The 10 Best Healthy Dog Treats

Updated April 19, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Some of these healthy and natural dog treats look tasty enough for humans to eat, though we wouldn't recommend it unless you want to get into a growling match with your pup. But for pooches who have sensitive stomachs, allergies, or restricted diets, they are a good option for training and just making them feel loved. Shouldn't your best friend snack on the highest quality goodies? When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best healthy dog treat on Amazon.

10. Plato Pet

Is Rover looking a little tubby these days? Make his weight-loss journey more flavorful with Plato Pet. Made from 90-percent chicken, these are low-calorie, high-protein, satisfying morsels. Unfortunately, the texture is inconsistent.
  • favorite of picky hounds
  • certified usda organic
  • create a lot of crumbs
Model Plato
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Canidae Pure Heaven Biscuits

Take a look at the ingredients list on Canidae Pure Heaven Biscuits and you'll notice instantly that it's both short and simple to understand. This product earns its name because it doesn't rely on any low-nutrient fillers, plus, it's free of soy and corn.
  • anti-inflammatory avocado oil
  • antioxidant-loaded sesame seeds
  • difficult to break in half
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Ark Naturals Breath-less

Dealing with a stinky mouth? Check out Ark Naturals Breath-less. These chewable morsels are made with ridges that rid teeth of plaque and tartar effectively, while the patented toothpaste filling helps to fight odor-causing bacteria.
  • ideal for dogs 12 weeks or older
  • can be given up to two times daily
  • may cause an upset stomach for some
Model 326071
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Stella & Chewy's Carnivore Crunch Beef

Those keeping up with the holistic pet blogs have probably heard a lot about Stella & Chewy's Carnivore Crunch Beef. They boast the most minimal of processing you can ask for, shy of feeding your pet wild-caught meat you got yourself.
  • canines go crazy for them
  • manageable texture for all snackers
  • available only in small bags
Brand Stella & Chewy's
Model pending
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Greenie's Original Dental

Greenie's Original Dental are shaped to look like a mini toothbrush. While your buddy thinks he's just devouring this tasty snack, he's actually getting a dental cleaning. Gone are the days of prying his jaws open to polish those chompers.
  • contain added vitamins and minerals
  • highly recommended by vets
  • too tough for loose or weak teeth
Brand Greenies
Model 10123686
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Pet Eden Sweet Potato

Pet Eden Sweet Potato are a premium vegetarian snack for those on a low-protein diet or prone to allergies. They provide the vitamins, fiber, and minerals needed to stay healthy and are packaged in a resealable bag for simple storage.
  • thin slices can be chewed easily
  • do not need to be refrigerated
  • don't produce a tantalizing smell
Brand Pet Eden
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

4. Rocco & Roxie Gourmet Jerky Sticks

Rocco & Roxie Gourmet Jerky Sticks are smoked naturally for 10 hours to create a tender and savory snack that your dog will go nuts over. There is no bad odor or greasy residue, so your hands stay fresh and clean after handling them.
  • beef and two poultry options
  • resealable ziplock top
  • free of wheat and gluten
Brand Rocco & Roxie Supply Co
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Zuke's Mini Naturals

Zuke's Mini Naturals are a popular choice for training dogs to be on their best behavior. They pack a punch in flavor, without many calories, and contain wholesome ingredients, like real chicken and cherries, plus seasonings for an extra zing.
  • choice of six flavors
  • made with rosemary and turmeric
  • soft and moist texture
Brand Zuke's
Model 33021
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Old Mother Hubbard Classic

Old Mother Hubbard Classic are a great value, considering that they come in a three-pound sack for a low price. They feature a traditional bone shape, and are oven baked to perfection to produce a satisfying crunchy texture.
  • vitamin-e based preservative
  • gentle on sensitive stomachs
  • enjoyed by big and small breeds
Brand Old Mother Hubbard
Model 10110
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Newman's Own Premium

Show your four-legged companion what it means to you by giving it the heart-shaped Newman's Own Premium. You'll appreciate that the company donates its profits to charities, and Fido will adore the human-grade meats used in the recipe.
  • 70-percent organic ingredients
  • ideal for low-sodium diets
  • can be broken into smaller pieces
Brand Newman's Own
Model 757645613057-PARENT
Weight 4.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

How Can You Tell If A Dog Treat Is Healthy?

