Let’s not kid ourselves, all of us enjoy pampering our dogs now and then. In doing so, most of us will reach for the bag or box of treats from the cupboard and indulge our pets with a few. This is a ritual that we follow day after day without really considering the long term effects it may be having on our pooches.
How much time and research do we actually put in to the choices of treats that your pet consumes on a daily basis? If you answered not much, you are not alone. In this article, I will look at some of the consequences associated with unhealthy treats, types of treats, and look at some of the best healthy dog treats that you should consider with a few recommendations.
Dog Treats … Maybe Not!
We love our pets, and giving them a treat two or three times a day is one of the ways we show that love. Whatever makes your dog happy, makes us happy! Well, most everything. I am not going to sit here and try to guess how many treats your dog will receive during the course of its lifetime, but let’s just say that the number will be substantial.
Through our act of kindness, we may actually be doing a disservice to our four-legged friends. Unhealthy treats will eventually take its toll on our dogs in a number of ways that I will detail below.
- Unwanted Weight Gain
- Diarrhea and Stomach Issues (Treats may compose fillers, that add no nutritional value)
- Dental Issues (Soft, chewy treats can cause dental and gum issues)
- Ingredients are sub-par and provide little to no nutritional value
As you can see, none of these items mentioned above are conducive to a healthy lifestyle. We must use caution in not only the amount of treats we hand out on a daily basis, but be certain we are also giving our pets something that is nutritional as well. If not, we can expect to deal with these issues listed above.
Types of Treats
There a number of treats on the market that are readily available for you to purchase. Some big, some small, some healthy, some unhealthy. What type of treat you decide on should be based on the needs of not only your pet, but you as well. Let me explain. For example, if you are involved in dog training, you will want to find a treat that is small and chewy. A quick bite that will allow you to continue with the training but still something your pet will enjoy.
Consider biscuits for your dogs as well, which provides a dental exercise for your pooch as well as enjoyment. No matter which type of treat you decide on, make sure you take the time to read the label on the package to ensure that your pet is receiving a quality, wholesome product. Stay away from unwanted preservatives, fillers or artificial ingredients.
Here is a list of some of the treats that are available to you as the pet owner, some healthy and some not so much.
- Bite Size
Which type of treat you choose should be based on two very important criteria: First of all, always consider safety! Depending on breed size or life stage of your dog, some of these treats are simply not suitable. Smaller dogs may not be able to handle bones, and there is always concern for choking or perhaps indigestion issues. The treat should always fit the size of the dog.
Number two, make sure you are providing your pet with a quality product. One that contains natural ingredients and one that is free from preservatives, fillers or other ingredients that provide little to your dog’s diet. Also be cautious of the calories each bag of treats contains, as this can lead to dog obesity over a period of time.
Best Healthy Dog Treats … The Good Stuff!
