Food rewards assist with modifying canine behaviour and satisfy pet cravings between meals.
However, just like humans, dogs can overindulge. Eating more than their daily recommended calories can result in real health consequences.
So, how can you spoil your pet without overdoing it? And what treats are best for your beloved fur baby?
In this article, we’ve reviewed the most flavour-some, premium quality treats on the market. We’ve also included tips on how to shop and identify healthy doggie snacks.
In a hurry? Here is the top 3:
Our Top PicksTable could not be displayed.
Best Dog Treats
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Pedigree Schmackos’ strips are treats loved by all pets. Although we can’t vouch for the taste personally, dogs of all ages and breeds gobble up these snacks without hesitation.
Great for training dogs, the meaty treat will immediately grab your hound’s attention, incentivising him to obey and behave.
The good news is that each stick, only 30 calories apiece, is a reasonably healthy treat that won’t pack on the pounds if you’re a disciplined owner. It also gets paw of approval for not containing artificial flavours or colours.
We love that the chews are ultra-soft. Old mutts missing some teeth can enjoy a tasty nibble without hurting their mouths.
If you’re guilty of carrying snacks in your pocket on walks, you’ll be happy to note that these nibbles usually don’t leave behind an oily residue or a pungent scent that are impossible to remove.
We also like how affordable the product is if you’re looking to buy in bulk. Stick to the feeding guidelines, and these chewable sticks will last.
One thing to be mindful of is that the soft sticks are thin and relatively small. Large dogs or canines who gulp their food without chewing could choke on these. If your pet eats fast or is big, stick to larger, chewable tidbits to prevent choking.
Meat and animal derivatives (total 40%, including 11% poultry, 22% beef and 5% lamb), derivatives of vegetable origin, cereals, minerals, various sugars, oils and fats.
Protein: 28%, Fat: 12%, Inorganic matter: 8%, Crude Fibers: 3%, Moisture: 19%, Calcium: 1%, Omega 3 Acids: 12028 mg/kg, Energy: 26 kcal/treat.
- Multi-mix beef, poultry and lamb flavoured sticks
- Contains tasty nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
- Available strips: 110
- Weight: 790g
What we liked
- Low calorie treat (30 calories each)
- Enjoyed by most dogs
- Thin and quite small
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Reading the back of Bounce and Bella Grain Free Dog Training Treats, you’ll be surprised by how few ingredients are listed.
That’s because this wholesome box of yummies is free from junk, consisting only of natural food groups that contribute toward your dog’s wellbeing.
We love that these treats are also entirely free of grain which spells for an energised, cheerful dog who probably won’t suffer digestive upsets.
Not only are these nibbles wholesome and nutritious, but they are loved by all taste testers, including the fussiest, hairy family members. Even better, the treats smell appetising to canines and even their humans, without being intense or overwhelming.
Although classified as hypoallergenic, this Bounce and Bella product might not be suitable for pets with poultry allergies as chicken, duck, and turkey are three of the five main constituents.
One other thing to remember is that these treats aren’t best suited for young puppies. They’re hard on puppy’s teeth and difficult to eat quickly, which means it’s not the most effective for training. One handy tip is to soak the treats in water, which not only makes them pliable but even more flavour-some.
Freshly Prepared Poultry: 80% (Chicken: 33%, Duck: 29%, Turkey: 18%); Potato, Sweet Potato: 20%.
Crude protein: 28%, Crude Oils & Fats: 18%, Crude Fibres: 2%, Crude Ash: 6.5%.
- Premium, grain-free treats with few ingredients
- Weight: one pack is 500g
What we liked
- Junk free - natural ingredients only
- Grain-free formula
- Appetising smell
- Hard on puppy teeth
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Lily's Kitchen Dog Treats have a high-quality meat content, making these the perfect protein snack.
We love that you have the option to purchase a multipack of succulent flavours. Your dog will salivate at the wafting aromas of beef mini burgers, duck and venison sausages but to name a few. You might even be tempted by the smell yourself - don't worry, we won't tell!
A quick look at the ingredient's list will tell you that this is a 100% healthy, all-natural puppy treats that your pet will devour.
If your dog has a gluten or grain intolerance, you might want to try these yummies. The flavours mostly agree with the canine digestive system.
As they're packed with meat, they're pretty rich and delectable. To avoid stomach upsets, limit the amount you feed to your puppy.
Don't use these as treats for training as they're pretty crumbly, messy and difficult to break apart. Maximise your pup's enjoyment of the snack by mashing it over their kibble.
Improvements could be made to the size, which are quite significant for small dogs and puppy training treats. If you have young mutts, you might want to wait before feeding these treats until they're fully grown.
