Smaller dogs might require the reward to be broken up into smaller portions to prevent choking.
Dog trainers adore The Real Meat Company for the high calibre of its goods and the range of meaty treats it offers. These snacks are the favourites of Pat Miller, a professional dog trainer and behaviour consultant at Peaceable Paws LLC, and Eva Gellert, the general manager of WagnSwim, a pet swimming and exercise facility.
A distinct protein source is particularly advantageous for dogs who react negatively to popular foods like chicken, beef, or lamb. Free-range deer and wild-caught fish are used in the California-based Jerky Fish & Venison Treat. Reviewers with dogs with food allergies highly compliment this treat because it doesn't make their pets itch.
- Natural protein free from allergies to satisfy food-sensitive dogs
- Dog-pleasing flavour, little pieces are ideal for training
- More than 350 reviews on Amazon, with a 4.8 overall rating
- The Real Meat Company is offered on Amazon.
- Sizes may differ across batches.
- Some reviewers noticed a dry quality when the snacks should have been wet.
My thirty-pound Shadow-Pup weighs far less than many small dogs. They have big-dog attitudes and deserve tasty, secure food despite having tiny jaws. Large morsels also contain too many calories, and they can't handle the size of big-dog treats (and might even choke!).
Purebites Mini Trainers can help with that. Your toy poodle, Yorkshire terrier, or new puppy won't need bigger bites since Purebites Mini Trainers are made especially for little dog breeds. The freeze-dried raw, single-source ingredient cubes are available in various flavours.
- 300 snacks per 3-ounce package offer good value.
- About 1 calorie per treat
- Some flavour options are raw cow liver, chicken breast, and lamb liver.
- Made in the USA with ingredients obtained from the United States
- Accessible through Chewy and Petco
- Expect some waste from the crumbles at the bag's bottom.
These nutritious, single-source rabbit treats provide a different kind of protein source in bite-sized nibbles. Vital Essential dog treats are suggested by Alix Mitchell, a certified dog trainer, veterinary technician, and host of the podcast Fetch For Me, Human.
The only ingredients in the Rabbit Bites Freeze-Dried Dog Treats are rabbit meat, organs, and pulverized bone, all of which are acquired domestically. The kibble-shaped treats are no bigger than a thumb. To appease even the pickiest dog, Vital Essentials also provides a variety of meaty treats, including beef and fish. Even cats appear to enjoy them.
- The treats come in tastes like rabbit, cow, duck, lamb, or fish and contain ground bone and essential organs.
- To maintain nutrition, raw components are freeze-dried.
- Made in America
- More than 350 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4.7 stars
- Obtainable through Amazon Chewy
- Although some reviewers mention a strong scent, dogs generally enjoy this.
My Shadow-Pup insists on having one of these Barkworthies Beef Trachea treats daily. Dehydrated beef trachea provides a pleasing chew, is simple to handle, and is naturally preserved. Its breadth fluctuates, measures between 6 and 8 inches, and resembles the cardboard that makes up a roll of paper towels.
Dogs love to chew, but raw bones can be unhygienic or dangerous and shatter teeth. This lasts longer than individual treats and offers a safe compromise for teeth. It's great for moderate chewers but watch them closely because larger dogs could choke on larger bits. Shadow eats one of the trachea pieces in around twenty minutes, and we normally chop them into two or three pieces to make them last longer.
- Natural remedy
- 100% digestible and derived from grass-fed, free-range cows
- Natural glucosamine and chondroitin source with advantages for joint health
- Advantages for oral health
- More than 250 Chewy reviews with an overall rating of 4.4 stars
- Available from EntirelyPets and Chewy
- Powerful aroma
- Oily and potentially staining for carpets or furniture
- Must be in charge of preventing choking risks.
Another treat that my professional trainer buddies highly recommend is ZIWI Peak products. Many of the ingredients used in the American-made product, which is recognized for its high-quality lamb meat, are sourced from New Zealand.
The main components are organic kelp, green mussels from New Zealand, and 96% free-range beef (a seaweed superfood). Additionally, the tripe included in the treats has naturally occurring anti-inflammatory qualities that can ease achy joints. Don't forget to try these organic dog treats for your pet as well.
- Made in America
- It consists of pet “superfoods” to increase mobility
- 900+ Amazon reviews with an average rating of 4.6/5
- Chewy is obtainable from Amazon.com
- Not all dogs like them
Fortunately, dogs with a little too much pudge can still enjoy snacks since it's difficult to resist those adorable puppy dog eyes! Some dogs can experience pancreatitis, which is made worse by a diet high in fat. You can treat with the Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Minnows without worrying.
The dog may take advantage of all the health benefits of the minnows, which resemble sardines and can be eaten whole. Additionally, at 13%, they have far less fat than the average of many other snacks. Cats also enjoy them, but your dog will probably not want to share.
- The entire freeze-dried fish is crunchy, tasty, and smells well enough for dogs.
- Dogs with sensitive stomachs or dietary needs use only a few hormones and antibiotics.
