Ask Dr. Tory: "What Are the Best Treats for Dogs?"

by Dr. Tory Waxman

Cocker spaniel dog taking a treat bone from person's hand

We want to help make every part of the dog parent journey easy, so here’s a cheat sheet of Dr. Tory's favorite treats for dogs.

When given in moderation alongside a well balanced diet, some treats can make for the perfect reward. But not all dog treats are created equal. Unfortunately, many varieties–even the ones promoting health benefits–can be filled with ingredients you’d never want to see in your pup’s food. 

So why would it be okay in their treats? 

Plainly, it’s not okay. Things like tapioca starch, rawhide and corn syrup can cause health issues and act way more as a trick than a treat in the long run. And that is why it is important to read the ingredients on any kind of treat you buy. 

But of course, we want to help make every part of the dog parent journey easy, so here’s a cheat sheet of some treats that I feel good about feeding my own dogs. 

The Best Treats for Dogs 

Take a look at some of my favorite treats that are tasty, healthy and safe to share with your dog. 

1. Single ingredient protein treats: You don’t have to worry about scary additives and filler ingredients when you shop single ingredient treats. Check out a brand like King Lou Treats which offers pups a boost of protein in the form of a tasty reward. You can choose from whole duck feet, minnows, salmon bites and more. 

2. Mashed sweet potato: Yes, this might sound messy, but it isn’t when you stuff some mashed sweet potato inside of a Kong or spread it across a lick mat–you can even sprinkle a few pieces of Sundays on top. Not only will your pup enjoy the tasty treat, but also the enrichment that comes along with it. 

3. Yak Cheese Dog Chews: A limited ingredient treat choice great for the chewers out there, Yak Cheese Chews are long-lasting and all-natural. They are easier to digest than rawhide chews and are chemical and preservative-free. 

4. Zukes Training Minis: Perfect for reward-based training, dogs love these tasty bites and I love that Zukes’ treats are made in the USA and made without corn, wheat and soy, and free of fillers, by-products, and artificial colors or flavors.

5. Bocce’s Biscuits: Bocce’s makes some of the best allergy-friendly crunchy and biscuit type treats you can find. They keep their ingredient lists simple and all-natural. 

6. Frozen blueberries: Does your dog have a sweet tooth? Frozen blueberries make for a great treat option for pups who like a crunchy and tart taste. Plus blueberries have plenty of health benefits which is why we include the fruit in each of our recipes. 

7. Fresh green beans: Another crunchy and low calorie option, dogs love fresh green beans as a reward. Just be sure to rinse before treating and cut off any stringy pieces.  

8. DIY recipe. If you have the time and want to whip up a special treat for your pup, consider making your own at home. This is a great way to know for certain what ingredients are being used. Check out a few of our own DIY treat ideas. 

And now that I’ve run through the best treats for dogs, here’s what I consider to be the worst:  

- Please avoid any kind of bone, I know they are super common and seem like the classic treat that can’t do much wrong, but they can, here’s more about why

- Also, many popular mainstream dental chews are filled with ingredients that cannot only damage dogs’ teeth overtime, but can impact their health in other negative ways too. 

- And standard cookie and biscuit type treats are typically filled with sugars, syrups and artificial ingredients, so always double check the ingredient panel before you buy. 

Remember that the best way to reward your pet with any treat is with supervision and in moderation. 

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