One of the coolest things about being a dog nutrition blogger are the dog treats. I rarely buy dog treats anymore – we have tons thanks to generous dog owners who started making healthy, natural treats for their dog only to have it blossom into a business.
Our dogs aren’t complaining. And neither am I!
WARNING: This is going to be a long post, because there are a lot of dog treats to cover. With so many new brands coming on the market, dog owners have plenty of options for healthy dog treats.
I’ve broken them up into sections:
- Protein Dog Treats (other than chicken or beef)
- Dog Chews
- Fish Dog Treats
- Freeze-Dried Dog Treats
What I Look for in Dog Treats
I’m very careful about the dog treats I allow our dogs to snack on, because we have 4 dogs with various, yet minor, health issues:
- digestive issues (Rodrigo and Scout)
- itchy paws (Rodrigo and Zoey)
- history of yeasty infections (Rodrigo and Sydney)
- joint pain (Rodrigo and Sydney)
- weight gain (Sydney)
I don’t feed our dogs sweet potato treats, I feed cookies with all natural ingredients, and I prefer non-chicken protein jerky treats and chews that are made with few ingredients and have no connection to China.
Each brand is hyperlinked; some hyperlinks will take you to a previous review I have written about the brand that will give you more information, while others will result in a commission for me if you buy the treats after you click the link (I thank you in advance).
1. Healthy Protein Based Dog Treats and Chews
Scout and Zoe’s – nope, I didn’t start a treat company. Instead, we named our puppies after one of our favorite treat companies. One thing I LOVE about Scout and Zoe’s is that they make one ingredient chicken jerky treats that are sourced and made locally (no connection to Chinese treats whatsoever). But our dogs all have a chicken intolerance and Rodrigo is too strong of a chewer for S&Z’s antlers – bummer, right?
NO!!! Scout and Zoe’s makes duck and venison treats that our dogs love so we’re loyal customers once again!
Prairie Nature Bison Chewies, Beef Crunchies, and Turkey Chewies – we received a box of samples that I shared with Julz Animal Houz, because I hope she starts carrying them. These treats are all natural and made and sourced in the US. The smell is pretty over powering in a good way – that means whenever I touch a bag, the dogs come running. I even tried one myself – not bad (but I’ll leave them for the dogs).
Sojos Simply Meat Dog Treats – it’s all in the name. These treats are simply freeze dried meat. What I love, is that I can give them to our dogs without my fingers smelling like dog treats.
Barkworthies Kangaroo Steaks – Barkworthies isn’t new to us; I order their duck feet through our co-op. What is new is the novelty proteins Barkworthies offers, which is fantastic for dogs with protein allergies. Rodrigo has a sensitivity to beef and chicken and a partial sensitivity to salmon, turkey and lamb. Fun, right? He can have the occasional dog treat made from these proteins, but when I find proteins he can eat, I do a little happy dance.
Hare of the Dog Rabbit Treats – these look like jerky, but they’re crunchy meat treats and our dogs love them, so I buy them by the case (it’s a small case) through our co-op.
Noshers – these protein treats look like pepperoni sticks and I so wanted to try one for myself, because I used to LOVE pepperoni sticks. But they’re for our dogs and I really need to stop sampling their treats. It’s weird. What I love about Noshers is that they’re healthy and I trust the source and production.
Redbarn – because I’m always on a quest for protein treats other than chicken and beef, I want to add Redbarn to this list. They make natural lamb ears and if you can get past your dogs chewing on Mary’s Little Lamb, then this is a great option for dogs with chicken and beef allergies.
The lack of coating on the treats means they aren’t too rich for Rodrigo and Scout.
2. Healthy Cookies for Dogs
These are grain free, limited ingredient dog treats that I feel comfortable giving our dogs. I always look for treats that lack phony flavoring, preservatives that sound like chemicals, and common allergens like corn, soy, and wheat. A little bit of junk food is okay, but a steady diet of unhealthy dog treats undermines all the hard work I’m doing trying to understand dog nutrition.
