We all love giving our dogs treats, but some treats are a lot healthier than others, and some can be downright dangerous to your pet’s health. With so many choices to pick from and an industry that’s always changing, it can be challenging to find a healthy treat that you and your dog approve.
We have picked ten different dog treats to review along with you to help you learn what kind of treats you like. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide where we look closely at dog treats and what’s involved in creating them that might affect quality.
Keep reading for our in-depth reviews of each brand of dog treat, where we compare ingredients, preservatives, packaging, and flavor, to help you make an educated purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2022
The 10 Best Healthy Dog Treats
1. Blackwood Pet Dog Treats – Best Overall
The Blackwood Pet Dog Treats are our choice as the best dog treats overall. This brand is grain-free and features duck as its main ingredient. The remaining ingredients are all-natural, and there are no harmful chemicals or preservatives.
We only wish the bags were a little bigger. These come in four-ounce packages, and our dogs go through it pretty fast.
2. Buddy Biscuits Teeny Treats – Best Value
The Buddy Biscuits Teeny Treats is our pick for the best value, and we think you’ll agree that these low-cost treats are the best healthy dog treats for the money. The treats are grain-free and made from all-natural ingredients. These treats are also oven-baked into fun shapes.
We only wish that chicken was the first ingredient. There are no harmful ingredients or strange meat byproducts, but chicken is down on the list. They are also mostly flour, so they do crumble easily, and a couple of bags were pretty much just pieces of treats.
3. Pupford Freeze-Dried Treats – Premium Choice
The Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats are our premium choice of healthy dog treats. These treats have less than one kilocalorie (kcal) each, and they contain a minimum of ingredients. The freeze-dried beef only contains beef liver and beef heart along with a natural preservative. Each treat contains over 500 pieces and there are other flavors like chicken and sweet potato.
Our dogs enjoyed them, but they are costly and small.
4. Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy Dog Treats
The Milk-Bone Soft & Chewy Dog Treats are a brand of dog treats that feature 12 vitamins and minerals to help your pet stay healthy. Chicken is the first ingredient. They are easy to chew and shaped like little dog bones.
The biggest disappointment about this treat is that it contains the chemical preservative BHA and artificial coloring. These treats also get stale fast, at least, they don’t stay soft for long.
See more doggy nutritional guides here!
5. Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Dog Treats
The Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Dog Treats are grain-free and feature all-natural ingredients with no artificial preservatives. This brand also features spearmint extract to help freshen breath. They come in several flavors and sizes.
We didn’t like that there is no meat, and the calories are high for a healthy treat. The treat package uses a very flimsy inner bag that isn’t sealed and doesn’t provide much protection from the environment.
6. Zuke’S Superfood Blend Dog Treats
The Zuke’S 61055 Superfood Blend Dog Treats are a band of dog treats recently bought out by Purina. These treats use all-natural, nutrient-rich greens in their ingredients. No corn or wheat that might hinder digestion.
Our biggest problem with these treats is the inclusion of molasses. Molasses is high in sugar which can lead to tooth decay. It has no place in a healthy dog treat.
7. Blue Buffalo Health Bars Dog Treats
The Blue Buffalo 801857 Health Bars Crunchy Dog Treats feature real bacon and all-natural ingredients. These treats contain plenty of vitamins and minerals and are omega-3 fortified, which can help with brain and eye development and has plenty of other benefits as well. There is no BHA, BHT, or other chemical preservatives.
8. Hill’s Grain Free Dog Treats
The Hill’s Grain Free Dog Treats are a soft treat that’s easy for your pet to manage. There are no harmful preservatives, and they don’t contain wheat, corn, or soy, which can cause reactions in dogs.
We didn’t like that these treats contain peas, which lead to heart disease in dogs. There is also molasses, which is high in sugar and can promote tooth decay. These treats also dry out quickly and break when they do.
- If you are interested in making your own treats, get the Vet approved recipes here!
9. Nudges Steak Grillers Dog Treats
The Nudges 014125 Steak Grillers Dog Treats feature beef as their main ingredient. There are no meat by-products or harmful preservatives. The ingredients are all-natural and provide plenty of vitamins and minerals.
While we were giving our dogs these treats, one of them contracted something called hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HE). We can’t be sure our dog got it from the treats, nor do we know what could be in them, but when we researched further, we saw that a lot of other dogs came down with it as well after eating these treats. Another thing we didn’t like is that they contain chicken, while usually a good thing, some people might buy a steak product because their dog is allergic to chicken. There’s no reference to the chicken unless you read the ingredients. These treats also tend to break apart into crumbs.
10. ORIJEN Protein Freeze-Dried Dog Treats
The ORIJEN High-Protein Freeze-Dried Dog Treats are the last brand of dog treats on our list. These treats feature limited ingredients and only contain what’s necessary for a healthy pet. There is no grain. There are several flavors available, including duck, beef, lamb, and boar.
While we were feeding these treats to our dogs, we noticed they smelled terrible. The smell was very overpowering and would get on your hands. These also come in a small package that goes quickly, especially when these treats are prone to breaking up into dust.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Dog Treats
Treats vs. Food
Dog food usually has a label that says it’s food and not a treat. It comes in a large bag and is a complete and balanced meal. Treats traditionally come in a small container, and do not attempt to be a balanced meal. Treats are for intermittent feeding and training. These foods are often high in protein, carbohydrates, fat, and sugar. Though treats are supposed to be tasty and given infrequently, we still recommend avoiding sugars where possible, as tooth decay is a leading problem for dogs.
One of the first things that we recommend you do with any brand of dog treat is to look at the ingredients. You don’t want to see any meat byproduct, corn, wheat, or soy. A treat doesn’t need to have whole meat listed as its first ingredient, but it’s better if it does. The higher the quality of ingredients, the more you can give to your pets without adverse effects occurring.
Grain vs. Grain Free Dog Treats
Grain-free is not as crucial in a treat than a food, but if you can find a treat that is grain-free that your dog enjoys, we recommend going with that. Grain can put weight on your dog quickly and it can also cause digestive issues.
Peas are a prominent ingredient in dog food, especially in grain-free dog food, and this includes treats. Peas can cause heart disease in dogs, and we recommend avoiding them at any cost. You will need to be vigilant and watch the ingredient labels as many brands are still reacting to the news and have not yet reformulated.
We recommend avoiding harsh chemical preservatives like BHT and BHA as these chemicals cause adverse health problems for your pet. These chemicals are in our food too and we should avoid them in our diet.
Treat size is important if you have a small dog or puppy. Many treats made for dogs can be quite large and are often very hard. A puppy or small dog will struggle to try to eat these kins of treats. On the other hand, large dogs will have little use for puppy treats. Always keep the size of your dog in mind when purchasing your treats.
Soft vs. Crunchy
Similar to the treat size problem. Some dogs will struggle with treats that are very hard, especially if they have a tooth problem. We recommend keeping an eye on your pet, and if it looks to be struggling, switch to a smaller or softer treat.
We hope that you have enjoyed these reviews and buyer’s guide. Again, we’d like to point you in the direction of our pick for the best overall. The Blackwood Pet Dog Treats are grain-free, have all-natural ingredients, and feature duck as the main ingredient. The Buddy Biscuits Teeny Treats is our pick for the best value, and it’s another excellent choice for a low-cost, high-quality treat that your dog will enjoy.
If you know more than you did and feel more confident about making your next purchase, please share these healthy dog treats on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured image credit: Buddy Biscuits, Grain Free Oven Baked Crunchy, Amazon