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The best dog training treats are an excellent tool to reinforce positive behaviors and help your furry friend master new commands. They make learning fun and rewarding, but not all dog treats are created equal. Training treats differ from regular treats because they’re typically small and low in calories so your pup can enjoy lots of them without gaining weight.
Choosing the right treat can have a significant impact on your training sessions. This article will introduce you to some of the best training treats for dogs to help you find one your canine companion will love.
Buyer’s Guide: Dog Training Treats
Not every dog favors the same training treats. So, it’s up to you to choose ones that your dog will enjoy that will also be good for them. Here are some qualities to look out for.
Since training treats will be given frequently during training sessions, you’ll want to look for ones that are low in calories, preferably only a few calories per treat. Keep in mind that treats shouldn’t take up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
Small treats are ideal for training because they typically have fewer calories and can be eaten quickly. Plus, they’re easier to hide in a pocket or treat pouch. However, when choosing treats, keep your dog’s size in mind. Larger dogs may need bigger treats to be satisfied.
Your dog treats should be healthy and tasty. Look for treats with beneficial ingredients, such as real meat, fruits, and vegetables. If your dog has any allergies, such as grains, look for treats that avoid those items.
Most dogs will prefer soft, chewy treats for training. These treats are often more flavorful, but more importantly, they’re quick and easy to eat, no matter your dog’s size or age.
Finally, flavor is important when choosing dog treats because the treats need to appeal to your pup. So, if you know your dog’s favorite taste (chicken and bacon are common), make sure you select a treat with that flavor.
Best Dog Training Treats
Even though this product is designed for enhancing the flavor and nutrients of meals, it can also work great for training. The small morsels of the Pawstruck Meal Topper & Mixer are the perfect size for training treats, especially since they have low calories too. These flavorful pieces are air-dried to lock in taste and nutrition. They’re made with either 97% real chicken or 96% real beef, depending on which formula you choose. Plus, they’re vet-recommended because they can benefit your dog’s joints, skin, and coat. Getting your dog to listen during training will be much easier with these flavorful snacks.
Zuke’s Puppy Naturals Treats are created with puppies in mind, so they’re the perfect size for training. They’re small, soft, and chewy with only 3.5 calories per treat. They feature high-quality proteins, like lamb or pork, as the primary ingredient and are supplemented with vitamins and minerals vital for your dog’s development. Plus, these treats are grain-free and devoid of harsh additives or preservatives, making them ideal for pups with sensitive stomachs. They’re also rich in DHA and EPA from salmon oil to promote a healthy brain. Even though they’re most beneficial for training puppies, adult dogs can enjoy them too.
BIXBI Pocket Trainers are excellent low-calorie treats designed for training or frequent rewarding. Each morsel is only 4 calories, allowing you to provide plenty of reinforcement without the worry of weight gain. These grain-free and gluten-free treats are crafted with high-quality, all-natural ingredients and exclude common allergens. They also have a soft texture that’s easy for dogs of all ages and breeds to chew. You can choose from bacon, chicken, peanut butter, or salmon flavors to ensure that your dog will love the taste. These treats are great for on-the-go training sessions because they fit perfectly in your pocket without causing a mess.
Nutro Mini Bites Dog Treats are ideal for dogs needing a treat that’s not only delicious but also nutritious. With less than 3 calories per treat, work well for repetitive training without contributing to excessive caloric intake. These bite-sized rewards are perfect for training both in and out of the house, providing a motivational boost to your dog during training sessions. Made with real, high-quality ingredients such as chicken or beef as the primary ingredient, these treats deliver a taste that dogs love. They’re grain-free and contain no wheat, corn, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, making them a healthy choice for dogs with sensitivities.
Pet Botanics Training Rewards come in three different sizes to cater to dogs of different breeds and ages. These soft, chewy treats are made with flavorful meats, such as chicken, salmon, bacon, or beef. Thus, they can hold the attention of most dogs during training. The treats are also supplemented with BotaniFits, a select blend of botanical ingredients, such as blueberries and chamomile, that provide added nutritional benefits. Each treat has between 1.5 and 6 calories, depending on which size you choose.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Bits are excellent training treats for pet parents who prefer grain-free, high-protein rewards for their canine companions. These treats put real meat first, with options such as duck, salmon, or chicken, which provides an appetizing flavor that dogs adore. The Wild Bits are soft-moist treats, making them easy to chew and swallow, ideal for dogs of all ages and breeds. In addition to the high-quality protein, these treats contain DHA to support a dog’s cognitive development and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to promote a shiny coat and healthy skin. Each piece only has about 4.5 calories to prevent weight gain.