Thanks to the number of dogs out there that have allergies, there are lots of brands selling healthier dog treats that we can trust.
- Riley’s Organic Dog Treats (we always have Riley’s in our home)
- Henry and Penny Dog Treats
- Bahia-Blue Sea Biscuits
- Pawstreet Barkery
- Ginger’s Treats (a local brand)
- City Bones (a local brand)
3. Dog Chews I Trust
Jones Natural Chews – what I love about JNC is that their treats are US sourced and US made. They have these one treats that are a tendon and bone (not wrapped around) that are only available in the Pacific Northwest and you can get them for a steal! I buy them for our dogs a couple times a year, because they are guaranteed to give me 20 minutes of peace with these nutty monkeys.
JNC Pumpers are pork hearts. Due to our dogs’ protein allergies, it’s nice to find a quality treat other than beef and chicken that is sourced and made in the US. JNC also makes a really cool bully stick called Cutie Q – it’s a spiral bully stick that lasts a long time. Although Rodrigo has a beef intolerance, he can handle a Cutie Q every now and then (just not every day).
Barkworthies Kangaroo Jerky and Duck Feet – Barkworthies lands on this list twice, because they also have chews (as mentioned above). I always have duck feet on hand for our dogs. They’re a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin. The kangaroo jerky occupies our dogs for a few minutes. They’re no pork pizzles, but they’re safe and healthy. And, BONUS, I can buy Barkworthies in bulk
And, BONUS, I can buy Barkworthies and Jones Natural Chews in bulk through our raw food co-op at a discounted price!
Pawstruck.com – what I love about Pawstruck is that their chews are so affordable. Have you purchased bully sticks and other chews at the pet store lately? They cost a fortune, especially for those of us raising multiple dogs. Even through our co-op, these are at the high end of my dog treat budget. But not Pawstruck, because they have tons of specials that I can afford.
4. Fish Dog Treats
Our dogs love fish treats and despite the fact that the fish treats aren’t always the best treat for dogs, I buy them anyway. They’re not the best treat, because the skin and fat is where all of the toxins are stored. I only buy from sources I trust.
The Honest Kitchen Beams – I buy these by the case through our raw food co-op. Our dogs love Beams. These catfish skins occupy their time for at least 5 minutes. It may not seem like a long time, but when you have 4 dogs, this is a lovely break some days. We call them “fish sticks” in our house and the dogs know what they are and become a well behaved pack when they know fish sticks are coming.
Bahia-Blue Fish Stix – These I buy regularly throughout the year and if the company offered an autoship, I would make sure we got a bag or 2 a month. Bahia-Blue makes dehydrated smelt treats for dogs. They’re high in Omega 3s and our dogs go crazy for them. It’s the entire smelt, head, bones, everything – perfectly safe to eat and so very healthy for our dogs.
5. Healthy, Freeze Dried Dog Treats
I really like freeze dried treats, because they’re as close to raw as I can get; there are loads of options out there, but I really only like a couple.
LincolnBark Nibbles (duck, green beef tripe, and salmon) – made in the USA, minimal ingredients, yummy, crunchy dog chews that our dogs love. Their treats are freeze dried raw treats that contain no preservatives, artificial colors, GMO (crazy that we have to worry about this now), gluten, grain, corn or soy. Don’t let the “freeze dried” fool you; these treats are healthy for all dogs, no matter their diet.
Sojos Simply Meat Dog Treats – Sojos made it on my list twice, because freeze dried are such a fantastic, easy treat to give to dogs. Limited ingredients, real proteins, and Simply Meat dog treats are perfect training treats..
Honorable Mention: Cloudstar Holiday Buddy Biscuits
There is one treat that I buy 3-4 boxes of each December. The Cloudstar Holiday Buddy Biscuits. Our dogs love them and they are part of our holiday tradition. They sell out fast (I have a friend who buys cases of them), so I buy them the second they are available on Amazon.com.