What is the Healthiest Treat for a Dog?
- Best Overall Healthy Dog Treats: The Honest Kitchen Purely One: 100% White Fish Filets
100% wild-caught white fish fillets that are simply dehydrated, high in protein, and easy to snap.
- Best Human-Grade Healthy Dog Treats: Full Moon Healthy All Natural Dog Treats
These dog treats are made with 100% human-grade ingredients to ensure the best possible nutrition.
- Best Healthy Dog Treats for Easy Digestion: Blue Buffalo Health Bars Crunchy Dog Treats
The pumpkin and yogurt combination in this formula provides fiber and probiotics for digestion support.
- Best Grain-Free Healthy Dog Treats: Rachael Ray Nutrish Grain-Free Dog Treats
The all-natural grain-free recipe for these treats contains no artificial flavors or meat by-products.
- Best Low-Calorie Healthy Dog Treats: Fruitables Skinny Mini Dog Training Treats
Containing only 3 calories per treat, these are the lowest calorie dog treats on this list.
- Best Freeze-Dried Healthy Dog Treats: Wag Freeze-Dried Raw Single Ingredient Dog Treats
This dog treat contains only beef liver that has been freeze-dried without other ingredients added.
- Best Healthy Dog Treat for Dental Hygiene: Greenies Original Regular Dog Dental Care Chews Oral Health Dog Treats
The dental dog chews are great for cleaning teeth and strengthening gums.
- Best Limited Ingredient Healthy Dog Treats: Buddy Biscuits Oven-Baked Whole-Grain, Crunchy Best Dog Treats
These dog biscuits are made with only four ingredients, thus being perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- Use code VETERINARIANS30 for 30% off
- 100% WILD CAUGHT, SUSTAINABLY SOURCED WHITE FISH: Product of Europe, packed in the USA.
- JUST ONE INGREDIENT: This high-protein treat is made with 100% white fish, that's it!
- HEALTHY TREAT: This high-protein treat is easily breakable for portion control and is low in calories.
What Are Healthy Dog Treats?
Healthy dog treats will be more satisfying for a dog and offer them more nutrients than a standard edible. Plus, they often target specific issues such as preventing weight gain, indigestion, or dental problems.
What are the Benefits of Healthy Dog Treats?
Healthy dog treats are beneficial for dogs. Here is a closer look at some of the pros of giving your dog healthy treats:
- Bonding. Using healthy dog treats to bond with your dog is a fantastic way to build trust in the relationships between you and your dog. The added benefit of providing them with valuable nutrients is just a bonus.
- Training. Dog treats are arguably the best way to train a dog. The positive reinforcement tactics associated with giving a treat for a job well done can be enhanced with healthy dog treats. This way, instead of merely receiving empty calories for performing a trick or obeying a command, they can receive a treat that offers them extra valuable nutrients.
- Extra Nutrition. Healthy dog treats offer more nutrition on top of the nutrition they receive from their regular food. This can mean extra protein, fiber, vitamins, and even probiotics in a dog’s daily nutrition intake coming in the form of treats.
However, using healthy dog treats should be mindful. For example, you need to keep your dog’s treat intake to no more than 10% of its daily calories. This helps prevent unwanted weight gain.
Also, if a dog eats too many treats, it can start to refuse its regular food. This can cause a host of issues but is easy to avoid if the treats are given in moderation, and the dog recognizes early on that it must work for them instead of expecting them.
Another thing to consider is the potential mess that may come from eating too many treats in one sitting. Just like with humans, too many snacks can ruin a dog’s appetite and upset their stomach, causing diarrhea, vomiting, and excess gas.
The Best Healthy Dog Treats Reviewed
From chicken jerkies to milk bones to dental chews – healthy dog treats come in a variety of forms and flavors. To help you find the right one for your dog, we reviewed the 8 best healthy dog treats.
Summary: These treats feature only one ingredient – sustainably sourced and wild-caught white fish, which is dehydrated and easy to serve. The treats are packed with protein and flavor and suitable for dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes. They are free from artificial preservatives, by-products, and fillers.
Flavor Options: White Fish
Price: $13.99/3 oz
- Sustainably sourced, wild-caught white fish
- Premium-quality and 100% human grade
- Dehydrated and easy to snap in half
- No by-products, preservatives, or fillers
- Made in the USA with European ingredients
- No significant cons
Ingredient Analysis: The only ingredient in this recipe is wild-caught and dehydrated white fish.
Review: Pet owners are amazed by these treats and give them 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. They describe them as “high-value treats” and say their pets love munching on the dehydrated real fish meat. Customers also note that despite the relatively high price tag, the treats are absolutely worth it. Plus, featuring only one ingredient, they are excellent for dogs with sensitive tummies.
Summary: Featuring human-grade ingredients, the all-natural makeup of these treats meets the USDA’s strict standards for human consumption, meaning it is safe for your dog as well. The jerky is made from chicken breast sourced from American farms and paired with high-quality ingredients like vinegar and rosemary. No glycerin, grains, or artificial preservatives are used in making this product. This filler-free dog treat is suitable for adult dogs and is sold in packages of various sizes up to 1.5 pounds.