A dog doesn't care if a treat has any nutrients. A dog only cares if a treat tastes really good. And so it is up to you, the owner, to decide upon a treat that your dog will not only benefit from, but enjoy.

There are a plethora of dog treats on the market, and - much like human food - one of the keys to choosing a great treat comes down to understanding what makes up a healthy diet, and how to spot it. By and large, you'll want a treat that is high in protein (unless your dog is on a low-protein diet), and you'll also want a treat that is rich in vitamins and beta-carotene (for maintaining healthy skin and eyes).

A dog treat should be soft and chewable and contain calcium for maintaining strong teeth. One that contains fiber for promoting regular bowel movements (and low cholesterol) and one that isn't pumped with additives, or cooked in grease is a smart choice.

You'll want to read a treat's ingredient label to determine whether that treat is made of meat, and whether that meat is actually real or artificial. You can also use the ingredient label to determine whether a treat is low in fat, gluten-free, or whether it contains salt or sugar. While reading these labels, be sure to keep an eye out for any disclaimers or warnings. In addition, it's helpful to take note of what the manufacturer considers one serving, or portion.

The most important test of any dog treat is to observe how your dog responds to it. Does the dog seem sluggish, or upbeat? Are his stools more solid, or watery? Above all else, does the dog seem excited whenever you offer him a treat? You're probably not doing the dog any favors if the answer is a no.

A Brief History of The Dog Treat As A Reward

Believe it or not, a dog treat is based on the same basic operating principle as one of the most renowned behavioral experiments of all-time. In that experiment, a Russian physiologist named Ivan Pavlov focused on the idea of classical conditioning - that is, evoking a predictable response based on the introduction of some repetitive reward, or corresponding stimulus.

In the case of what has since become known as Pavlov's Dog, Pavlov noticed that pooches of varying breeds began to salivate upon seeing a technician - or hearing a bell - that they had been conditioned to associate with food. The conclusion, which has since provided the impetus for innumerable psychological experiments, was that a dog's behavior could be altered by simply introducing the possibility of a reward.

Scientifically speaking, dog treats operate according to the same guiding premise. The key as an owner is to let your dog know what he or she earned each treat for. If you're teaching a dog how to walk up stairs, for example, you can start by rewarding that dog with a treat immediately after he has ascended one stair. As you start to see some success, stretch it out by offering the dog a treat once every two stairs ... three stairs ... three-and-a-half stairs, then four. Over time, your dog will be able to ascend an entire flight of stairs almost effortlessly. Once that occurs, you can begin to ween him off the expectation of a reward.

You can use this approach to both encourage and discourage recurring behaviors. The key, according to Pavlov's findings, is that the reward needs to be offered at the exact moment the desired behavior occurs. The more time that elapses between the behavior and the treat, the more confused a dog will become about what actually triggered the reward.

Why Does a Dog Get More Excited Over a Treat Than Its Regular Food?

There is no evidence to support the notion that any dog prefers the taste of a treat to its regular canned food. What a dog is responding to just prior to being given a treat is the prospect of what it believes to be a reward (see above).

Think of it like this; a parent calls a child to dinner, and the child arrives at the table without a word. Once the parent mentions the possibility of going out to get ice cream for dessert, however, the child perks up. Why is that? Psychologically, it's because the child knows that ice cream is a sugary treat, and the child also knows that a trip to the ice cream parlor is a reflection of his good behavior.

To a dog, there is breakfast, and there is dinner. Any owner who deprives his pet of these meals is neglectful, to say the least. A treat, on the other hand, remains something unpredictable; something to be earned, and then savored.

Consider a recent study conducted by the University of Agricultural Studies in Sweden. This study was conducted by splitting 12 beagles into two equal groups. One group of beagles was led into a treat room, where each dog was conditioned to perform a specific task before earning a treat as a reward. The other group of beagles was subsequently led into the same room, where each dog was given a treat without being made to work for it at all.

The study found that the conditioned group of beagles began to get excited whenever being led back into the "treat room" after their first time. More importantly, these trained dogs would actually insist on repeating the reinforced tasks before accepting another treat as a reward. The "untrained" group of beagles, on the other hand, showed no excitement upon being led back into the treat room, and these dogs showed little recognition that being given a treat was actually meant to be a reward.

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Last updated on April 19, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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