The 10 Best Healthy Dog Treats (2020 Reviews & Buying Guide)

Like humans, dogs love to indulge in treats and snacks. But while giving your pup an extra treat may be considered giving them “junk food”, know that there are a number of healthier options available that don’t sacrifice taste.

Healthy dog treats can taste just as good as regular dog treats, but include high-quality ingredients, vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional content that can make indulging guilt-free. Most importantly, these are all natural dog treats and snacks without artificial colors, flavors, or excess sugar. Some can even help with dental health!

To help you choose the best healthy dog treats to give your pup, we scoured hundreds of products to find the best options for all different breeds, sizes, and situations. We also reviewed labels on all of the below products to find those that provide the best nutritional benefit.

Here is a list of the top 10 healthy dog treats to give your dog:

Best Healthy Dog Treats – Full Reviews

1. Full Moon Natural Organics – USDA Organic Jerky

Editor’s Review: Best Organic Dog Treats

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Key Features:

Are you looking for all natural, USDA organic treats for your dog? Full Moon Natural Organics makes a high quality jerky that comes in both chicken and beef that is perfect for your pet. The jerky is made from human grade ingredients, all sourced from family farms in the US. Chicken is free range and organic, while the beef is grass-fed and pasture raised. Better yet, Full Moon Organics contains no artificial flavorings, colors, or preservatives, so you know you’re getting the healthiest organic option for your dog.

Pros:

  • Certified USDA Organic
  • Human grade ingredients
  • Made with free range chicken, organic whole grains
  • All natural, no artificial flavors, colorings, preservatives, or animal by-products
  • Brown rice is gluten free and has a low glycemic index
  • Made in the USA
  • Good price for human grade ingredients
  • Also comes in beef

Cons:

  • Treats can dry out if package not closed up properly
  • Contains small amounts of organic cane sugar for softness, which some owners may not like

2. Spot Farms All-Natural Chicken Apple Sausage Dog Treats

Editor’s Review: Best Natural Dog Snacks

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Key Features:

Treat your dog to the perfect all natural, farm to table ingredients in the Spot Farms Chicken Apple Sausage dog treats. All treats are made in the USA from antibiotic free chicken sourced from family farms in Kentucky. The are of course no artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors, and all ingredients are human grade. You can read the entire (small) ingredient list here to get an idea: Chicken, Honey, Apples, Ground Brown Rice, Glycerin, Salt, Vinegar, Natural Flavor, Rosemary Extract, Allspice, Cinnamon.. that’s it!

Pros:

  • Human grade ingredients
  • Made in the USA
  • Small, and bite-sized
  • Best treats for small dogs on our list
  • All natural, no preservatives, antibiotics, artificial colors or flavors
  • Chicken raised in family farms in Kentucky
  • Made with brown rice and real apples

Cons:

  • High quality ingredients don’t come cheap – some owners have said these treats are pricier than others

3. Zuke’s Natural Training Dog Treats; Mini Naturals

Editor’s Review: Best Treats for Training Dogs

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Key Features:

Zuke’s Mini Naturals are the top healthy treat for those owners looking to train their pet. These small chewy treats are only three calories each, so giving your dog a number of them is not actually too indulgent! The product is made entirely in the USA, using chicken as the primary ingredient, and does not have artificial flavorings or colors. It is worth noting that while the treats do not include wheat, corn, or soy, they do contain other grains.

A number of owners have reported success using Zuke’s to train their dogs in anything from commands, through even going up and down stairs. Many have mentioned that while the smell of these treats is strong (and can be unpleasant for those owners who have sensitive noses), dogs love the smell and respond very well to them when taken out.

These treats also contain turmeric, which provides a host of health benefits including a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antioxidant benefits. For other sources of turmeric, check out our reviews of the best joint supplements for dogs.

