If you could ask your puppy, he would probably tell you that he deserves even more treats than a big dog! Actually, there are treats made especially for puppies. After all, puppies go through a lot during their first year including teething and training.
Treats can be a great way to help your puppy chew on something other than your shoes. And they are terrific as a reward during training. We can tell you the 10 best treats for puppies right here.
What is the Best Puppy Treat?
Different uses for Puppy Treats
While you probably know that there are countless kinds of dog treats available, you may not know that there are also lots of different kinds of puppy treats. They range from dental chews to snacks to small training treats. Your puppy will probably be happy to eat any kind of treat you want to give him but here are a few recommendations for puppy treats and their different uses:
“If you’re not careful, treats can add a substantial amount of calories to your dog’s otherwise normal, healthy diet,” says Tami Pierce, DVM, clinical veterinarian at the University of California, Davis.
Treats as snacks – Snacks can be important between meals for Toy and small breed puppies, especially when they are still very young. Some very small puppies can’t regulate their blood sugar levels until they are a little older. Snacks between meals can help prevent hypoglycemia for tiny puppies.
Treats for teething – Treats for teething and dental chew sticks are very popular or puppies. Puppies have a complete set of “baby” or “milk” teeth by the time they are 8-10 weeks old. They’re very sharp but they are only temporary. They start getting their adult teeth when they are about four months old and should have all of their adult teeth by eight months. During this time your puppy can experience some discomfort from teething – just like a human child. Treats for teething and dental chew sticks can be a big help at this time.
Treats for training – Puppies need to learn good manners while they are young. It helps tremendously if your puppy learns some basic obedience lessons such as Sit, Come, Stay, Lie Down, and Heel/Walk on a Loose Leash. You can easily teach your puppy these lessons at home or find a good puppy class to join. Whatever you choose, it’s important to praise and reward your puppy whenever he gets things right. Using tiny treats as rewards is usually very effective in training a puppy, especially if you are using clicker training. The treats are very small so your puppy doesn’t fill up after repeating a lesson more than once.
Treats for crate training – Treats are a good way to encourage your puppy to go in his crate and learn that it’s a nice place. Place some tasty treats inside the crate and leave the door open. Let your puppy find them on his own. You can do this often. You don’t have to close the door. Let your puppy get used to the crate as a nice place to relax and nap.
Treats because you have the sweetest, cutest, best puppy in the world – Absolutely, you should give your puppy treats because you love him and can’t resist him when he looks at you asking for a treat. Just be careful that your puppy doesn’t become a little porker or a shark. (I try to make my puppies/dogs sit and behave nicely before giving them a treat just to remind them of their manners. Otherwise they can scrape the skin off my fingers when they take a treat from my hand!)
Different Forms of Treats for Puppies
Most of the companies that make treats for puppies also make treats for adult dogs. Consequently, the kinds of treats they make for puppies are generally similar to the adult treats.
We found the following kinds of puppy treats available on Chewy.com:
- Biscuits & Crunchy Treats
- Bully Sticks & Natural Chews
- Dental & Hard Chews
- Freeze-Dried Treats
- Soft & Chewy Treats
- Training Treats
Dental & Hard Chews led the way with the most treats followed by Biscuits & Crunchy Treats. Soft & Chewy Treats were next in number; then Training Treats. Finally, there were Freeze-Dried Treats and Bully Sticks & Natural Chews. All of these treats were listed for puppies.
Depending on how you are using the treats or if your puppy is teething, all of these different kinds of treats would be good choices. Even puppies that are teething can use both hard and soft treats at different times.
|Our 2023 Picks: Best Puppy Treats
Special Types of Puppy Treats
As with adult dog treats, puppy treats come in lots of different flavors. Many treats today are also grain free with no corn, wheat, or soy.
If your puppy needs a special diet, we found the following special types of puppy treats on Chewy.com:
- Gluten Freeze
- Grain Freeze
- High Protein
- No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy
Grain Free and No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy were the leading treats. They were followed by Gluten-Free treats and then by High Protein treats.
If you’re wondering why there are not more categories for puppies that need special diets, it could be because companies just don’t make a puppy version of their adult diets. For example, we looked up Natural Balance, a company famous for their limited ingredient diets (LID). They do make many different LID treats but none of them are labeled for puppies. There are no puppy treats on the company web site. If your puppy needs a limited ingredient treat, you can probably use the Natural Balance LID treats for dogs but, again, they are not labeled for puppies.
Does it matter if a treat is labeled for puppies? If you’re giving your puppy occasional treats, it probably doesn’t matter a lot though, ideally, it’s better to give treats labeled for puppies. There are no real rules or guidelines about treats though no one should use treats as a substitute for meals. Pet food treats don’t have to meet the same nutritional requirements that actual pet food has to meet. They are not expected to be “complete and balanced.” Per the FDA, a treat, snack, or supplement only has to say that it’s intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding and it should be conspicuously identified as a treat, snack, or supplement. So, don’t let your puppy fill up on treats and miss his regular meals. He won’t be getting the nutrition he needs from eating treats – though he will be getting calories.
