The Ultimate Treat Guide

I hope you and your pup friend are having a bark-tastic day! I have written a treat guide that I am super excited to share with you. Abby and I share our top treats in this post. My hope is that if you have a sensitive or picky pup this will give you some new ideas.

Shopping

I learned quickly that most supermarkets where I live carry very few gluten-free dog treats. Therefore, even though I was skeptical, I began researching treats online. I eventually ended up on Chewy. I would highly recommend shopping here because the prices are the best I have seen. Additionally, they ship fast. The longest I had waited for a package from them was three days and I never pay extra to get it here quicker.

A Healthy Balance 

Research has shown that about 54% of dogs are overweight or obese. Yes, dogs enjoy eating. However, their humans are responsible for feeding them properly.  Dogs do not spell love F-O-O-D. On the contrary, they spell it T-I-M-E. The number one reason our pets are overweight is we overfeed them by about 20%.

Those “extras” are another reason dogs are putting on weight. Table scraps is a bad habit to be in for many reasons. High caution should be used and lots of research to know what is digestible for your dog. For example, grapes are dealy but carrots are good for dogs. Too many large cookies, jerky, or biscuit treats contribute to the problem. Lastly, an audience of bones puts on weight.

Of course, the breed of dog effects their weight. Similar to humans, even those who are more prone to being overweight should take preventive measures.

I calculate an estimate of the calories that Abby takes in daily. I schedule ahead of time when she will get a bigger treat such as a bone. When using a bigger treat I will decrease her kibble intake for the day.

Things to consider when buying treats

First, I consider ingredients. I prefer a treat that includes a fruit or veggie. I also consider chemicals added. I go towards low calorie treats that I can break easily. I do this so that we can use them in training. Lastly, the price must be considered. I would say I get two bags once every month or every other month. I recommend also thinking of why you are giving your dog the treat, for example, for training or to relieve stress.

Fruitables Skinny Minis Soft & Chewy 

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I love the size of these cookies. Moreover, they are easy for me to break. I love that the main ingredient in this cookie are fruits. They smell like people food. Rich in natural antioxidants, vitamins, and dietary fiber. Low-calorie treat is great for training and as a guilt-free reward for your dog. No wheat, corn, soy or artificial flavors or colors.

Zuke’s Mini Naturals

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Again, I love the size. I break these treats as well. These are best kept in the package not put in the cookie jar so that they stay soft enough to break. Seasonings and whole foods help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Less than 3.5 calories per treat. Great for training.

Vita Essentials 

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The biggest downside to these treats would be the price. I don’t love them. They are nearly impossible to break. I love that these treats are raw. The calories are a bit higher than the cookie options I talked about above. They are super smelly which can be good when playing find it with treats outdoors. These can be used as high reward treats.

 

Chewing

Dogs enjoy chewing. They chew to relieve stress, boredom, to keep their jaw in shape, and to clean their teeth. This is why we offer them bones or chew toys.

Z-Bones

Fight bad breath with these natural, wholesome bones made from a blend of fruits and veggies. Assists in removing plaque and tartar.

Bully Sticks

Bully sticks are a healthy long last chew treat. They can be a little pricey.  This is a fantastic alternative to Rawhide which can be dangerous for dogs. Only made from high-protein beef muscle, bully sticks are ideal for your dog. Beef is a complete source of amino acids, which support your dog’s muscles, brain, skin, and coat. This treat is the highest calorie treat that Abby eats. They do have a unique smell but it is not awful in my option.

 

Elk Antler 

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Abby has an Elk Antler on hand that she usually chews in the morning or evening. She has had the same one for at least three months. Antlers are high in healthy minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus. The majority of antlers will last a dog months. No smell. I advise researching what brand to get. The first one I had purchased for her she had no interest in.

Himalayan Dog Chew

This is an alternative to the Elk Antler. Again, you can expect this treat to last for a minimum of one month. All natural ingredients: yak and cow milk, salt and lime juice. At the end, when the treat looks too small, you pop it in the microwave for another treat. It becomes a cheese puff texture treat which is devoured quickly. 

Non-Food Chews 

Abbys favorite chew toy is the Nylabone. Nylabones are zero calories. There are a wide variety of textures and flavors to keep your pup engaged. It is essential to note the weight on the packaging. If you purchase one that is less than your dog’s weight you can expect it to break easily.

 

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Pup Pops

Summer can be hard on dogs as too much heat is not a good thing. Keeping them cool to avoid health issues is vital. There are lots of creative ways to keep your pup cool this summer. One of our favorites is pup pops. I make these frozen treats in under five minutes. They are healthy, inexpensive, and given five paws by Abby. It is easy to have variety as well. I think this is also great for dogs who don’t drink enough in the heat. Nothing replaces water but hopefully, this helps a bit.

I usually use what we have on hand so I am not buying anything extra. I use about 1/2 a teaspoon of coconut oil, a fruit, and some water. Abby is eight months so I water it down a bit. She is very easy-going and doesn’t mind it one bit. Adding the water allows the mix to go further as well.

Some specific combinations we use are:

Blueberry (4-8), coconut oil, and water.

Banna (1/2 or less), coconut oil, and water.

Carrot (1/2), Banna (1/2 or less), coconut oil, and water.

Watermelon (2-5 pieces), coconut oil, and water.

Strawberry (2-3), coconut oil, and water.

I use an inexpensive ice try. I make two sizes. I do not fill it with the mix. I use just enough to cover the bottom so that they are very thin. This allows Abby to have a few a day. The “bigger” ones I make are less than half way full. Once made it will last us at least two weeks.

I love to make a few batches and slowly freeze them over a few days so that I don’t have to make them as often. I use a Nutri bullet to blend it all. I throw together the mix then refrigerate till I am ready to freeze them. They probably take about a half hour to an hour to freeze. We store them in a Tupperware container.

I have this great chart which I will share with you. However, I will note what I will never use in Abby’s pup pops and why.  To me, it is a general guide and I research the best I can before allowing Abby to have it.

it is a general guide and I research the best I can before allowing Abby to have it.

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I would personally refrain from oranges (because of the string and high sugar content), doggie bacon (I don’t allow Abby to eat this at all), and raspberries (they have some xylitol) from the filling list.

As I mentioned before we use coconut oil as our filler. Coconut oil is healthy and Abby loves it. Under no circumstances would I add bacon grease because that is unneeded fat or peanut butter because many sources list this as toxic. I know many people view peanut butter as debatable if it is or isn’t toxic for dogs, but I’d rather play it safe. I’m not positive I would use honey either because of the sugar content.

Personally, I have opted recently to avoid rawhide after some research and hearing some horror stories. Therefore from the chew section, we only use carrots.

I am not saying that no one can use those ingredients we just personally do not. Each pup is unique and has unique needs. I try to be selective with what Abby eats for a few reasons; she will be a working dog, therefore, needs to be healthy and doesn’t do well with anything overly processed.

We will be trying more veggie pup pops soon! Some veggies you might want to add include but are not limited to broccoli, peas, celery, zucchini, or kale.

Share your favorite pup pop with us! If you try any of our recipies be sure to let us know what you think.