Top Healthy Treats for your Pup

When it comes to snack time, you want to make sure you’re giving your dog something healthy. While you might take the time to consider what kinds of food you’re putting into your human body, you may not think about whether your doggie treats are the canine equivalent of Cheetos.

Our four-legged friends need a fair amount of nutrients to keep them healthy, and what we feed our pups can impact the quality and longevity of their lives. However, this can get tricky because dog treats don’t have nutrition labels like human foods.

As professional dog trainers, we dish out a LOT of treats to our students to teach behaviors through positive reinforcement. Although we want our pups to think the treats are delicious, we also want to give them something nutritious. So we’ve done the hard work to find treats that offer the best of both worlds.

Why Shouldn’t I Grab Just Any Treats Off the Shelf?

We get it. It’s tempting just to grab a pack of treats based on price, flavor, or the picture of the puppy on the front. Or maybe the bag says they’re healthy treats, so you take that at face value.

But let’s look at some of the ingredients of a typical dog treat:

  • Wheat flour
  • Glycerin
  • Wheat gluten
  • Gelatin
  • Oat fiber
  • Lectin
  • “Natural flavors”
  • Fruit juice color
  • Dried blueberries
  • Supplements

Other than the dried blueberries, this list is a bit appalling. While dog food won’t have a nutrition label, you can always read the ingredients list. If the product claims to be “healthy,” but this is what the list of ingredients looks like, chances are it isn’t actually healthy.

The more ingredients on the list, the more processed the food is. Just like you shouldn’t put a bunch of processed junk into your body, you should be cautious about what you give your dog.

The Best Healthy Dog Treats

When picking out treats for your precious pup, you want to look for products that have only one or a few ingredients. You should know what those ingredients are to understand the nutritional value they provide to your pup.

Here are our top picks for healthy dog treats.


For chews, we recommend single-source proteins such as:

  • Cod skins
  • Duck feet
  • Venison dental chews
  • Lamb ears
  • Duck necks
  • Bully sticks
  • Beef trachea
  • Sweet potato chips
  • Raw bones (Tucker’s is a great brand)
  • Turkey necks (frozen)
  • Chicken necks (frozen)
  • Chicken backs (frozen)

Training Treats

As far as treats go, you want to look for products with a short list of ingredients and a high protein content.

At Ruffgers, we’re huge fans of Stella & Chewy’s treats. They’re a no-nonsense brand with a dog’s best interest at heart. Their products are nutrient-rich, and most use single-source animal protein from raw ethically raised animals.

To compare their treats to the list we shared above, let’s check out the ingredients list of Stella & Chewy’s Beef Carnivore Crunch Treats:

  • Beef
  • Beef liver
  • Beef kidney
  • Beef heart
  • Beef bone
  • Pumpkin seed
  • Fenugreek seed
  • Tocopherols (preservative)

See the difference?

Your pup deserves the best of the best, and that begins with their diet. While an unhealthy treat is no big deal every once in a while, you need to use a healthier option if you’re constantly using treats for training.

Our team at Ruffgers Dog University is always happy to help you and answer any questions you may have. If your dog has special dietary needs, we recommend talking to your vet about the best snack options for your pup. And if you’re interested in the chews or treats we discussed in this article, you can swing by one of our three locations and stock up!