Scrumptious Duck & Venison Sausages: Freshly Prepared Duck (70%), Pea Protein, Vegetable Glycerine (derived from rapeseed oil), Freshly Prepared Venison (4%). Technological Additives: Antioxidants (Tocopherol Extracts from Vegetable Oils).
Chomp-Away Chicken Bites: Freshly Prepared Chicken (80%), Vegetable Glycerine (derived from rapeseed oil), Pea Protein, Quinoa (2%), Ground Ginger (0.5%). Technological Additives: Antioxidants (Tocopherol Extracts from Vegetable Oils).
Simply Glorious Chicken Jerky: Freshly Prepared Chicken (80%), Pea Protein, Vegetable Glycerine (derived from rapeseed oil). Technological Additives: Antioxidants (Tocopherol Extracts from Vegetable Oils).
The Best Ever Beef Mini Burgers: Freshly Prepared Beef 80%, Vegetable Glycerine (derived from rapeseed oil), Pea Protein, Distilled White Vinegar, Chia (2%), Kale (0.1%). Technological Additives: Antioxidants (Tocopherol Extracts from Vegetable Oils).
Scrumptious Duck & Venison Sausages: Crude Protein: 32%, Crude Fat: 25%, Crude Fibres: 2%, Crude Ash: 4%, Moisture: 17%.
Chomp-Away Chicken Bites: Crude Protein: 36%, Crude Fats: 20%, Crude Fibres: 1%, Crude Ash: 2.5%, Moisture: 17%.
Simply Glorious Chicken Jerky: Crude Protein: 39%, Crude Fats: 20%, Crude Fibres: 1.5%, Crude Ash: 3%, Moisture: 17%.
The Best Ever Beef Mini Burgers: Crude Protein: 43%, Crude Fat: 18%, Crude Fibres: 2.5%, Crude Ash: 3%, Moisture: 17%.
- Multipack meat chews available in beef mini burgers, chicken jerky and other flavours
- Eight packs per order (70g each)
- Grain-and-gluten free
- Made from a single protein (100% meat)
What we liked
- Meaty and delectable to canines
- Suitable for sensitive stomachs
- Plenty of variety
- Crumbly, messy and hard to break apart
- Pieces might be too large for small dogs and puppies
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Know what you’re putting into your canine’s body with these air-dried beef treats. Containing a single ingredient - that being beef - no preservatives, fillers, sugar or harmful constituents are added to the formula.
Not only are we satisfied by the all-natural recipe, but also by the slow-drying, chemical-free technique used to dehydrate the beef. Have peace of mind knowing that your pet isn’t ingesting harmful substances.
We’re also fans of how simple these treats are, knowing how much our omnivores hairy pals love anything meaty. With that in mind, you can’t go wrong rewarding your pet with a beef stick over a fancy treat.
Despite being a beefy treat, we’re delighted that it has a mild aroma, tempting for pooches but not overpowering to humans.
What could have been better about the sticks is the shape and consistency. These pieces are triangular-shaped, brittle and may constitute a choking hazard and hurt sensitive gums. Always supervise your pet while they tuck into these nibbles.
These treats cost a pretty penny for the amount, and might not be cost-effective for pet owners on a budget.
Crude Protein: 52.9%, Oils and Fats: 15.4%, Moisture: 19%, Crude Ash: 6.4%, Crude Fibre 0.4%.
- Air dried beef treat for dogs
- Made using a safe and non-toxic dehydration method
- Size: 100g
What we liked
- Contains 100% beef - no preservatives, sugar or additives
- Chemical-free drying technique
- Beef sticks may be brittle and sharp
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These Wagg Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies get full marks for taste, texture and presentation.
Our satisfied pets find them delicious, and we like the cute biscuit designs and soft and chewy centre.
We also find that these treats are good value for money. The product comes in packs of seven, and the individual biscuits, which can be halved or even quartered, go a long way.
The resealable packet is a bonus that keeps these biscuits fresh and tasty for a rainy day.
The peanut butter and banana flavours are irresistible to hounds and beneficial in small quantities. The cocktail of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential oils promotes canine health in various ways. These treats are made with sugar and salt free peanut butter.
However, be mindful of some of the ingredients added to the formula. Wheat is a primary ingredient used, which is a common canine allergen. Stop feeding your pet if you notice a runny stool, discomfort or vomiting.
If your pets get bored of treats easily, there are other lip-smacking varieties of Wagg cookies you can introduce to keep your puppy interested.
Wheat, Chicken Meal, Glycerine, Chicken Fat, Peanut Butter(4%), Banana (4%) Minerals, Gelatine, Whey powder, Chicken Fat, L-carnitine (0.3%).
Moisture: 20%, Protein: 18%, Fat Content: 8%, Crude Fibre: 1.5%, Crude Ash: 6.7%.