Okay, let’s take a look at some of the dog treats that I would highly recommend. The following are some of the best store bought dog treats that are made, and are available for purchase. Although these treats are a quality source, be careful not to over indulge your pet. As a guideline, treats should only consist of 10% of your dog’s diet. Here are a few of the best:
1.) Whole Earth Farms Smokehouse Links
This treat comes in a link form, that are all-natural and grain free. The All Natural ingredients help support increased energy, less shedding, easier digestibility, shiner coat and healthier skin. Click on the image below for your best price:
- First ingredient is real beef
- All-natural, grain-free treats
- No poultry by-products, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
- Made with real meat or poultry and bursting with savory, smoked flavors
- Cooked in the USA with no ingredients from China
2. Newman’s Own Beef Jerky
Comes in a jerky form, which is grain-free containing no artificial preservatives. No corn or wheat. Click on the image below for your best price:
- First ingredient is 100% grass-fed beef
- A high protein treat for dogs
- Grain Free; no corn, soy or wheat. No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
- Free of chemical additives
- Naturally preserved without nitrates or nitrites
3.) Orijen Freeze Dried Duck
Comes in bite-sized pieces that are gently freeze-dried to lock in freshness. Provides an excellent source of nutrients. Click on the image below for your best price:
- Made in the USA
- For all dogs
- Delicious and nutritious
- Gently freeze-dried
- Made with 100% pure meat
4.) Nutro Ultra Biscuits
All natural biscuits that contains essential antioxidants. Click on the image below for your best price:
- ULTRA Antioxidant Blend All Natural Dog Biscuits With Wild Blueberry and Pomegranate help maintain and boost their immune system
- ULTRA Antioxidant Blend All Natural Dog Biscuits With Wild Blueberry and Pomegranate support healthy heart function
- ULTRA Antioxidant Blend All Natural Dog Biscuits With Wild Blueberry and Pomegranate are naturally preserved with no chemicals
5.) Hill’s Ideal Balance Grain Free
Soft-Baked and all natural dog treat that provides nutritional value. Chicken is the #1 ingredient. Click on the image below for the best price:
- Chicken is the #1 ingredient in these tasty dog treats to help maintain lean muscle
- These grain free dog treats are made with no corn, wheat or soy, and no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors
- These Ideal Balance treats for dogs are soft-baked for easy snacking as part of a healthy feeding routine
- Soft-Baked Natural dog treats are made in the USA with global ingredients you can trust
Well, there you have it. Those are my five top choices and ones that I have used with my own dogs throughout the years. I have always limited the number of treats given to my dogs and tried to follow the 10% rule as much as possible. There is nothing wrong with pampering your pet with a healthy, nutritional treat now and then as long as it is done with moderation.
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention ‘bones’ as a treat that I would recommend. I have always been concerned with my dogs consuming or chewing bones due to the possibility of choking or splintering of the bone itself. Many pet owners are also using homemade recipes to treat their dogs, and I will discuss in a future article.
You may have to experiment with a few to determine which type of treat is best for you and your pet. I always liked to use a combination of a chewy, soft treat with a healthy crunchy one.
Check out these products mentioned above by clicking on the images, and decide which one best fits the needs of your four-legged friend. You can feel confident in the above mentioned products and your pet will love them as well! To the health of your pet!
John · April 26, 2018 at 5:41 pm
I have used the Nutro and HIlls products, My dog did like them very well. I have often heard that chew bones were not a good item for treats, I stopped using them years ago.
For an older dog would you suggest a softer chew to protect the teeth and gums.
Luke · April 26, 2018 at 6:11 pm
Thanks John for visiting my site and your feedback. I too have used Nutro and was quite happy with the product. I stay away from chew bones as I am concerned of splintering, choking and what it may do to their digestive system.
I currently own a 13 year old Afghan Hound who has some dental issues that restricts her from chewing a hard, brittle chew. As a result, she only receives the softer chew when she seems to enjoy. Thanks for stopping by John!
Christina · April 27, 2018 at 6:11 pm
I have used the Newman’s Own for a while with my two dogs. They seem to enjoy them. Newman’s own make products I am familiar with that we use as well, so it felt pretty safe. I like the idea of the Nutro ultra biscuits. The antioxidants are also something I try to enrich my diet with and am sure will help my furry friends too. I am going to give those a try and see if they enjoy those as well.
I have a question if you have any recommendation for a healthy treat that has breath or dental advantages? I saw the comments above teeth and gum protection. I brush my dog’s teeth but as they get older I do get concerned about their teeth. If I can occasionally treat them with a beneficial, that is a bonus.
Luke · April 27, 2018 at 7:23 pm
Thank you for visiting my site! I have also used the Newman’s Own products with my own dogs and they seem to enjoy them as well. I have a great deal of confidence in these treats. The biscuits are an excellent choice and provide a healthy crunch with the antioxidants serving as a real bonus.
The Greenies grain free treat is one I use with my dogs to provide a good oral exercise. I have noticed that my dog’s teeth and gums appear to be much healthier looking and they seem to enjoy the taste as well.