Flavor Options: Chicken; Beef
- Made with 100% human-grade ingredients
- Real chicken breast is the primary ingredient
- No artificial preservatives or fillers
- Contains only all-natural ingredients
- Made in the USA
- Reviews have complained the jerky has been exceptionally tough lately
Ingredient Analysis: Real beef or chicken is the first ingredient in these treats and gives them a great platform on which to build the recipe. Organic cane sugar, salt, vinegar, and ground celery are the only other ingredients, and each of these is simply there for healthy sources of flavor.
Review: Many positive reviews came from people who were happy this was made in the United States and who had dogs that loved the real chicken in this treat. They were also happy the price wasn’t outrageous and said the quality issues they once had when ordering this product on Amazon seem to have been resolved. Complaints about this product revolved around those quality issues, with people commenting on the toughness of the jerky as well as saying they received a bag that was half full of crumbs.
Summary: These crunchy dog treats are made with real pumpkin to provide high-quality nutrition that is easily digestible. It uses only wholesome ingredients and never uses poultry by-product meals or cheap fillers like corn, wheat, and soy. The natural ingredients fortify these treats with natural vitamins and minerals. Great for a dog training treat, these are made for dogs of all life stages.
Flavor Options: Oats & Apples; Apple & Yogurt; Bacon, Egg, & Cheese; Banana & Yogurt; Beef; Chicken; Pumpkin & Cinnamon
- Made with real pumpkin
- No corn, wheat, or soy
- Enhanced with vitamins and antioxidants
- Features wholesome grains, fruits, & veggies
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- High in calories for a dog treat
Ingredient Analysis: Oatmeal, barley, and oat flour are the first three ingredients and give these treats their taste and texture. Pumpkin is added for its vitamins and fiber as well as for taste. Rosemary and flaxseed help supply the antioxidants and DHA while other vitamins are supplemented to achieve healthy levels of each vitamin.
Review: Buyers were largely impressed with these healthy dog treats, with many commenting on how much their dogs enjoyed them. They were happy to know the ingredients in these treats are wholesome and provide real nutrition, while others complained about foreign materials found in the treats. They mentioned everything from unground bone to a piece of string being found in their treats.
Summary: Real turkey is the first ingredient in these treats. They are safely cooked in the USA with ingredients sourced from around the world. There are no artificial flavors or meat by-products and no added grain ingredients. They are available in a variety of flavors and package sizes to suit the needs of dogs of any size.
Flavor Options: Burger Bites; Meatball Morsels; Savory Roasters; Turkey Bites; Sausage Bites
- Real meat is the first ingredient
- High protein content for a dog treat
- Available in a variety of flavors
- No artificial flavors, colors, or additives
- Made in the USA
- Sugar is the third ingredient
Ingredient Analysis: Real meat is the first ingredient that gives this food its protein content and amino acid profile. Vegetable glycerin is the second, with sugar closely following. These may upset a dog’s stomach if too much is ingested at one time. Citric acid, sorbic acid, and mixed tocopherols are added as natural preservatives, and natural hickory smoke flavor is used as a flavor enhancer.
Review: Many of the positive reviews say this worked well on their “sickly old dog” and their dogs with severe allergies. They were happy they found healthy dog treats they liked, and that did not affect them in a negative way. Others, however, said these treats cause food allergies in their dog, with numerous people telling stories about their dogs becoming severely ill after eating.
Summary: Made with superfoods, these oven-baked dog biscuits are both healthy and delicious. The miniature size of the treat is perfect for training both small dogs, and large dogs, and these treats are only 3 calories per treat. The majority of its nutrients come from superfoods and are supplemented where necessary. It is made in the USA with no wheat, corn, or artificial ingredients.
Flavor Options: Apple Bacon; Grilled Bison; Pumpkin Spice; Pumpkin & Berry; Pumpkin & Mango; Rotisserie Chicken; Watermelon
- Low-calorie treats (only 3 calories per piece)
- The small size makes them perfect for dog training
- Includes superfoods for nutrient density
- Available in a wide selection of flavors
- Made in the USA
- Bacon and apple are far down on the ingredients list
Ingredient Analysis: Chickpeas are the first ingredient and give this dog food a great source of fiber. Honey is used as a natural sweetener, and bacon, pork, and bacon flavor provide the majority of the flavor. Apple pomace and sunflower oil help to bring out the rest of the flavors and provide carbohydrates and omega-3 fatty acids.
Review: Many dog owners were happy with these treats. Some buyers said the best part of Fruitables is their size, as they were happy with these treats and could use them as training tools. Complaints said their dogs wouldn’t eat the treat, they had received expired products in the mail, or the odor of the treats made the buyers throw them out rather than offering them to their dogs.
Summary: Made from real beef liver, these freeze-dried dog treats are packed with protein and minerals. These treats are gently freeze-dried to preserve the liver’s natural nutrient density. It is sourced from Canada and made in the USA with no added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It is sold in a resealable pouch and needs to be stored in a cool, dry place to preserve freshness.
