The 10 Best Healthy Dog Treats

Updated May 24, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Healthy Dog Treats
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We spent 37 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Some of these healthy and natural dog treats look good enough for humans to eat, though we wouldn't recommend it, unless you want to get in a growling match with your dog. But for pooches who have sensitive stomachs, allergies or restricted diets, they are a good option for training and just making them feel loved. 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. Wellness Crunchy WellBars

Wellness Crunchy WellBars are the perfect bite-sized snack to reward good behavior or just to give as a midday treat. They are oven-baked to preserve the natural flavor of each ingredient, but some may not prefer the harder texture.
  • excellent source of antioxidants
  • only 24 calories per treat
  • tend to stick to dog's back teeth
Brand Wellness Natural Pet Fo
Model 89020
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

9. Peppy Pooch Lamb Ears

Not only are Peppy Pooch Lamb Ears extremely nutritious and all natural, dogs absolutely love them. They are made from premium New Zealand white lambs that are high in protein to maintain strong bones, plus they digest well for those with sensitive stomachs.
  • good low fat option
  • virtually odorless
  • dogs tend to eat them very quickly
Brand Peppy Pooch
Model pending
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

8. Ark Naturals Breath-less

If your dog has bad breath, check out Ark Naturals Breath-less. These chewable morsels are made with ridges that effectively rid teeth of plaque and tartar, plus 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
Brand ARK NATURALS PRODUCTS F
Model 326071
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Pet Eden Sweet Potato

Pet Eden Sweet Potato are a premium vegetarian snack for dogs 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 or transport while on the go.
  • can be cut into smaller pieces
  • do not need to be refrigerated
  • thin slices can be easily chewed
Brand Pet Eden
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Old Mother Hubbard Classic P-Nutter

Old Mother Hubbard Classic P-Nutter are a great value, as they come in a 3-pound sack for under $12. They feature a traditional and, perhaps, nostalgic dog bone shape, and are oven baked to perfection for that satisfying crunchy texture.
  • brand has been trusted for decades
  • high-quality canadian-made product
  • can generate a lot of crumbs
Brand Old Mother Hubbard
Model 10110
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Pawstruck Cow Hooves

Pawstruck Cow Hooves have been sourced from only the finest facilities to ensure the best for your furry friend. They have been carefully cleaned and baked to lock in the flavor and have a hollow inside that can be filled with peanut butter or yogurt for added goodness.
  • take a long time to finish
  • stay fresh for three years
  • also available in bulk sizes
Brand Pawstruck
Model pending
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

4. Rocco & Roxie Gourmet Jerky Sticks

Rocco & Roxie Gourmet Jerky Sticks are naturally smoked for 15 hours to create a tender and savory snack that your dog will go nuts over. Also, there is no bad odor or greasy residue, so your hands stay fresh and clean after handling them.
  • available in beef or chicken
  • suitable for dogs of all sizes
  • ziplock top seals in the freshness
Brand Rocco & Roxie Supply Co
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Nylabone Healthy Edibles

Nylabone Healthy Edibles come as a variety pack with roast beef and chicken options, making them a good choice for multi-dog households with picky eaters. This delicious formula is packed with nourishment to keep your pups in tip-top shape.
  • no artificial preservatives
  • made in the usa to ensure quality
  • only for dogs 6 months and older
Brand Nylabone
Model NE801VT34PP
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. 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 that extra zing.
  • ideal for gluten-free diets
  • are made with rosemary and turmeric
  • soft and moist texture
Brand Zuke's
Model 33021
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Greenie's Original Dental

Greenie's Original Dental are a best-seller that dogs can't get enough of. They are uniquely shaped to look like a mini toothbrush, so their teeth are getting cleaned while devouring the tasty snack. You can choose from four different sizes, depending on your dog's weight.
  • developed by pet-loving people
  • highly recommended by vets
  • contain added vitamins and minerals
Brand Greenies
Model 10123686
Weight 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 May 24, 2017 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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