Most Affordable Treats for Puppies
An old classic and one of our favorite treats, Old Mother Hubbard Classic Puppy Biscuits Mini Baked Dog Treats are oven-baked tiny dog biscuits that dogs love. These tiny treats are great for training – or just making your puppy happy. Naturally preserved with Vitamin E. Ingredients include oatmeal, chicken, flaxseed, apples, and carrots. Treats have 12 percent protein. Chewy.com has the 5-ounce bag or $2.79; or you can buy the 20-ounce bag for $7.19, $6.83 with autoship.
Most Popular Puppy Treats
Without question, the most popular puppy treats of any kind on Chewy.com are the Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Grain-Free Lamb & Salmon Recipe Dog Treats. With over 900 reviews, these treats are many times more popular than any other puppy treat on the web site. They are grain free with no corn, wheat, or soy. No meat by-products or dairy. No artificial colors or flavors. This is a lamb and salmon recipe with 15 percent protein. Has a natural source of DHA and omega-3. These small treats are perfect for training your puppy. Chewy has this 3-ounce bag for $4.41 or $4.19 with autoship.
8 More Really Good Puppy Treats
If your puppy is teething, try Nylabone Healthy Edibles Longer Lasting Puppy Turkey & Sweet Potato Flavor Dog Bone Treats. Gentle enough for puppies three months old and older. Safe for your puppy’s digestive system. The new formula has also removed soy meal from the Nylabones. No added sugar, salt, or artificial colors or preservatives. Enhanced with vitamins, minerals, DHA, and Omega-3. Nylabone has been making safe chewables for dogs and puppies for decades. Nylabone has other flavors for puppies, too. Chewy.com has a 4-count for $4.99 or $4.74 with autoship; or you can buy an 8-count for $9.03 or $8.58 with autoship.
The name Kong needs no introduction to dog lovers. These Kong Stuff’N Puppy Ziggies Dog Treats are a great savory snack for your puppy. They also freshen your puppy’s breath naturally with rosemary. The treats have a chewy, teeth-cleaning texture to help promote puppy dental health. Easy to digest and safe for snacking. You can also stuff them in a Kong rubber toy so your puppy can play with it and try to remove the treat. Made to satisfy your puppy’s chewing instincts. Contains 12 percent protein. A small count of 12 is available from Chewy.com for $9.99; or you can buy a large count of 6 for $9.99. Sorry, no autoship.
When your puppy is teething and his gums are sore, the N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring Chicken Flavor Dog Treats can help. The round shape is designed specifically for your puppy’s chewing needs – the shape gently massages your puppy’s gums. The chicken flavor appeals to most puppies. The formula is easy to digest and won’t hurt your puppy’s tummy. No corn, wheat, or soy. Chewy.com has a 3-count for $3.75 or $3.56 with autoship; or you can buy a 6-count for $7.25 or $6.89 with autoship.
Wellness has another popular treat with Wellness Grain Free Crunchy Puppy Bites Chicken & Carrots Recipe Dog Treats. These crunchy treats have 17 percent protein and chicken is the first ingredient. They are grain free with DHA and they have a natural source of Omega-3 to help with the development of your puppy’s brain and nervous system. The small size is perfect for training. Chewy.com has this 6-ounce bag for $4.49 or $4.27 with autoship.
Zuke’s Puppy Naturals Salmon & Chickpea Recipe Dog Treats feature real salmon as the first ingredient. They have added DHA and fatty acids to help your puppy grow. No gluten, corn, wheat, or soy. These treats have 15 percent protein. Zuke’s also comes in other popular flavors for puppies. Available on Chewy.com in a 5-ounce bag for $4.99 or $4.74 with autoship.
Made without corn, wheat, or soy, Diamond Naturals Puppy Biscuits with Chicken Meal Dog Treats have 15 percent protein. These are small, crunchy biscuits that feature chicken and salmon protein along with rolled oats and pearled barley. No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The small biscuits are perfect for training puppies or just offering a treat. Chewy has an 8-ounce bag for $4.99 or $4.74 with autoship; or you can buy a 19-lb box for $36.66 or $34.83 with autoship.
If you like the idea of feeding your puppy a very natural diet then you will probably love Sojos Simply Beef & Venison Freeze-Dried Dog Treats. These treats are 100 percent Freeze-Dried Beef & Venison Liver. The treats are 66 crude protein. They are simply raw beef and venison liver that’s been freeze-dried. Made in the USA from USDA-certified ingredients. The bag is tight and resealable so the freeze-dried treats will last for a long time. No preservatives and nothing artificial. Chewy.com has a 2.5 ounce bag of these treats for $9.99 or $9.49 with autoship.
If your puppy loves to chew, we can recommend the Barkworthies Puppy Variety Pack Natural Dog Chews. This variety pack contains five chews: 4″ Bully Stick, 6″ Gullet Stick, Rabbit Roll, Lamb Ear, Split Elk Antler. The chews are appropriately sized for puppies (use your own judgment if you have a very small or very large puppy). There are no rawhides in this package. If you have a puppy who can’t chew on things like Nylabones or some other chews because of their ingredients, these natural chews may be a good option. Be sure to watch your puppy with chews. If they develop sharp edges, they should be discarded right away. Chewy.com has this variety pack for $15.99 or $15.19 with autoship.
Whether you are looking for training treats or snacks or just some tasty treats to show your puppy how much you love him, there are all kinds of treats available. You can find soft treats, crunchy treats, treats for teething, and more. Your puppy will probably let you know which ones he likes best! Let your puppy be your guide.