- Peanut butter and banana flavoured cookies
- Enriched with vitamins and minerals
- Suitable for all dog breeds and from 8 weeks old
- No added sugar
- Size: 125g
What we liked
- Healthy and delicious
- Biscuits are easily broken apart
- Resealable packet
- Plenty of other biscuit varieties available
- Contains wheat which some dogs can’t stomach
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This artisanal cheesy canine delight is for discerning pets with a taste for the finer things.
These biscuits, handmade with chunks of cheese thrown into the mixture, are perfect for special occasions or when you feel like spoiling them.
We love that this biscuit is shortbread-based and that it looks so good that you'll want a taste.
However, despite containing small amounts of cheese, the treat is fine in moderation. Additionally, only pure ingredients have been added, excluding preservatives and salt.
As you might expect from a shortbread biscuit, its consistency is quite crumbly. It's probably best to feed this to your pet outside unless you want your inside carpets covered in crumbs.
The smell of the biscuits isn’t an affront on the senses, mildly pleasant to get your pet's attention without stinking out your home (and their breath).
It's also quite thick and generously portioned, making it a tremendous value-for-money treat. Be warned, though - with flour included in the formula, the biscuit is quite dry. Be sure to have a water bowl close by!
Liver 35%, Rice Flour, Sunflower oil, Honey 12.5%, Egg, Salmon oil 2%, Minerals, Rosemary Extract.
Protein: 10%, Crude Oil: 24%, Crude Fibre: 0.1%, Crude Ash: 2%.
- Gourmet shortbread biscuit for dogs
- Includes small chunks of cheese and premium ingredients only
What we liked
- Luxury treat
- Great value for money
- Enticing smell
- A messy treat
- Dry - have a full water bowl nearby
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Whether you own a chihuahua, an Irish wolfhound, or a dog with food sensitivities, these chicken nibbles are suitable for most diets, breeds and preferences.
The high-quality snack containing zero gluten and grain is exceptionally wholesome and free from nasties that may cause adverse reactions in your pet.
We're also impressed by how these nibbles are made. They're air dried with no toxic chemicals added to increase their longevity. Dehydrating the meat retains the vital nutrients found in raw chicken while removing pathogens that could make your dog sick.
The nibbles are great to use in training but aren't bite-sized. You might want to break these apart to stop your pet from gagging on large pieces.
If you're worried about your pet's oral health, then these snacks are natural dog chews. They tackle plaque and tartar buildup while keeping your canine's pearly whites strong and disease-free.
That said, if your pet is missing multiple teeth, this chicken morsel might be a bit tough.
You will be paying more for these natural treats than a standard box of biscuits. However, the meaty treat is worth the cost, considering it's healthy and tastes nice.
Protein: 51%,Crude Fibre: 0.1%,Oils & Fats: 37%,Crude Ash: 4%,Moisture: 19%.
- 100% natural chicken dog chews for canines
- Contains only chicken - no other ingredients in the formula
- Air-dried without using chemicals
- Size per pack: 100g
What we liked
- High value, junk-free snack
- Organically made
- Tackled plaque and tartar build up
- Pieces aren’t bite-sized
- Can be tough on sensitive teeth
Guide To Dog Treats
Dogs love to snack between meals. Like their owners, canines are extremely food orientated.
But how many treats should we treat them daily, and are we unknowingly contributing to our pets’ health problems by spoiling them too much?
In this guide, we’ll see what is recommend, discuss which snacks fall into the healthy category and which are strict no-nos.
The 10% Rule
Your pet is more likely to put on weight and suffer from health problems if you’re not keeping track of the treats you give them.
Your pet’s daily snack intake should only consist of no more than 10% of their calories.
If you’re not sure how many treats you are allowed to give your dog, ask your vet for advice. The amount is calculated according to your pet’s size, weight and activity level.
Dog owners who feel that their furry pals are snacking in excess because of training should compensate by reducing meal portions. This will reduce the possibility of overeating.
How To Shop For Dog Treats
There are countless dog treat options available, which can make choosing the right ones for your puppy challenging.
Since not all are made equally, it’s important to rule out treats that consist of inferior quality ingredients that could make your pet sick or obese. These include the following:
Treats should only form a small part of a dog’s diet, so you should stick to low-calorie treats.
Overdoing it on the treat front is easier than you think because even the smallest nibbles could be packed with sugar, fats and carbohydrates.
Pet products these days are transparent about the calorie count of a single treat. When comparing different snacks, choose the product that’s less calorie dense.
Avoid Anything With Artificial Preservatives Or Added Sugar
Many pet brands make claims of being “all-natural”, but one way of knowing for sure is to scrutinise the ingredient’s list.
For example, good natural preservatives used to prevent treats from going rancid, like vitamin E and C, are canine-friendly. On the other hand, the artificial kinds are likely not beneficial.