Pros:

  • Small size, perfect as a natural training treat for dogs
  • Chicken is the first product on the ingredient list
  • No corn, wheat or soy
  • No artificial flavors or colorings
  • Made with cherries and turmeric to help reduce inflammation
  • Made in the USA
  • Soft and chewy

Cons:

  • Strong smell which may be unpleasant for owners, though our dogs have loved the smell
  • Contains some grains for those looking for a grain-free diet (rice, barley)

4. Brutus & Barnaby Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Editor’s Review: Best Vegetarian Healthy Dog Treats

sweet potato dog treats

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Key Features:

For those owners looking for a vegetarian treat that is a great substitute for raw hide, check out these sweet potato dog treats from Brutus & Barnaby. These thick cut, dehydrated slices are made of just sweet potato – no other artificial flavorings, colors, or excess sugar. Sweet potato is a wonder food for dogs and humans alike, and naturally includes anti-oxidants, fiber, and vitamins & minerals that promote gut health, and a strong immune system. The makers claim that these treats are also great for diabetic dogs, as they balance blood sugar levels.

These treats are both gluten free and grain free, and are easy to digest. Available in both 14 oz smaller packages, as well as a large 2 pound bag.

Pros:

  • Contains only sweet potatoes, vegetarian option
  • Thick cut slices so dogs can take time to chew
  • Gluten and grain free
  • Low fat and low glycemic food with lots of natural vitamins
  • No added sugar
  • 100% money back guarantee if you do not like product
  • Good healthy alternative to rawhide

Cons:

  • Once wet, these act like regular sweet potatoes and will not last. Make sure to keep in a dry place.
  • Treats are on the pricier end of the market

5. Old Mother Hubbard Natural Crunchy Dog Treats

Editor’s Review: Top Rated Natural Dog Biscuits

Oven baked dog biscuits

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Key Features:

Old Mother Hubbard makes our top choice for all natural dog biscuits with a crunch. We’re featuring the large biscuit option, but these bites also come in a number of sizes including small and mini treats for smaller breeds. These treats have a flavorful peanut butter taste, and also include carrots, apples, and a hint of molasses.

Dog owners who have added these crunchy treats in their dog’s treat rotation have noted that their dogs have preferred these to other options (one reviewer talks about beating out marrowbones, Kirkland lamb treats, and milkbones).

These treats come in either a 3.3 pound bag, or a larger 20 pound box.

Pros:

  • Made with all natural ingredients
  • Good for both treats and well as training
  • Comes in three sizes depending on your dog’s breed: mini, small, and large
  • Made in North America (Canada)
  • Includes peanut butter, molasses, apples, and carrots

Cons:

  • Includes cane molasses for those looking for sugar free options
  • All natural, though not approved organic ingredients

6. Nudges Natural Dog Treats – Steak

Editor’s Review: Best Healthy Dog Treats for Big Dogs

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Key Features:

If you’re looking for a large, meaty option for bigger dogs, take a look at Nudges all natural dog treats. These steak treats have real beef from the USA as the first ingredient, and contain no wheat, soy, corn or animal by-products. There are also no artificial flavors or preservatives. Nudges comes in two sizes; a 16 ounce package or a larger, 36 ounce package.

Pros:

  • Made with all natural ingredients
  • No preservatives or artificial flavorings
  • Made in the USA, with American beef as the first ingredient
  • Good size for large dog breeds
  • No corn, wheat, or soy

Cons:

  • The steak option does include chicken as a secondary ingredient, so may not be suitable for those dogs that cannot eat chicken
  • Not as cheap as other options on this list

7.Milk-Bone Brushing Chews – Dental Dog Treats

Editor’s Review: Best Cheap Healthy Dog Treats for Dental Care

milkbone dental brushing chews review

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Key Features:

Looking for a natural dog treat that helps with dental care? You’re in luck. Check out Milk-Bone brushing chews. These all-natural dog treats help your dog’s dental health on multiple levels including freshening breath, sustaining strong and healthy gums, and reducing tartar build up on teeth. Based on the reduction of tartar, Milk-Bone claims this equates to brushing your dogs teeth twice per week. These dental treats also have no artificial flavors, and contain a number of essential vitamins and minerals.

They come in small, medium, and large sizes depending on your dog’s breed.

Pros:

  • No artificial flavors
  • Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) accepted
  • Promotes dental health by fighting tar building, and maintaining healthy gums
  • Contains calcium, as well as other vitamins and minerals
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • While these do help dental health, regular brushing of your dog’s teeth is still required
  • Contains many more ingredients than the other products on this list- some owners may not consider these to be truly “all-natural” treats despite there being no artificial flavors. Should read the detailed ingredients if this concerns you.

