Healthiest Dog Treats : 10 Best Options That Are Good For Your Dog

We love our dogs and want the best for them. They love treats, and we love to give them, but sometimes those treats can add excess weight, cause food pickiness, and could affect the teeth and digestive system.

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You’ve overhauled your food, and now it’s time to consider what’s going into those treats. Your dog may have decadent treats every once in a while, but offering a healthier alternative to crackers from the people table or endless bully sticks could be a way to bring your dog’s health back under control.

Just like with their food, it’s important to pay attention to the ingredients in your dog’s treats. If you are trying to cut out grains, certain allergens, or help your dog’s sensitive stomach, it’s great to consider those things when purchasing their treats, not just their food.

There are more alternatives to the traditional treats than you might think, and here we take a look at some of the best healthy treats for your dog, so you can continue to improve your dog’s health and quality of life with everything you feed them.

What is the Best Dog Treat?

Different Uses For Healthy Treats

There are lots of different reasons to give your dog a treat. Your dog loves them is at the top of the list, but other situations can help stretch the usefulness of treats and help you get more use out of them if they aren’t exactly in the budget category. Plus, a range of tools to help take care of your dog is a great option.

Snack Treats – Dogs get hungry just like we do. If you notice that your dog has an energy slump in the afternoon right around the time you reach for that mid-afternoon snack, you may use a treat to help perk up energy until it’s time for dinner. Treats that are holistic offer a natural energy base that can round out vitamins and antioxidants for the day. Snack treats should never interfere with your dog’s meals, so remove them if your dog stops eating food at mealtime.

Dental Care Treats – Chewing helps keep teeth clean and condition gums. If your dog is on a diet other than kibble exclusively, the treats can help scrape off excess plaque and freshen breath while encouraging saliva production that kills harmful bacteria. These treats aren’t a substitute for dental checkups and brushing, but they can help in between sessions.

Training Treats – Whether your dog is old or young, it can always learn a new trick. In fact, teaching your dog new tricks could help keep up healthy brain activity and relieve boredom. Training treats should be small enough not to interfere with mealtimes but big enough that they’re enticing to work for.

Treats For Good Dogs – Treats don’t have to be utilitarian. They can also help you and your dog bond or encourage good behavior. They can also help with situations in which your dog may have anxiety or previous bad behavior.

Different Forms Of Healthy Treats

Healthy treats don’t have to be plain and boring. The word healthy may conjure up visions of plain, square-shaped cardboard, but in reality, many healthy treats come in many forms that your dog may love. Let’s take a look at a few.

Holistic treats offer the most bang for your buck because they’re designed to help your dog feel more energy, fewer allergies, gain softer skin, or support digestion. These treats are designed to work with your dog’s food to help provide an extra benefit above and beyond the basic treat.

Please be careful when you give treats to dogs with allergies. Dogs can still be allergic to the same things in treats, negating your special foods or limited ingredient diets. If your dog doesn’t do well on gluten or poultry, don’t accidentally reintroduce that into your dog’s diet through a treat.

It also may be best to alternate hard and soft treats to provide interest and help strengthen the teeth. Hard treats can help remove plaque and condition gums while soft treats are crowd pleasers and suitable for training or just for fun. Having a variety of treats on hand can help your dog feel interested and make treats all that more exciting. There’s nothing worse than a boring treat.

Special Types of Treats

  • Grain Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Freeze Dried Raw
  • Limited Ingredient
  • Holistic
  • Calming

If your dog has particular diet issues, a limited ingredient treat that cuts out common food allergens can continue to help your dog feel comfortable and encourage proper digestion and smooth skin. The same applies to gluten free or grain free diets. Creating some consistency across your dog’s food and treats can help cut down on adverse reactions.

If your dog is already on a raw based diet, freeze dried raw treats can help maintain that high-quality diet without you having to create treats yourself. They’re easy to store and serve. Plus, they contain all the nutrients of raw meat that your dog loves and helps your dog thrive.

Holistic treats can help treat difficulties your dog has with health and well-being. If your dog has digestive issues, for example, you might be able to help condition your dog’s naturally dry skin or provide extra probiotics to smooth out digestion.

Calming treats can help your dog work through anxiety and have a better time sleeping. These types of calming treats often include hemp plus things like melatonin or tryptophan to help ease your dog’s anxiety and bring a sense of order for the nervous dog’s mind. They should be given cautiously and make sure you discuss them with your vet before you begin.

Here are our top 10 picks:

Most Affordable Healthy Treats – American Journey Lamb Recipe Grain-Free Baked Treats

American Journey specializes in premium foods and treats for highly affordable prices. It uses wholesome ingredients to help build health and well-being without interfering with your dog’s appetite or desire to eat.

It’s a grain free, high protein recipe that uses real lamb as the first ingredient. A healthy fat provides energy and helps soothe skin while fruits and vegetables give your dog critical vitamins and minerals require for things like healthy eyes and bones.