Flavor Options: Beef Liver; Chicken Liver; Lamb Liver
- Made from real animal liver
- Gently freeze-dried for nutrient preservation
- Comes in a resealable pouch for lasting freshness
- No added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Made in the USA
- Treats can go stale quickly if not stored correctly
Ingredient Analysis: The only ingredient in these treats is beef, chicken, or lamb liver. This is an excellent source of protein and minerals.
Review: Dog owners were happy with these healthy dog treats saying their dogs would gladly learn new behaviors when presented with these treats. Nearly 10% of total reviews on Amazon rated this product 1 or 2 stars. Their biggest complaint was how hard the treatment seemed to be. While some people’s dogs wouldn’t eat the treat, other people wouldn’t feed it to them in the first place because of how solid the treats were.
Summary: These dental dog treats are made to clean the teeth and strengthen the gums of dogs. The unique texture cleans down the gum line to fight plaque and tartar buildup and freshen bad breath. These dental chews are made with natural, easy-to-digest ingredients and are nutritionally complete. They are only available in one flavor but are sold in various sizes.
Flavor Options: Original
- Cleans teeth while they chew
- Available in a wide variety of sizes for any dog
- Made with natural, easy-to-digest ingredients
- Support dental hygiene and oral health
- Cleans down the gum line and the teeth
- Contains added color and flavors
Ingredient Analysis: Wheat flour and wheat gluten are the first two ingredients, and these give the treat its texture. Powdered cellulose and lecithin provide more texture support that helps to clean the teeth of dogs while also adding fiber to the treat. Minerals and vitamins are added to make this a nutritionally sound dog treat.
Review: Only 2% of the over 26,000 ratings give this product a 1 or 2-star rating. Satisfied customers noticed a difference in the apparent health of their dog’s teeth, gums, and breath while also noting their dogs were always excited to receive one of these treats. Of that 2% of ratings, however, the most common complaint was that these treats made their dogs sick.
Summary: These dog biscuits are made with only four ingredients to provide your dog with a tasty but healthy and low-calorie snack. Made in the USA, these treats are formulated for dogs of all ages to enjoy. They contain no corn or soy and no artificial flavors or colors. They contain 59 calories per biscuit and a modest amount of protein and fiber for digestion.
Flavor Options: Peanut Butter; Bacon & Cheese; Chicken
- Unique, limited ingredient formula
- Crunchy texture cleans teeth while chewing
- No artificial flavors or colors
- Available in a variety pack
- Made in the USA
- Relatively high in calories
Ingredient Analysis: The only ingredients in these treats is whole wheat flour, peanut butter, canola oil, and mixed tocopherols for preservatives. All of these are perfectly safe for dogs to consume.
Review: Dog owners seem to enjoy calling these things like “canine crack” in the reviews. Their pets love these healthy dog treats, and the treats are often broken up into smaller bits to be used as training tools. Reviewers who were less than impressed with these treats were quick to call them “100% unhealthy” and complain about the number of calories each biscuit contains.
What Ingredients Should I Look for in Healthy Dog Treats?
When shopping for healthy dog treats, you need to look for several ingredients:
- Real Meat. Real meat gives dogs all the protein they need if given in the right amounts. Some dog food fails to provide all of the protein a dog needs through the use of meat, and offering dogs treats made of real meat can help offset that need for protein.
- Vegetables. Vegetables provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals to dogs. Things like pumpkin and blueberries are fantastic additions to dog treats.
- Grains. Contrary to the wide held belief that dogs need grain-free food, only about 20% of all dogs are allergic to grains. In fact, grains offer healthy fats and fiber that aid digestion, skin health, and brain and eye function.
What Ingredients Should I Avoid Healthy Dog Treats?
Some ingredients should not be on the ingredient list of healthy dog treats. Those ingredients are:
- Added Sugar. A sweetener is often used in dog treats, but it is not necessary. Added sugars can cause obesity, arthritis, and allergies.
- Salt. Salt may also be listed as sodium chloride, sea salt, or iodized salt, and it is an essential nutrient. However, it is easy for dogs to overconsume, which can cause excess water intake, dry mucous membranes, and restlessness.
- Corn. Corn is often used as a cheap replacement for meat but has much less nutritional value. This will be commonly found in budget dog food and treats.
- Dairy. Dairy is a common allergen in dogs. It can cause itchiness and digestive irritation and has no place in healthy dog treats.
How do You Make Healthy Dog Treats?
There are many homemade dog treat recipes. To make healthy dog treats at home, all you need are a couple of dog-friendly ingredients. Here is a simple homemade dog treat recipe for healthy peanut butter & pumpkin dog treats.
- 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Combine flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl; stir with a spatula until combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a work surface and work it with your hands until the mixture starts to come together
- Add 1 teaspoon of water at a time (only if needed) to help make the dough workable, but don’t add too much as it should be dry and stiff.
- Roll the dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces and transfer to a baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven until dog treats are golden brown and crunchy, about 40 minutes. Let cool before serving to your dog.
You can serve the treats once they cool down or store them in an air-tight container.