Fruitables Skinny Minis Dog Treats are delicious low-calorie treats that come in a variety of flavors, all of which are packed with beneficial superfoods, such as pumpkin and blueberries. Thus, their flavors are unique from the typical meat-based treats. Each treat has less than 3 calories, so you won’t have to worry about your dog gaining weight after long training sessions. They’re rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so they’re great for digestion and immune health. Plus, they’re always made with all-natural ingredients and are free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Merrick Power Bites Chewy Dog Treats are a power-packed option that offers high-quality nutrition in a tasty, bite-sized form. These grain-free and gluten-free treats are made with real, deboned meat as the first ingredient, ensuring a protein-rich snack that supports muscle development. They come in a variety of flavors, including beef, chicken, and rabbit. These treats also contain flaxseed oil and salmon oil, which provide a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids for healthier skin and a shinier coat. Their soft, chewy texture and small size make them perfect for rewarding during training. They have about 5 calories per treat, which is a little higher than most of their competitors.
Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Chewy Dog Treats are a favorite among dog parents and trainers for their quality, flavor, and effectiveness in training. Free from wheat and corn, these bite-sized treats are designed to be soft and chewy, which makes them appealing to most dogs and easy to consume. They come in a variety of savory flavors, including cheddar, liver, and salmon, to keep your pup interested and engaged during training sessions. The small size of these treats allows for repeated rewards during training without the worry of overfeeding. Plus, each treat only has 3 calories.
Wellness Soft Puppy Bites are specifically designed to cater to the needs of growing puppies during training sessions. Made with high-quality proteins such as lamb and salmon, these treats offer a delicious taste that puppies love. Their soft texture makes them easy for dogs to chew and digest, while the small size ensures they don’t fill dogs up too quickly during training. Plus, they include fruits and vegetables to provide a nutritional boost. While these treats can work for adult dogs, they have 6 calories per treat, which is higher than the competitors to support growing puppies.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Mini Training Treats are a trusted option for pet owners seeking high-quality, simple ingredients. These treats follow a limited ingredient formula, focusing on a single animal protein source like chicken or salmon, which is beneficial for dogs with sensitivities or allergies. The treats are grain-free and include no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. With less than 4 calories per treat, they’re a great choice for repeated rewards during training sessions without the fear of overfeeding. Their small size makes them easy for dogs to ingest, even for puppies and small breeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Training Treats Can Dogs Have Per Day?
The number of training treats a dog can have per day largely depends on the dog’s size, age, and overall health status. However, a general rule of thumb is that treats, including training treats, should not make up more than 10% of a dog’s daily calorie intake. Always balance treat rewards with the dog’s regular diet to avoid overfeeding.
What’s the Difference Between Regular Dog Treats and Training Treats?
Training treats are usually smaller and lower in calories than regular treats, allowing you to give them more frequently during training sessions without overfeeding your dog.
How Do You Train a Dog Without Treats?
Training a dog without treats involves using other forms of positive reinforcement, such as praise, petting, and playtime with favorite toys. However, most dogs have some type of treat they love, as long as you’re willing to be patient as you try different flavors and build trust with your dog.
Are Cheerios Good Training Treats for Dogs?
Cheerios can be used as training treats for dogs in moderation due to their low calorie content and small size. However, they don’t provide the same level of nutrition as dog-specific treats, and flavored varieties may contain ingredients that aren’t suitable or beneficial for dogs.
How Do You Make Dog Training Treats?
Making homemade dog training treats involves combining dog-friendly ingredients, like lean meats, vegetables, and certain grains, into small, bite-sized pieces. After forming the mixture into small shapes or balls, bake them in the oven at a low temperature until they’re thoroughly cooked, and then allow them to cool. Always consult your vet to ensure your homemade treat recipe is nutritionally balanced and safe for your dog.
Can Training Treats Make My Dog Overweight?
Yes, like any other food, giving too many training treats can contribute to weight gain in dogs. However, since training treats are low in calories, your dog can eat more of them than traditional dog treats. It’s important to remember that treats, including training treats, should not make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
Can I Give a Puppy Adult Dog Treats?
While it’s not typically harmful for a puppy to eat adult dog treats, it’s usually better to stick with treats specifically designed for puppies. Puppy-specific treats are generally smaller, softer, and have nutrients specifically geared towards a growing puppy’s needs. As always, if you’re unsure, it’s best to consult with your vet.
Related: 9 Best Homemade Dog Food Recipes
When choosing the best dog training treats, remember to consider your pet’s dietary needs, size, and preferences. What works for one dog might not work for another. It’s also important to use treats as part of a balanced diet. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
Regardless of your choice, remember that training should be a fun and bonding experience for both of you. The best treat for dog training is the one that keeps your dog excited and engaged and, when paired with positive reinforcement, can make training sessions something both of you look forward to.