The texture is easy for most dogs to chew because it’s oven baked, a process that helps preserve the natural ingredients while removing pathogens and bacteria. They have a satisfying crunch, and they’re small enough to fit into your pocket, making them suitable for a range of breed sizes.

They’re grain free and use no cheap fillers such as corn or soy, which can cause adverse reactions. There is no low-quality meat by-product meals and no artificial colors or flavors. These are highly affordable treats and make an excellent training or anytime treat.

They do contain peas in the recipe which is an ingredient shown possibly to cause an enlarged heart in some cases. Discuss this risk with your veterinarian especially if your dog is also on a grain free food high in peas, potatoes, and legumes.

Most Popular Healthy Treats – Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Salmon Biscuits

Blue Buffalo’s food is a very popular premium food, and their treats do not disappoint. They use a grain free recipe designed to help ease digestion while using a complete protein source. The first ingredient is salmon, followed by chicken meal, a concentrated protein source. Together, they provide a densely nutritious protein-based snack that can help get your dog through the afternoon slump.

Healthy fats support the skin and coat while the texture of the treat taps into a dog’s natural love of anything crunchy. It uses plenty of healthy fats preserved naturally, so the treats don’t go rancid quickly. Plus, they use no cheap fillers such as corn or soy and no artificial ingredients. These two things can cause digestive issues. They’re also gluten-free.

These treats are suitable for dogs in a restrictive diet or those who are on a solely meat-based diet. These can be given for training treats if you break them up but they’re best for occasional fun treats or given as a reward for something important. They’re only meat, a healthy fat, and an assortment of vitamins to help them support things like the immune system and provide energy.

8 More Really Good Dog Treats

Merrick Power Bites Real Texas Beef Soft, Grain Free Chews

Merrick’s treats are a premium style treat made from real deboned beef plus healthy fats for a little pick me up for your dog. Fresh fruits and vegetables give plentiful vitamins and minerals to help with building healthy immunity and easing digestion.

They’re antioxidant rich and use only responsibly sourced, local ingredients for the healthiest snack around. They contain no artificial colors or flavors and no cheap fillers such as corn or soy. They also contain no grains or gluten that can upset your dog’s tummy and are suitable for dogs on a limited ingredient diet.

They do contain brown sugar so make sure that you don’t feed them too often. They’re great for when your dog has a particularly grueling day and could use something to help sustain energy until the next meal time. Working or sporting dogs could find these treats particularly useful in that regard because the small bit of sugar works with your dog’s natural energy stores.

They use rosemary extract for extra healthful benefits. Make sure you talk to your vet about the use of potatoes and peas. However, they’re a rich source of protein and energy and should be excellent for occasional treats and rewards.

Ziwipeak Good Dog Rewards Air Dried Lamb Treats

Ziwipeak uses a unique air-drying process that helps keep raw meat healthy and safe. It removes bacteria and pathogens without destroying the naturally healthy benefits of raw. If your dog is already on raw or on a meat-based diet, these could be a great way to get a little more protein in or to boost working dogs’ energy during a slump.

The protein comes from real lamb and lamb organs while New Zealand Green Mussels provide a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health. This is especially important for working dogs because the joints can take a beating during heavy working days.

Vitamins and minerals along with a few herbs support the immune system, protect the eyes, condition the skin, and help ease digestion. They’re low calorie and contain no grains, corn, soy, or artificial ingredients. There are also no peas or potatoes.

The treats are a bit on the expensive side, but for occasional treats that you give to your dog or an energy booster for working dogs, they’re a great option. Make sure you pay attention to how many your dog gets so that you don’t overfeed your dog.

Get Naked Digestive Health Dental Chews

If your dog has trouble with its teeth, this chew stick can help scrape off plaque and tartar build up. It also supports the digestive system by providing pre and probiotics that improve beneficial gut flora and help reduce inflammation.

They’re very high in dietary fiber so your dog won’t feel some of the digestive issues as some dental chews. They’re chicken flavored, and a real crowd pleaser with a satisfying mouthfeel that dogs can work on for a while.

They use potatoes and vegetables with chicken flavor so they’re low calorie and shouldn’t interfere with your dog’s meal time if they’re fed intermittently. If you’re worried about potatoes and your dog’s heart health, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about how to approach the risk.

Otherwise, healthy herbs provide extra antioxidants good for your dog’s digestion and skin. They’re gluten free and don’t use corn or soy, so your dog should be able to enjoy them even if it’s allergic to those types of cheap fillers.

They’re low in calories but high in fiber. However, make sure you consider how often you provide treats, so you don’t accidentally overfeed your dog. Also, make sure you still brush your dog’s teeth and get regular checkups.

Ark Naturals Gray Muzzle Senior Dog Treats Joint Health

These treats from Ark Naturals are a great way to help reduce inflammation and discomfort from old joints. They’re full of glucosamine and chondroitin, both of which are thought to help ease pain and possibly rebuild cartilage and cushioning in older joints.  Green mussels provide a natural source of this glucosamine and chondroitin.

