The Ultimate Guide to Dog Treats

Mar 15, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Dog Treats

Table of contents:

  1. Understanding Treat Types
  2. Choosing the Right Treats
  3. Healthy Homemade Options
  4. Treats as Part of a Balanced Diet
  5. Conclusion

Welcoming a furry friend into your home is an exciting adventure filled with joy, bonding, and, of course, treats! Treats are an essential part of dog ownership, playing a vital role in training, rewarding good behaviour, and simply showing your dog some love. However, with the vast array of options available, choosing the right treats for your pup can seem daunting. Fear not, this guide is here to help you navigate the world of dog treats.

Understanding Treat Types

1. High-Value Treats: These are the “luxury” treats in the dog world, often used for training or special rewards. They’re irresistible to most dogs, making them powerful tools for positive reinforcement. High-value treats are usually more flavourful or aromatic, like cooked chicken, cheese, or commercial treats made with high meat content. Remember, these should be used sparingly to maintain their “high-value” status and prevent weight gain.

2. Low-Calorie/Healthy Treats: Ideal for regular use, healthy treats can include commercial options that are low in fat and calories, or natural snacks like carrot sticks, green beans, or apple slices (without the seeds). These treats are great for keeping your dog’s weight in check and can be given more liberally than high-value treats.

3. Dental Treats: These are designed to help with oral health, reducing tartar build-up and keeping your dog’s breath fresher. While not a substitute for regular dental care, they can be a beneficial part of your dog’s oral hygiene routine.

4. Interactive Treats: Treats like stuffed Kongs, puzzle feeders, or slow feeders provide mental stimulation and can keep your dog entertained for longer periods. You can use a mix of high-value and healthy treats in these toys to keep your dog engaged.

Choosing the Right Treats

When selecting treats for your dog, consider the following:

  • Ingredients: Look for treats with high-quality, recognisable ingredients. Avoid products with a long list of artificial preservatives, colours, or fillers. For dogs with allergies, there are many grain-free and single-protein options available.

  • Size and Texture: The size of the treat should be appropriate for your dog’s size and chewing ability. Soft treats can be broken into smaller pieces for training, while harder treats might last longer for leisurely chewing.

  • Purpose: Decide what you’re using the treats for (training, dental health, entertainment) and choose accordingly. Training treats should be small and tasty, dental treats should be appropriately sized for chewing, and interactive treat toys should be compatible with the treat size.

Healthy Homemade Options

Making dog treats at home can be a fun and rewarding experience. It allows you full control over the ingredients, ensuring your dog is getting a healthy and safe snack. Simple recipes can include baked sweet potato slices, dehydrated meats, or homemade biscuits using peanut butter, pumpkin, and whole wheat flour. Always check that your ingredients are safe for dogs and consult with your vet if you’re unsure.

Treats as Part of a Balanced Diet

Treats should complement your dog’s overall diet and not exceed 10% of their daily caloric intake. This is crucial to avoid obesity and nutritional imbalances. Always adjust the amount of food at meal times to account for the calories from treats.


Treats are more than just tasty snacks; they’re tools for training, methods for improving dental health, and ways to show love and affection. By choosing the right treats for your pet—whether they’re high-value rewards, healthy snacks, or part of an interactive game—you’re ensuring a happier, healthier life for your new dog. Remember, the best treat of all for your dog is your time and attention, so enjoy every moment of your adventure together!

© Vet Verified 2024