Although dogs need sugar to operate, they can’t metabolise excessive amounts of sugar well. Therefore, sweet sugary treats have no real value for canines and could lead to many health issues such as tummy troubles, cavities, diabetes, weight gain and more.
Nothing beats a meaty treat in the eyes of your treat-obsessed canine.
However, non-specific terms like “meat meal” might mean that animal by-products are included in making the treats. And for some it's a contentious issue. However, the use of animal by-products are actually regulated both in the UK and by the European Pet Food Industry.
“Meat and animal derivatives” are ingredients which are surplus from the human food chain. These come from animals slaughtered under veterinary supervision and might include parts such as offal (liver, kidney etc.) which sound unappetising for humans but can be highly nutritional for dogs.
Think Twice About Bones And Rawhide-based Treats
Whether bones are good for dogs is hotly debated.
A quick online search will tell you that particular types of uncooked bones are generally fine for consumption, just not cooked bones, as these splinter more easily, can cause severe damage and potentially be fatal.
That said, even uncooked bones splinter, which may lead to mouth injuries, punctures and digestive issues. They're also hard enough to break teeth.
Rawhide treats are made from the inner layers of cow or horsehide. Since dogs have a propensity to chew, these treats satisfy this urge for hours.
That said, there are risks to feeding your pet a treat containing rawhide. There may be trace amounts of contaminants or e-coli that could make your pet extremely ill, for starters. There is also the risk that your pet may react badly to rawhide because of allergies.
Lastly, your dog might tear off more than it can chew in the literal sense. If your dog swallows large rawhide pieces, these might get stuck in the oesophagus or lodged in the stomach or intestine that requires surgery to remove.
Buy Small Or Easily Breakable Treats
It’s hard to ignore the classic “puppy dog” eyes given to us by our highly manipulative pets.
If you’re tempted to dish out a few canine treats or need appropriately sized training snacks, buy bite-sized ones or at the least nibbles that you can break into smaller pieces. This way, your pet doesn’t fill up on treats alone.
Many types of treats contain teeth-enhancing properties that help to remove plaque while keeping pearly whites strong and disease-free.
As a rule of thumb, avoid hard treats that could lead to teeth breaking or mouth discomfort, especially in older and younger pets.
Some animals develop food allergies, particularly to proteins like dairy products, beef, lamb, chicken, chicken eggs, soy or gluten. With that in mind, ensure that the treats you feed your hound don't contain these allergens.
What Are Alternatives To Store-bought Pet Treats?
If you can’t afford store-bought treats or want to know exactly what you’re feeding your pet, you’ll find some excellent food options below:
Veggies might not seem as appealing as something meaty or fatty, but a dog won’t mind so long as they’re getting something to nosh on.
Considering that carrot, broccoli and green beans consist of minimal calories, they’re top snack choices for canines.
Make sure to chop up veggies into small pieces - not all dogs chew their food but gulp it whole. Large chunks could lead to choking or an intestinal blockage.
Unsweetened Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein in moderation. Just make sure it doesn't contain salt, sugar or Xylitol (can be listed as Birch sugar or E967).
It’s great for training and ideal for distracting your pet when they’re particularly needy. If you have a Kong, slap a spoonful of peanut butter into the middle and enjoy some dog-free alone time.
However, avoid brands that contain sugar, salt and sweeteners. Sweeteners, like Xylitol, are life-threatening to pets.
Healthy treats with zero artificial preservatives, sugars, salt, or flavourings are OK to feed canines in moderation. However, treats aren’t designed to be nutritionally balanced and must be provided in conjunction with main meals.
Natural treats containing pet-friendly ingredients are fine for canines. Slowly introduce new treats to your hound to see how they respond.
They can be fattening if you feed your pet too many. Always stick to the 10% rule, meaning that treats comprise 10% of your pet’s calorie intake and no more.
Reading labels on dog treats is vital for their health and safety. Steer clear of preservatives that aren’t natural, corn syrup, food dye, added sugar, salt, MSG, Xylitol and more.
Today's favourite for the best treats is Lily's Kitchen Dog Treats Multipack. We love that the order comes in various flavours, so your pet will never get bored of the tastes. The fact that the ingredients incorporated into the recipes include top quality meat is the cherry on the cake.
Today's runner up is Bounce and Bella Natural Dog Chews - because it's precisely what canine's want - pure beef without the harmful nasties that create stomach issues.
As an occasional treat for special occasions, Pet Bakery Dog Treat Paws Cheese can't be beaten. Show your pet you love her with a cheesy, dog-friendly pastry.
Haven't decided yet? Here is our top 7:
Our Top Picks
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So, what is your favourite?
Paw-some job educating yourself before choosing the best treat for your pup. If you already have a favourite, let us know why you the comments section below.
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