We spent over 35 hours researching and testing more than 20 different types of dog treats and found that quality ingredients, value for the money, and secondary benefits were the most important factors for consumers who were shopping for dog treats. Greenies Dog Dental Chews Dog Treats scored high marks in all categories and is our overall top pick. These unique dog treats help improve your dog’s dental health by fighting tartar buildup and plaque and improves your dog’s breath as well. These veterinarian-recommended dog treats are made from easy-to-digest, natural ingredients that will add to the overall nutrition your dog gets every day.
Dog Treats Buying Guide
There are several things you want to consider and look at when shopping around for the best dog treat for your dog. Below, we have listed several things you want to think about during your search so you choose the best dog treat you can for your fur baby.
Look at the nutritional facts – Since dog treats are not regulated the same way dog food is, you don’t always know what is in the treats that are on the market. Some companies have no idea what the nutritional breakdown is of their treats including how many calories they have in them. Look for dog treats that know what they have in their treats. This is especially important for dogs that have allergies. If you don’t know what ingredients are in the treat how can you tell if it is safe for your dog?
Brand reputation is important – When it comes to healthy, quality dog treats, brand name means a lot. You want to purchase dog treats made from a company that puts nutrition, health, and safety at the top of the list. Choosing a well-known, established company will help add a layer of security and reassurance that the dog treats you are serving your dog are quality treats they can safely enjoy. A good company has standards and quality control that ensures what is being put out there to sell is a quality product and not just something to bring in money.
Be careful about pet bakeries – Pet bakeries have grown in popularity and while this trend appeals to those who want to “do something special” for their dog, buying expensive, fancy treats from a bakery doesn’t make them healthier or better than a treat from a well-established company that has been producing healthy dog treats for decades. You also need to be aware of the qualifications of the pet bakery bakers. Do they know about dog nutrition specifically? Do they know everything that is in their treats along with the nutritional breakdown? Are they adhering to safety standards so your dog is safe from treats with spoiled or lesser quality ingredients? Although the concept is cute, getting your treats from one could be another matter entirely.
Organic Ingredients – Choosing dog treats that contain organic ingredients is always preferable because they will not typically have contaminants in them. They also get examined by inspectors more closely since there are certain criteria that must be met in order to use organic in the name. The more organic ingredients your dog treats have the better it is.
Natural sweeteners – sweeteners are not really necessary but if they are in your dog treats make sure they are natural sweeteners like molasses, honey, or even applesauce. A little bit of these natural sweeteners in a dog treat are okay as long as the dog isn’t getting too many of these treats.
Light on preservatives – Look for dog treats that only contain safe preservatives such as vitamin E and C. Vitamin E is usually listed as mixed tocopherols and is a safe preservative for your dog. Preservatives are used primarily for shelf life so if you choose dog treats that have no preservatives stay aware of how these treats need to be stored and use them in a timely manner or they could go bad.
Different Types of Dog Treats
The majority of dog treats on the market fall into two main categories: meaty dog treats and crunchy dog treats. We have provided some information about both types below so you understand the differences and features of each.
Meaty Style Treats – Meaty treats are not all alike. Depending on the treat, a meaty dog treat can be dried like jerky treats or baked or dehydrated. Meaty treats are going to be higher in animal protein than other types of dog treats. Some ONLY have meat and others might add some other foods that your dog could enjoy. This will vary from company to company.
A dog treat that is made with 100% meat is going to cost more than one made with vegetable or grain based products but they are much healthier and better for your dog. All meat treats may not last as long so pay attention to whether the treats you choose have to be refrigerated or not. The ideal thing to look for in a quality meaty treat is one that is made from as few ingredients as possible. The fewer ingredients the meaty dog treat has the better it is for your dog.
Cookie Style Treats – The other main type of dog treat you will find on the market is the cookie or biscuit style treat. This type of treat can be formed into a variety of fun dog-appealing shapes like Milk-Bone does with their bone shaped biscuits. Even though some dog cookie type dog treats can be quite large, the smaller pieces are better to prevent frequent choking.
Cookie type treats are usually made with grains or other carb and are baked. This is a large category of dog treats and as people have learned more about dogs and their nutritional needs, a lot of grain-free choices have entered the scene.
Depending on the company you may find cookie treats that use animal products to “flavor” the meat but will also have salt and sugar in them as well. These treats are not very healthy for your dog and add ingredients that can cause a variety of health problems long term.
The same principle applies to cookie style treats that we recommend for the meaty style treats; the fewer amount of ingredients used to make the dog treat the better it is for your dog.
Dog Treat Ingredients to Avoid
There are several things you want to avoid in the ingredient list of your dog treats. It is best for your dog to avoid the following ingredients.
Artificial colors – Colors are added to dog treats and dog food to enhance the color and make it look better to dog OWNERS not the dogs themselves. The dog has no concern over what color the treat is only that it tastes good. Artificial colors are just chemicals that are not good for your dog.
Artificial preservatives – Artificial preservatives include ingredients like potassium sorbate, BHA, ethoxyquin, sodium nitrate, and BHT. All of these things should be avoided and are not good for your dogs at all.
Chemicals – Chemicals like propylene glycol are often used in human and pet food to keep it chewy and moist and to keep preserved meats from discoloring. Molasses and vegetable glycerin are much better choices as preservatives than chemicals that can cause potential health problems. Make sure if there is any glycerin in the dog treats you are considering make sure that it is vegetable glycerin which is a food-sourced glycerin that is much healthier and safer.
Dog treats are a great way to train your dog and provides a means of bonding with your dog and creating a routine that your dog can look forward to each day. There are dozens of different dog treats on the market to choose from so if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, things can get overwhelming pretty quickly.
The purpose of this guide and the reviews of the three top-rated dog treats on the market are to help you easily sort through the different treats and choose the one that is the best for your dog’s needs, preferences, and health. With so m any treats on the market, it is far too easy to want to grab the first dog treat you can and go on with your day but not all dog treats are good or even safe for your dog.
All three of the top-rated dog treats we have reviewed above are made from natural ingredients that are safe and healthy for your dog to consume. They are made from premium ingredients and come from reputable companies that are known for producing healthy, well-made, natural dog treats. If you are looking for a fast solution for some healthy, quality dog treats for your dog any one of these three dog treat selections are a great choice.
The information provided for you in the buying guide helps you understand the ingredients that you should look for as well as those you should avoid. We have also provided tips on what you need to look for in a dog treat and how to spot the ones that are best. All of this information will allow you to make a confident decision on the best dog treats for your dog.