A word of caution regarding the Greenies. They are somewhat hard and dogs experiencing some issues with their teeth and gums may have some difficulty chewing these. If not, Greenies is a reputable product. Thanks again Christina!
Eric · April 27, 2018 at 8:11 pm
I am looking for something a puppy could get used to as a treat for training. What do you think about the freeze-dried duck one as far as being a decent treat for him?
I am concerned it may not be the best way to start off as far as a dog treat. Wanting to find something healthier this time around since I used to give my dogs the same beef jerky I ate.
Luke · April 30, 2018 at 2:14 pm
Thanks for visiting Eric. Nothing like a brand new puppy! I would have no hesitation in recommending the freeze-dried duck as a wholesome, healthy treat. They are 100% natural and comes in the ‘bite-sized’ form that can be consumed and digested quite easily.
The Hill’s Ideal Balance is also a healthy choice with the first ingredient consisting of chicken. You may want to try both to see which one your puppy seems to enjoy the most. Either one is a quality choice. Thanks again for the visit Eric, and good luck with the puppy!
Cath · April 27, 2018 at 8:57 pm
I enjoyed visiting your site today! I really like that the dog treats you’re offering are natural, as I always look for treats that have no chemicals/artificial ingredients. I have tried Paul Newman’s treats, and my dogs like them a lot. We buy grass-fed beef for the dogs and so I was glad to find that this treat has “100 grass-fed beef” as the first ingredient. And no nitrites is also a plus. I may give the “Ultra” Blueberry/Pomegranate treats a try to mix it up a little. Thanks.
Luke · April 30, 2018 at 1:57 pm
Thanks for visiting Cathy! I am so happy to hear that you found the article to be helpful and informative. I still use the Paul Newman’s trats with my dogs and have done so for some time. My dogs seem to enjoy them and I feel confident in the quality of this product.
The ‘grass-fed-beef’ is always a great choice as you can be assured that your pet is getting something wholesome and natural. Continued success and health with your dogs and thanks again for visiting!
Jeffrey · April 29, 2018 at 1:52 am
I also am a doggy lover and I enjoyed reading your post on the best healthy doggy treats, I have had some issues with some doggy treats in the past. I have never tried the doggy treats you recommend, but I do believe our dogs need a natural diet just like we should be eating as well.
I have been giving my dog turkey sticks gluten-free, I must admit they are not doggy treats they are for people but they are 100% turkey and he does seem to do better with them than the dog treats in the stores. In your opinion do you think this is okay to be giving my dog, I would not want to be shortening his life?
Luke · April 30, 2018 at 1:38 pm
Thanks for visiting my site Jeffrey. Glad to hear that you a are a doggy lover as well! The turkey sticks sound delicious, and one that I will try with my dog. They appear to be a healthy choice and I would have no concern in feeding your doggy this treat. The gluten-free aspect is an added bonus!
I wish more pet owners would consider a natural, wholesome and nutritional treat with their dogs, to ensure a healthy lifestyle. Thanks again for visiting my site Jeffrey, I wish you the best with your four-legged friend!
Melissa · May 1, 2018 at 2:33 am
I have to admit I love dogs too. They make wonderful friends and companions. But I have to honestly say when I had my four legged buddy I did feed him a lot of treats at the time I didn’t realize how unhealthy the actually were. I am very glad to see that there are more nutritious and low calorie treats that will not be as bad on their health and weight. Thank you so much for sharing these with me. I will pass them along to my daughter she has a great four legged buddy.
Luke · May 1, 2018 at 2:50 pm
Thanks for visiting Melissa. Yes, sharing too many treats, especially unhealthy ones, can lead to health issues down the road. To be honest, I have been guilty of this myself and watched my dog gain weight that did cause issues. We do it in the name of ‘love’ but we are harming our pets in reality.
Yes, please advise your daughter to seek out a healthy choice, her dog will be just as happy, and your daughter will have peace of mind! Thanks again for visiting, Melissa!