8. Hill’s Science Natural Jerky Strips

Editor’s Review: Best Cheap Healthy Dog Treats

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Key Features:

Hill’s Science Natural Jerky Strips are a great option for dogs who love the taste and feel of jerky. These strips come in both beef jerky and chicken jerky options, as well as regular or mini sizes based on your dog’s breed size.  These treats also have no artificial preservatives or flavorings.

Hill’s Science has consistently been a reputable brand, and claims to be the top veterinarian recommended option.

In our tests, the dogs seem to love the smell, despite the treats being very pungent in smell. We also used them, cut up into a number of small pieces, to help a picky eater to eat his regular food. Overall, a great option for those looking for an affordable, healthy dog treat.

Pros:

  • Made in the USA
  • Chicken or beef is the first ingredient
  • Affordable price
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Veterinarian recommended treat
  • Full guarantee – if you don’t like it you can return the unused portion for a full refund

Cons:

  • Strong smell. Some owners, including us, have noticed this. Dogs seem to love it though.
  • Can be dry and tough, as it is a jerky product
  • Product contains grains, which may be a concern for some owners who would like a grain free treat

9. Greenies Natural Dental Dog Treats

Editor’s Review: Best Dental Treats

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Key Features:

Greenies Natural Dental Treats are our pick for the top healthy dental treat to give your dog. We featured the petite dog size for these chews, but they also come in multiple sizes for small, and large dogs as well.

These treats are Veterinary Oral Health Council accepted, and fights plaque, tartar buildup, and freshens breath with mint automatically. Better yet, these are made with all natural ingredients that are easy to digest, and contain a long list of essential vitamins including calcium, vitamin E, vitamin B12, vitamin B5, niacin, Vitamin A, and more. One of the other main draws of these treats is the chewy texture. While it helps to clean teeth, dogs also love to gnaw away at them.

Pros:

  • Promotes dental health; cleans plaque and tartar automatically
  • Freshens breath with mint flavor
  • Contains a long list of vitamins and minerals
  • All natural, and easy to digest ingredients
  • Available in multiple sizes for any dog breed type
  • VOHC approved for dental health

Cons:

  • More expensive than similar dental treats
  • Not a total replacement for regular dental cleaning

10. Blue Buffalo BLUE Bits Natural Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats

Editor’s Review: Best Healthy Dog Treats for Puppies

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Key Features:

If you’re looking for a perfect small treat for your puppy, give Blue Buffalo Bits a try. These bite sized hearts have beef as the first ingredient, contain no meat by-products, and pack DHA to help support healthy cognitive development in your pup. Ingredients include flaxseed oil, as well as salmon oil that help provide Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These treats can also go along well with dog food specifically made for puppies.

Pros:

  • Comes in small bits, perfect size for puppies
  • DHA, which helps cognitive development
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Beef is the first ingredient
  • Contains flaxseed, a great source Omega fatty acids
  • Contains salmon oil
  • No wheat, corn, or soy

Cons:

  • Treats can dry out if not sealed properly
  • Contains maple syrup, for those not looking for added sugar

Healthy Dog Treats Buying Guide

There are a number of things to consider when buying healthy dog treats.

Stick to the “10% Rule”

One rule of thumb to consider when giving your dog treats is the 10% rule. This means that treats or other extra food should not make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Treats are a great thing to reward your pup with, but shouldn’t interfere with their normal daily diet.

Avoid Hard or Sharp Treats

All of the treats we featured in our list are easy to chew and digest. On this note, try to avoid giving your dog anything sharp that may puncture their skin or gums. This includes jagged bones and other extremely hard treats.

Buy Breed Size Appropriate Treats

If you have a small dog, it’s probably best not to buy large treats that they may have trouble chewing. Likewise, if you have a large dog, giving them a lot of really small treats meant for toy-sized dogs may not be the best direction either. When purchasing any treat, try and look for sizes that are appropriate for your breed – the good news is that almost every option on our list comes in multiple sizes.

Read the Ingredient List

We took great care in reading the ingredient lists for every product we recommend, but it’s incredibly important to take a look for yourself. This is especially important if your pup needs particular dog food for allergies, or you’re trying to feed them a specific diet. All natural dog treats, like those featured here, are a great start in the first place. Every option on our list does not include artificial flavor or preservatives, and many are even USDA organic certified.