They also contain plenty of omega fatty acids and turmeric. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and has been used as a supplement for generations while omega fatty acids help support not only joints but soothe itchy skin and maintain healthy mental activity.

The treats contain no cheap fillers such as corn or soy, no wheat, no by-products of any kind, and no artificial flavors. They are preserved naturally and include only what’s needed for your senior dog to feel some relief from aging joints. They’re suitable for dogs ages five and older, but be sure that you consider the extra calories when feeding your dogs’ treats and meals.

They do contain peas, but those are the inactive ingredients. If your dog has heart trouble already, you may want to check with your vet, but the placement of peas in the ingredients shouldn’t be an issue.

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Grain Free with Chicken Meal And Cranberry Oven Baked Treats

Instinct by Nature’s Variety uses only premium ingredients to build their foods, and their treats are no different. Their grain free treats use chicken meal for an extra dense portion of protein that helps keep dogs feeling energetic all day long. Healthy fats provide skin and coat support while fruits and vegetables such as cranberry contain minerals and antioxidants.

They’re grain and gluten free with no added salt or sugar. They contain no cheap fillers or artificial flavors or colors. They’re made in the United States and should provide your dog with enough energy to get through the energy slump of the afternoon or for training in certain situations.

Ground flaxseed provides omega fatty acids plus excellent fiber while rosemary extract is good for inflammation and is a holistic ingredient designed to support your dog’s overall health and well-being. It has low calories but still make sure that you keep the treats in check so that your dog continues to eat the food provided.

The treats have limited ingredients and may be suitable for dogs with allergy issues or who are on a restrictive diet. Check with your veterinarian about the ingredients beforehand, but with only a handful on the list, these treats should be a good option.

Vital Essentials Minnows Freeze-Dried Dog Treats

Vital Essentials Minnows treats are just that, minnows. They’re freeze dried raw which helps cut down on odor and kill harmful bacteria and pathogens. They provide a healthy, beloved snack for your dog with a boost of protein and healthy fats without adding any extra ingredients. They’re a healthy little snack and a welcome break from typical dog snacks.

They contain no fillers, such as corn or soy, no peas or potatoes, no grains, gluten, wheat, or artificial flavors. They’re free of by-product meals and allergens such as beef and poultry. They could be a good option for dogs on limited ingredient diets, or that need treats without a lot of calories and fat.

There is no added sugar or salt. The freeze-drying process is slow, taking place over 48 hours. The process allows you to store the minnows without refrigeration, so they’re ready whenever you need them. They’re single sourced and come from a responsible provider. Dogs typically love the taste of the dried minnows, with a satisfying crunch of bone and the freeze-dried texture.

Solid Gold Superfoods Beef, Mango, and Turmeric Dog Treats

Solid Gold uses real beef as the first ingredient in this holistic treat. It contains superfoods such as mango and turmeric to help support health and wellness. They’re high in protein but easy enough to chew for dogs who may have trouble with their teeth. Healthy fats provide a boost of energy and support the skin and coat.

Mango provides a rich source of vitamins that can support eye health while turmeric helps reduce inflammation and ease digestion. It’s full of fiber to support better, more healthy digestion and to help dogs feel a little fuller, especially in those afternoon energy slumps.

It’s grain free and contains no artificial flavors or colors. It’s also free of cheap fillers such as corn or soy, which can cause adverse reactions for your dog’s gut health. It’s free of poultry by-product meals and can be fed to both puppies and adults.

There are just a handful of ingredients, but some of those ingredients are peas and lentils, which could cause heart problems for some dogs. Make sure you talk to your vet if your dog breed is prone to an enlarged heart condition before you switch to these.

Wellness Grain Free Crunchy Puppy Bites Chicken and Carrot Recipe

Your puppy deserves a healthy treat and Wellness’s puppy treat could be just the thing. It contains deboned chicken as the first ingredient with only a handful of other things to round out the recipe. Healthy fats help give your puppy a boost of energy while supporting skin and coat health.

Healthy vegetables provide critical minerals your puppy needs to grow healthy and strong while vitamin blends support the immune system and eye health. Green tea extract helps with digestion and to provide antioxidant support while the small, crunchy biscuits are formulated to be more comfortable for your puppy to chew without sacrificing important mouthfeel.

Guaranteed DHA supports brain health, and the treats are free of cheap fillers and artificial ingredients. They also contain no by-product meals or grains. They’re great for training treats and enjoyable as a healthy reward.

Conclusion

Giving your dog treats doesn’t have to mean loading up on excess salt and sugar. Your treats can provide a healthy formula of vitamins and minerals plus a protein boost to help with energy and provide stamina on long days. They can also help you train your puppy without adding a lot of excess calories that can translate to weight gain. There are plenty of healthy options out there for you to reward your dog that tastes great and won’t cause unnecessary weight gain. Switch to a healthier alternative and feel better about your rewards.

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