Treats, Treats, Treats! To win the heart of most dogs, treats have become a powerful tool for new pet parents looking to train their new pup! But, there’s just way too many training treats on the market!
Dog biscuits, cookies, soft treats, crunchy, chicken-flavor, freeze-dried…you name it, and the pet industry will have it!
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry! Today, I will cover how you can choose the right training treats for your dog!
Related: 9 Low-Sodium Dog Treats
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Dog Training Treats: What To Look For!
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You walk into your local pet store and you come across the treat aisle. What do you do? what should you buy? Well, its ease as 1,2,3… all you need to do is pick up a package and ask yourself these questions.
- Size of Treat
- Nutritional Benefits of Dog Treat
- Calories, Calories!
- Yummy Scale!
Size of Dog Treat
Whether you have a small dog, big dog or a little puppy. You need to choose a treat that will be suitable for your dog. Why? The reason is simple: smaller treats are a choking hazard for giant breeds, and giant treats are just too big for a small pup to enjoy. You can usually get away with going a size up or down. Medium treats for a large or small dog, for example. Just make sure they’re not so small that your Great Dane can practically inhale them (or so big that they’re larger than your chihuahua’s head!”
Nutritional Benefits of Dog Treat
Many of the mass-market “jerky-style” dog treats really aren’t good for your pup. These treats are poor quality treats that are not healthy for your pup. They often contain way more sugar than our dogs need, as well as some controversial ingredients, like propylene glycol. While the FDA claims that food-grade propylene glycol is safe for consumption, many argue that it’s dangerous to our dogs. It’s used as a sweetener because it’s cheap.
Scan the dog treat ingredients before you buy! Look for:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (dogs are omnivores, fruits and veggies are beneficial to their health)
- Treats should be sugar-free and salt-free ( some salt is okay)
- Look for quality ingredients like real meat as the first ingredient!
- Remember that “meat flavor” doesn’t mean real meat!
- Look for nutritional benefits like antioxidants and glucosamine for senior pets!
Treats can be quite high in calories and so they are not be a good choice for dogs who are on the chunkier side. Because treats are generally designed to be more flavorsome to dogs, you might be inclined to feed your dog a bit too many.
This is why you need to check the back label to see how many calories there may be in one treat.
Ask yourself what does your dog like? Every dog is different and so every dog will have different taste preferences. As a general rule of thumb, dogs tend to be attracted to high-protein treats, stinky treats or treats that can be highly textured.
What does this mean? Here are some examples of how you can determine your dog’s preference.
Scenario #1 Baby the picky princess
Baby was my picky pooch, she was perhaps the most anti-vegetarian dog you could ever have (the complete opposite of me!). Her diet consisted of mainly chicken, egg, and fresh foods. She was picky about vegetables or kibble that contained a lot of corn or grain.
She was also fond of wet food that had chunks or shredded meat, but she hated pate. So, when we chose her favorite training treat, we went for one that was highly textured, that was high in protein, we chose a treat that was free from vegetables and we avoided baked treats that consisted of flour or grains.
The conclusion! Baby loved anything freeze-dried! Mainly freeze-dried liver!
Want an easy DIY treat reciepe? Have a look at 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Holiday Dog Treat!
Top 5 Dog Training Treats & What Makes Them Pawesome!
There are just way too many good treats and there is also too many bad dog treats on the market. So here, I have listed my top 5 dog training treats that any pet owner can purchase on Amazon.
1. ZiwiPeak Air-Dried Dog Treat
Pros: ZiwiPeak ranks 10/10 on our nutritional factor as it contains 100% beef brought in from New Zealand. These treats are high in protein and are free from horrible things like growth promotants.
Cons: It seems like ZiwiPeak is one of the more expensive training treats available on the market. These treats are not only expensive but they can be small in size, so it’s not ideal for medium to large sized dogs.
Ideal For: Free from corn, soy, and grain and contains simple ingredients like beef liver, beef kidney, and green mussel. It might be ideal for young, small adult dogs with sensitive stomachs.
2. Wellness Natural Grain Free Puppy Training Treats
Wellness Natural Grain Free Puppy Training Treats are soft and Chewy, making it easy for teething puppies. Contains DHA and antioxidants making it a healthy treat for your dog. Low calorie (4 calories per treat) and it contains no artificial flavors or colors.
Cons: May not be ideal for bigger dogs or large breed puppies over 7 months of age due to size of treat
Ideal For Puppies 8 weeks of age, can be well suited for small to medium sized dogs.
3. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient
Pros: Natural Balance LID treats come in a variety of limited ingredient packages like Sweet Potato & Fish, Sweet Potato & Bison, Sweet Potato & Chicken, Sweet Potato & Venison. Good size for dogs of all sizes
Cons: 30 calories per treat which means that compared to other dog training treats, Natural Balance is one of the more higher calorie treats.
Ideal For: Dogs with sensitive stomachs or dogs with allergies, ideal for active puppies and adult dogs.
4. Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Classic Natural Dog Treats
Pros: Wholesome ingredients, oven-baked and calorie count are about 8 calories per treat make Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Classic Natural Dog Treats a favorite. Contains apple, chicken and fresh vegetables.
Cons: Not ideal for picky dogs who may not like hard, crunchy treats.
Ideal For: Puppies and adult dogs of any kind!
5. Spot Farms!
These treats are human grade, are soft and chewy, breakable, and contains no artificial flavors, colors, corn or soy.
Cons: This might be one of the more expensive treats.
Ideal For: Got a fussy dog? Working in the pet store I have found that these treats are ideal for fussy dogs.
Dog training treats are a tricky business! So, remember my tricks on how to select the best treat for your pup! Remember, Scan label, look at calories, look at nutritional value, size of the treat, and understand your dog’s individual taste preference.
I’m happy to always answer questions! If you’ve got a doggie treat question or are not sure if your dog treat is good or bad then let me know in the comments below so that I can help.