Above all else, sticking to simple ingredients is the best policy. If the ingredients you’re reading seem hard to understand, it might be a good idea to look at other options.

PetListed Verdict

There are a wide range of healthy dog treats to choose from. First thing to consider if what size of treat would suit your dog. Do you have a large lab that needs big treats, small dog that needs tiny bites, or a puppy? Second, look for all natural ingredients. The good news is that we’ve done all of the research for you on this list.

healthy dog treats

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: What are healthy dog treats?

Answer: Healthy dog treats are treats that do not contain artificial ingredients, flavors, or preservatives. Many include certain certifications such as USDA Organic, Vet approved, etc. These treats also tend to use higher quality meat, including no meat by-products. While they are considered “healthy” it doesn’t meant that they can’t be tasty! In fact, we would argue that many of them taste even better than their non-natural counterparts.

Question: What are dog treats made of?

Answer: Dog treats can be made out of a number of ingredients, so it is important to read the ingredient list of each option very carefully. Some many simply include vegetables, as in the case of sweet potato chews, others will generally have some sort of meat component such as beef or chicken. Many will also contain certain grains, and vitamin supplements to help with a dog’s health.

Question: Is it bad to give a dog too many treats?

Answer: In general, you should not give enough dog treats to exceed 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Too many treats can be unhealthy, and also be counterproductive when it comes to your dog liking its regular food. As tempting as it is, try to keep a dog treat for what it is – a treat!

Question: Are homemade dog treats safe?

Answer: Homemade dog treats can potentially be safe, but you should use caution when making them. Try to include as many healthy ingredients as possible, including fruits and vegetables. Things like squash, brussels sprouts, pumpkin, spinach, kale, apple, broccoli, and carrots are great options.

Make sure to also cook your homemade treats to a temperature high enough to kill germs and other harmful bacteria. This will help keep the treats safe.

Question: Are dental dog chews effective?

Answer: Yes and no. The important first step is to look for a dental chew that is approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (both options on this list are VOHC approved). While these dog treats are a great first step in terms of reducing plaque and tartar, it is still important to regularly brush your dog’s teeth in addition to providing dental treats.

Question: What treats do dog trainers use?

Answer: Trainers use a wide variety of treats, and ultimately look for something the dog likes. Many use the sausage type rolls of treats as these can be easily split up, refrigerated, or frozen. Others have said that cheese is a great option. We have provided a couple options on this list that can be used as well. Take a look at the survey of 33 trainers at this page here to read more.

Question: What treats do dogs like best?

Answer: Treats can come in all shapes, flavors, and sizes. But ultimately the best treat is the one your dog likes best! It’s important to try a number of different treats as there isn’t a one-size fits all approach. Some may like cheese, some may like chicken or beef. Many like jerky style, while others like crunch biscuits.

Question: What are good low fat treats for a dog?

Answer: First, any change in diet should be talked through with your veterinarian. It depends on what you’re looking for. Dog safe fruits and vegetables (baby carrots, for example) are a great option for those looking for a low-fat, healthy treat. You can also look at the ingredient list of treats to see the fat content in each batch.

Question: When should you give a dog a treat?

Answer: Ultimately the answer depends on you! Rewarding your dog with a treat right after doing something good is great way to reinforce positive behavior. Giving treats during training is a perfect example of this.

Many owners may also break up treats into small pieces and mix it into regular food to help picky eaters. As long as you give your dog treats in moderation, any time is a good time.

Sources:

WebMD Pets – Healthy Dog Treats
PetsMD – Hazards to Avoid When Making Homemade Dog Treats
Billings Animal Hospital – Are Dental Dog Chews Effective
The Honest Kitchen – Survey of 33 Dog Trainers

Shellie Sutera
Shellie is a writer from sunny Miami, Florida. When she’s not secretly smuggling her adorable dog Hercules into the local beaches for sun and surf, she’s a passionate writer that specializes in writing about dogs and all of their unique quirks. She spends her free time cooking Italian food, raft boating, volunteering and traveling to dog-friendly destinations.