- There is no need to chill
- 460 reviews on Chewy, averaging 4.6 out of 5 stars
- Available on Chewy and Amazon
- For human consumption, store in a sealed container.
Many of my coworkers feed their pets raw, cooked, or dehydrated sweet potatoes. Whole Dog Camp's owner and trainer, Jenny Yasi, provides portions of raw sweet potato to her dogs. Here is a commercial version that both reviewers and dogs praise highly.
Dehydrated, thick-cut orange sweet potato slices are the main ingredient of Brutus & Barnaby Sweet Potato Dog Treats, which come in 8-ounce, 14-ounce, 2-pound, and 5-pound bags.
They take a moderately addicted chewer dog some time to finish because they are chewy and not brittle. The treat offers natural fibre and vitamins with no added sugar or fat, and many dogs enjoy the flavour. These additional vegetables are safe for dogs to eat.
- Nothing added
- Both dogs and humans will like the scent.
- More than 4,500 Amazon reviews, with an overall rating of 4.4 stars
- Brutus & Barnaby are accessible on Amazon.
- can leave a stain on a dog's white mouth fur.
- Always oversee rewards since gulping dogs risk getting chunks caught in their teeth.
We've all encountered dogs who refuse meals and any treats you've ever given them. That makes exercise challenging and could also affect a healthy diet. Instead of overeating, these fussy dogs should consume more food. But even resistant dogs are gobbling up K9 Natural Lamb Green Tripe Booster, a nutritious dog treat.
Brae Raphael, a head dog trainer at Dog River Pet Supplies, says the pickiest dogs enjoy this stinky treat, and it's beneficial for sensitive tummies. Although tripe—the stomach of grazing animals like cows and sheep—sounds disgusting to humans, dogs can benefit greatly from it in terms of their health. The freeze-dried, lightweight pellets, created as a meal “topper” to entice picky eaters, are excellent for training or simply treating your dog.
- No fillers or additions
- Made with lamb from New Zealand that has been allowed to roam freely.
- It contains organic probiotics and digestive-enhancing enzymes
- You can get your money back if your dogs don't adore it.
- More than 600 reviews on Amazon, with a 4.8 overall rating
- Offered on Amazon, Chewy, and Petflow
- Keep in a resealable container because it stinks to the high sky
13. Homemade Dog Treats
Our puppy Sadie gets homemade beef lung treats and beef jerky made in our dehydrator.
Many pet professionals have their own homemade dog treat recipes that they make using real, seasonal ingredients. Fresh vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, cucumber, and fruit healthy for pets like blueberries, are suggested (my Doodle pup loves fresh melon and apple slices).
It's also advisable to include organ meats like lungs, heart, and single-source protein items like fish, poultry, venison, or rabbit. Be easy on the liver treats because they contain too much vitamin A.
Dog trainers frequently dehydrate fresh foods to create portable options, turning, for instance, green beans into crunchy snacks. You can freeze small portions of single-ingredient meat or fruit baby food to make lickable, healthful puppy treats for “pup-sicle” fun. Healthy human delicacies can also make dogs lick their lips with joy.
- Natural—nothing artificial
- You choose the components.
- Dogs enjoy nibbling on human food.
- You must be aware of what dogs may and cannot consume. For instance, did you know that grapes are poisonous to dogs?
- For safety, proteins must be boiled or dehydrated.
- Unfinished or gnawed vegetables can be messy.
14. Additional Treats
1. Use Dry Food As Treats
An excellent nutritious dog treat can be made from your dog's usual dry food. This is a good option for overweight dogs on low-fat diets or other pets on special diets due to underlying health issues.
To use for training rewards on that particular day, portion out a portion of their regular intake and store it in a pot. You may also try utilizing dog puzzles or a toy that dispenses food to allow your dog to eat, learn, and play all at once.
2. Boiled Or Steamed Lean Meat
Try some lean meat if you need high-reward dog treats for training when you really need to get their attention. The easiest way to prepare plain, boiled chicken breast—without any oil or seasoning—is to cut it into tiny pieces about the size of your little fingernail.
Chicken contains enough of omega-6 fatty acids, which support good skin and hair, in addition to being easy on the majority of stomachs. Due to its high omega-3 fatty acid content, salmon is occasionally given to dogs as a healthful treat.
This should only be given to dogs who have never had pancreatitis in very modest amounts due to the greater fat content. Make sure to stay away from processed meats with extra salt.
3. Peanut Butter
Never give your dog peanut butter that has been salted, sweetened, or artificially sweetened. Even though it goes by many names, such as Birch sugar and E967, xylitol is very dangerous. Don't give it to your dog.
However, a teaspoon of unsweetened, additive-free peanut butter can be placed into a Kong for a terrific diversion or used sparingly as a dog treat for training. Peanut butter contains many vitamins and nutrients and is an excellent source of protein. You can even buy peanut butter especially made for your dogs.
In this article, I shared a list of excellent natural treats. Now you have a wide range of choices for your dog to train and treat them with healthy and 100% natural treats.
I trust you enjoyed this article on the Best Natural Dog Treats. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly. Take care!
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