The best dog treats: what to look for (and avoid) with recommendations from an animal expert
We spoke to a top animal expert to get rid of the guesswork and help you choose the best dog treats for your furry friend.
Maybe you’ve been promoted, maybe you've run a marathon, or maybe you've simply survived the working week. Whoever you are, you deserve a treat, and so does your four-legged friend.
Alongside dog beds, dog toys and and dog food, dog treats are a hot topic in the world of pet ownership. They can be the perfect way to reward good behaviour, make excellent training aids, and can keep your pet occupied long enough to let your slippers see another day.
With a wealth of products available, it can be difficult to know which products are best for your pet and their needs. There is a lot to look out for when buying dog treats for your pet, from mysterious ingredient lists to calorific content.
The Recommended spoke to one of the UK's top animal experts to help get rid of the guesswork and help you make informed decisions when shopping for your pet. They gave us their take on what to look for (and avoid) when purchasing dog treats, and you can read all their advice in full at the bottom of this page.
In line with their expert advice, we've put together our list of the best dog treats, to keep you furry friend happy, healthy and well rewarded.
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The best dog treats at a glance:
- Best beef dog treats: Bounce and Bella Natural Dog Chews
- Best air-dried dog treats: Pets Purest Natural Dog Chews
- Best reduced fat dog treats: Good Boy Chewy Twists With Chicken
- Best dog treats for training: Pets Purest Beefy Bites
- Best fish dog treats: Woofs Natural Sprats
- Best chicken dog treats: JR’s Pure Chicken Training Treats
- Best dog treats for joint health: Green and Wilds Venison Joint Care Treats
- Best raw dog treats: Paleo Ridge Fish Skin Cubes
The best dog treats
Best beef dog treats: Bounce and Bella Natural Dog Chews
Made with just one ingredient, The Bounce and Bella Natural Dog Chews are 100% meat dog treats. These 100% beef dog chews are dehydrated for days and contain no additives or preservatives.
It seems that for Bounce and Bella, patience really is a virtue. Their natural dog chews are made using a natural slow drying process with no chemical interference. These dog chews are also made without gluten, sugar or grain and promise a guilt-free treat for your furry friend.
Best air-dried dog treats: Pets Purest Natural Dog Chews
Air-dried and junk-free
Grain, glucose and lactose-free, the Pets Purest Natural Dog Chews certainly live up to Caroline’s love of a basic ingredient list. Made with only pure pork and beef, these dog chews keep it simple.
These dog chews are made with quality ingredients and a natural drying process, this means no chemical additives or preservatives. Protein-packed, these dog chews promise to be a hit with your pooch without compromising on nutritional value.
Best reduced fat dog treats: Good Boy Chewy Twists With Chicken
Made for good boys (and girls)
Made with 100% chicken breast, these natural, chewy treats promise to be the perfect treat for your pet.
Low in fat but high in protein, the Good Boy Chewy Treats With Chicken are designed to be the perfect tasty addition to your pet’s balanced diet. Gluten and grain-free, these treats cater to pooches with sensitive stomachs, and the chewy texture helps your pet maintain healthy teeth.
Best dog treats for training: Pets Purest Beefy Bites
Raw and healthy
These bite-size beef treats promise to be the perfect reward snack for your pooch. Their small size and premium quality make them great training aids that aim to keep your pet in top shape.
Made without chemicals, additives or preservatives, these cruelty-free treats are ethically made and can be enjoyed by young puppies and golden oldies alike.
Best fish dog treats: Woofs Natural Sprats
For a silky coat
These 100% natural sprat treats promise to nourish your pet while keeping them entertained.
The Woofs Natural Sprats provide the Omega 3 and essential fatty acids that dogs cannot produce naturally. These low calorie, hypoallergenic treats work to support healthy vision, and joint mobility and promote a silky, shiny coat to keep your pooch looking and feeling their best.
Best chicken dog treats: JR’s Pure Chicken Training Treats
Grain and gluten-free, these natural dog treats promise to be made with only the best cuts of 100% human-grade chicken.
JR’s Pure Chicken Training Treats are made without preservatives or additives and claim to be simply irresistible to dogs. Gently air-dried with no chemical intervention, these tiny treats are perfect for reward-based training.
Best treats for joint health: Green and Wilds Venison Joint Care Treats
For healthy joints
Specially formulated to help dogs with joint problems, Green and Wilds Venison Joint Care Treats possess natural anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties to help keep your pooch in the best health possible.
These 100% pure venison treats are hypoallergenic, gluten-free, and made without added colours or preservatives. The added glucosamine supplement in these treats supports the naturally occurring glucosamine found in your dog's body and helps to aid joint repair and ease stiffness.
Best raw dog treats: Paleo Ridge Fish Skin Cubes
These naturally air dried, crunchy fish treats are packed with protein and are suitable for dogs aged 12 weeks and older.
Most Paleo Ridge packaging is compostable, biodegradable or recyclable, which speaks to Caroline’s love of sustainable practices. Paleo Ridge is also known for its raw feeding philosophy and all-natural, 100% meat ingredients.
Our dog treats expert
A qualified vet nurse and animal behaviourist, Caroline Clark has over 30 years of experience in the industry and favours a holistic approach to animal management. Caroline specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of behavioural issues and pet first aid training and offers a variety of short courses on pet welfare. Caroline firmly believes in using positive reinforcement methods, making her a great authoritative voice on what makes the best dog treats.
What should you look for when buying dog treats?
For our expert, ingredient lists are a strong indication of the quality of dog treats. Caroline tells us, “a treat should be as natural as possible, so that means minimally processed and free from artificial colours and preservatives”. She also stressed the importance of being able to break treats down, telling us, "because obesity is a concern and leads to health issues, treats should be easy to break into small pieces as this helps to reduce the calorific content.”
What should you avoid when looking for dog treats?
When buying dog treats, Caroline tells us first and foremost to "avoid buying treats that have artificial colours and flavours" and that “if the list of ingredients doesn’t make any sense– it’s usually a good idea to steer clear”. It's also worth keeping sustainability in mind. As Caroline points out, "avoid buying treats that have too much unnecessary packaging and are made from materials that can’t be recycled."
What are the best dog treats?
Caroline gives her vote to products with “quality ingredients” and that have “a label that is easy to understand”.
Want to read more expert-recommended pet product round-ups? Check out our Pets page for a full list of recommendations, including our list of the best dog beds and best dog crates as recommended by dog experts.
Isobel Nutbrown is a Staff Writer at The Recommended and works with leading industry experts to help readers make informed decisions and shop smarter online.