What are the best dog treats? Wow! That can be a difficult question. There are many times when we give treats to our dogs and the types can vary. Of course, your dog’s needs are first and foremost of concern when giving a treat.
I like to make my own dog treats, whenever possible. This gives me control over the ingredients. I know what exactly my dog is eating and that it’s safe for him and his needs. Additionally, the bonus is with homemade dog treats, I generally save money.
Today, we’ll explore homemade treats for different needs.
TIP: When using peanut butter for your dog, DO NOT use peanut butter with xylitol. It’s toxic!
When is the best time to give your pup a dog treat?
There are a few different types of treats to consider when training.
- High-Value Treat
If you’re trying a new trick or asking your dog to do something new, especially in a high distraction area (think other dogs, people, or anything that would pull your dog’s attention), then you would want to use a “high value” treat. Simply put, a high-value treat is a small, pea-sized, very smelly treat, which is not something your dog normally gets and will entice him to try this new trick.
I also like to use dehydrated chicken. My dog will perform very well for this high-value treat. Plus, it’s just chicken.
- Low-Value Treat
Another type of training treat is a low-value treat. These are treats you give your dog when he’s performing a trick that he knows fairly well, there are not too many distractions, and it’s just maintenance-type practice training. Again, this treat should be a treat your dog does not get any other time. It does not need to be as smelly as the high-value treat. Some people like soft low-value training treats. While others prefer more solid low-value treats. Either way, it should be very small as treats can be given many times during a training session.
2. Special needs dog treats
- Bad Breath Dog Treats
If you’re looking for a cookie for your dog that will also help with his doggie breath, then this is a good homemade treat to try. You can adjust the mint as you see fit.
- Senior Dog Treats
Your senior dog may be a bit slower to move with arthritis, but these homemade treats with turmeric will help.
- Pill Pocket Dog Treats
Do you need to give your dog a pill, but want to use a homemade pill pocket? Then these easy homemade, dog-tested pill pockets are for you.
3. Special occasion dog treats
If it’s your dog’s birthday, then you may want to celebrate with a slice of cake. This is a yummy doggie cake, that will have your dog wagging his tail with approval.
4. Summer dog treats
If you want to give your dog a cool treat in summer, this doggie ice cream is a good one to try.
Additionally, my dog really likes frozen peas, carrots, blueberries, and green beans.
5. Long-lasting dog treats
If you want your dog to be occupied for a few minutes, then these sweet potato jerky treats are perfect.
Recipe: Cut sweet potatoes into 1/2” – 2/3” strips, bake at 225F for 3-4 hours or until dried, let cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
6. The best everyday dog treats
If your dog is overweight, diabetic, or has any health issues, or is healthier than an ox, these are truly the best treats. Why? Because they are fresh and have only one ingredient. They are delicious for both you and your dog. My dog endorses them all. Don’t use any canned version of these foods.
- Apples – remove seeds & core
- Banana – low cal and perfect for overweight dogs
- Blueberries – these are great fresh or frozen
- Carrots – these are great fresh or frozen
- Cucumbers – low cal and perfect for diabetic dogs
- English Peas
- Pears – cored
- Snow Peas
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Watermelon – remove rind and seeds
Another good time to give a treat is when you’re bonding with your dog. In this article, I talk about how to successfully bond with your dog.
Tips about dog treats
1. The key to treat giving is to give them ONLY as a treat.
2. Give only a few each day. Less than 5-10% of his total food.
3. If you’re training, adjust your dog’s food for the number of treats given.
4. Try to always give as pure a treat as possible.
5. Store your homemade dog treats in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze them. Frozen treats are great!
It’s also a great idea to give your dog a treat when you’re doing something new, like trimming your dog’s nails at home. In this article learn how to easily care for your dog’s nails at home.
I always tell my dog, if I had someone to watch what I ate and prepare my meals, I’d be incredibly healthy. We are our dogs’ caretakers. That means we need to take care of them the best we possibly can, including giving treats. While they may want the pizza or bag of chips, you know better. You are his caretaker. Give him some love and a carrot. He’ll thank you for a healthier life.
You may also want to give treats to your dog when your brushing his fur. Especially, if you’re working on a mat.
Learn all about dog brushing in this article.
Yes, some store-bought dog treats can be pricey. However, you can bypass this by giving your dog more natural treats or homemade treats. These are my favorite kind of treats. You know exactly what’s in them and you have more control over what you do or don’t put into each batch. Dog treats are an essential part for dog parents as this is the way we get our dogs to learn obedience. So, pick the dog treat that’s best for your dog’s needs and then select how you want to provide that treat. It can definitely fit within a tight dog parent budget.
Summary of the best dog treat
There are many times we may give treats to our dogs. We can give high-value or low-value treats when we are training our dogs. We may also want to give treats to help improve bad breath, help with mobility, hide a pill, celebrate a birthday, or cool off during the heat of the summer. There are even times that treats are great for occupying a dog for a few minutes.
I like homemade dog treats. They allow me to control the ingredients for each need.
My favorite dog treats, which my dog fully endorses, are fresh dog-safe fruits and vegetables. He likes them either fresh or frozen.