Healthy, Fun, Puppy Treats

By: Sarah Gardner

Getting the right puppy treats for rewarding your new pup is very important. Puppies require training as soon as they become part of your family to avoid them growing up to be sassy little monsters. Rewarding your puppy for good behavior is enjoyable and is effective in teaching your pup the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

The Best Recipes For High Value Puppy Treats!

From experience, with my dog Lady, I have learned that if you use a variety of different puppy treats, you will get a better response!  Don't keep to the same treat each time as they will quickly lose interest, which can result in the training becoming harder. As a suggestion, use a low-value treat for easy things and keep the high value 'Jackpot' treats for when you are teaching more challenging behaviors.

Look out for treats that are "holistic" and "organic" they're held to a higher standard. Stay clear of any treats that contain BHT, which is added to treats to extend the shelf life of a fat and BHA, has been proven carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). 

There is no need for your pups treats to contain wheat, corn, soy, preservatives or artificial colors. For more information on ingredients that you should avoid in a commercial dog treat and why, please visit our health dog treats page

Homemade Puppy Treats 

Making your puppies treats at home will allow you to manage the ingredients and will probably save you money too. If you're looking for a treat that has a little crunch, I would recommend the vegan PB and apple sauce clusters.  For the perfect soft treat, try making liver sponge cake - it's one of my dog's favorites and is great when used as a training treat.

You can say goodbye to nasty lingering odors as our homemade puppy treats all smell amazing when being cooked.  They're made with human-grade ingredients and are fit for human consumption. I've caught my husband eating our dog's homemade treats; he says that they taste pretty darn good. These treats are always the best choice for dog owners seeking a safe and healthy snack for their furry companion. 

BULLY STICKS AND CHEWS
TASTY TRAINING TREATS

EASY DOG TREATS
SOFT DOG TREATS

PEANUT BUTTER TREATS
FROZEN TREATS

HYPOALLERGENIC TREATS
LIVER DOG TREATS

ORGANIC DOG TREATS
HEALTHY BISCUITS

Human Foods That Can Be Used As Puppy Treats 

You can save money by using foods that you already have at home as treats for your puppy. There is a range of healthy human foods that I give to my dog. She goes crazy for them as they are different from regular puppy and dog treats. Below are a few of my recommendations:

  • Cheese 'My Dog's is Addicted' - Fresh mozzarella, cheese sticks, and cheddar cheese are always a great hit.
  • Fresh and Dehydrated Meats - Chicken, Liver, Turkey, you can use any meat. As a suggestion, if you're going to use a high-fat meat, only use a small amount. 
  • Healthy Fruit and Veggies 'Good if your dog is on a diet' - Make sure you always wash the ingredients and remove any rinds, inedible skins, seeds, and pits before feeding to your puppy or dog. Keep in mind that dogs can't generally digest these too well, so they may come out the same way as they went in - always keep the treats to a reasonable size to your dog or puppy!
  • Baby Food - Each time you reward your puppy for good behavior, or if he's learning a new trick, let him lick a small amount of baby food from a plastic spoon. Once the jar is empty, you can reuse this and fill it with peanut butter, cream cheese or something else that you know your puppy loves to keep them entertained.

DOG FRIENDLY FRUITS

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mango
  • Orange
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

DOG FRIENDLY VEGGIES

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli 
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower 
  • Celery 
  • Cucumber 
  • Green Beans
  • Lettuce
  • Pumpkin 'Good for Upset Stomachs'
  • Spinach 
  • Sweet Potato 

Using Your Pup's Regular Food (Wet or Dry)

Many dog owners need or want to use their dog's everyday food as treats. For instance:

  • Dogs on a prescription diet are limited to what treats, if any, can be given.
  • There are some doggies out there that are 'picky eaters,' and by using their preferred food, it works well.

Dried food taken from your puppy's daily allowance can be used during training sessions. However, this will only be successful if your puppy likes their dry food enough to do tricks for it! They can be encouraged by using it in a more exciting way than you usually would when giving you puppy his dinner, get excited with your puppy, and you will see a difference.

Try putting some of the dry food in a sealed bag with some small pieces of bacon, cheese, or a hot dog for a few hours before training - this will allow the kibble to soak up the flavor from the human food, which should get your puppy a little more excited for the treat. 

You can make new treats from your puppy's dry food (dry or wet food) which is quick and simple to do. There is no need to add any other ingredients that would put your dog at risk.  Click here for details on how to make treats out of your dog's food.

Commercial Puppy Treats 

Unfortunately, many brands of commercial puppy treats contain ingredients that are high in sugar and carbohydrates, which ultimately can contribute to many illnesses in dogs. 

Avoid purchasing commercial treats that contain corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, meat by meat products and meat meal.  For more detailed information on the ingredients that you should be avoiding, please check out my Healthy Dog Treats page.

Many puppy treats that can be labeled as 'moist' or 'soft.' Often these type of treats can contain a dangerous ingredient, Propylene Glycol. Propylene Glycol is another name for anti-freeze - for obvious reasons, don't buy any treats for your pup that contains this ingredient! As a vet assistant, I have experienced emergencies where dogs have drunk anti-freeze at home during the winter. It concerns me that this ingredient can potentially be in puppy treats.   

Other variants of Propylene Glycol include:

  • 1,2-dihydroxypropane 
  • 1,2-propanediol 
  • Methyl glycol
  • Trimethyl glycol

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