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Positive reinforcement is the staple of all dog training. But have you ever wondered what exactly is in the treat you’re feeding your furry friend? Is it good for them? Is it healthy?
We’ve asked ourselves that same question and decided to collate a list of the best dog treats available on the market. Different treats serve different purposes, of course, but the best ones are gentle on your doggie’s tummy, they don’t fatten it too much and promote your canine’s dental health.
Please see below for our top dog treats for 2019 list and see if any of them could work for your favorite furry friend:
Purina is one of the biggest pet food manufacturers on the market and has been around for many years. The Begging Strips garner a lot of praise and are highly reviewed by most users. There is no artificial flavoring or FD&C anywhere in these strips.
Real meat is the primary ingredient and the minimum protein count is 15%, which is still a bit low compared to our number one pick – the Rocco & Roxie Gourmet Jerky. The Purina product lists real meat and bacon as the number one ingredient but it still a treat made of grains for the most part.
The texture of the Purina strips is soft and easy for your pup to chew. However, there are no real dental benefits or care associated with the treats, especially compared to our runner up for the best dog treats of 2019 – the Greenies Dog Dental Chews.
Overall the Purina Begging Strips is a somewhat healthy snack that is ideal for training and obedience exercises. Dogs are crazy for the flavor, but the snack itself is not particularly healthy for them so avoid giving your furry friend too much of it.
Easy for chewing
Dogs love the flavor
Suitable for training
High sugar content
Low protein content
Rocco & Roxies gourmet jerky dog treats are amongst the best dog treats in the world. At Rocco & Roxies they truly care about your pup’s health and well being and it shows through the quality of their treats.
The gourmet jerky dog treats are made of natural ingredients and all-American beef. There are no artificial flavor enhancers, nor any other artificial ingredients. There are no traces of wheat, soy, corn or gluten – truly no grain treats and amongst some of the best out there.
There is, however, a small issue with one of the ingredients of the Rocco & Roxie – garlic. There is a lot of controversy about garlic and dogs and we need to address the issue. Garlic IS toxic to dogs but only in large doses – 15 to 30 grams per body weight. That’s a lot of garlic for a single dog to ingest and cause any damage. The amount of garlic powder in the gourmet jerky dogs is less than 1% so there is nothing to worry about in terms of toxicity.
Overall, we do feel that Rocco & Roxie’s gourmet jerky treat is amongst the best dog treats money can buy. The company cares for its customers and it is shown in their attention to detail and the quality of their food. They do come highly recommended!
Healthy and natural ingredients
Made in the USA
Three great flavors
Perfect for training use
Garlic powder is used in some batches
Greenies dog dental chews are one of the most recommended treats for dental health and prevention of plaque buildup for dogs. They owe their popularity to their healthy ingredients, good taste, and reasonable price.
There are quite a few variations of the Greenies dental chews – they seem to make the same product for every canine size possible. Make sure to get a size that is suited to your pup.
The Greenies protein content is excellent, especially compared to the majority of dog treats available on the market. Every stick features at least 30% crude protein. There is no sugar listed on the ingredients list so they won’t hurt your pooch’s teeth in the long run.
Dogs seem to love the taste of the Greenies too. They are excellent for obedience training, but make sure your pup enjoys them enough before attempting any training sessions.
Overall, Greenies dental chews are an ideal solution for your dog’s dental health and maintenance.
Recommended by the Veterinary Oral Health Council
Excellent for training
Easy to digest
Higher price than other products reviewed
Pedigree is one of the biggest names in the pet industry, but that means they are always the best choice for your pup? Let’s find out, shall we?
The Dentastix are most suitable for larger dogs, usually, 30lbs plus are the ideal size for these treats.
The Pedigree Dentastix has a unique texture to help it clean your pup’s teeth and reduce plaque buildup. There is virtually zero sugar content so they won’t cause erosion to their teeth like the Milk-Bone biscuits we reviewed potentially could.
They have another unique feature – they freshen your furry friend’s breath as they enjoy the treat. Many people reported vastly improved pet breath after treating with a Dentastix. We all know how awful a dog’s breath can be so this is a very welcome feature.
Overall, Pedigree Dentastix is a quality product that won’t disappoint. Each stick has a relatively low-calorie count, there is no sugar and there isn’t any harmful chemicals in it.
Pups love them
High salt content
Milk-Bone MaroSnacks has been on the market for a long time and they are one of the most loved dog treats in the USA today. There are more than a few reasons why canines drool over these tasty little biscuits.
The MaroSnacks are only 10 calories each so you can treat your dog more often depending on your doggie’s size. They are quite large and some users have found them better suited for medium to large dogs rather than small pinchers or chihuahuas. Little doggies might struggle to enjoy them as much as large canines. You can always break them up into smaller pieces if that’s a concern.
You can safely ignore the cancer scare as doctors and researches ver publicly proved that the BHA preservative used in MilkBones and many other pet foods don’t cause cancer and it is mostly harmless in the long run. Now, we’re not doctors but we prefer to trust actual medical professionals rather than TV presenters and “influencers”.
There is a slight negative here, however. The MaroSnacks contain a significant amount of sugar. Most dogs love the MilkBone products so owners tend to ignore the warnings and feed them quite a lot of them, but please be careful and monitor your pooch’s weight.
Overall the Milk-Bone MaroSnacks are a delicious treat for training, just be careful with how much you feed your pet.
Dogs LOVE them
Contains real bone marrow
Calcium for stronger bones
High in sugar
Let’s take a look and see what factors come into play in the selection of our best dog treats and see if we can answer some of the most frequently asked questions about dog treats in general.
The first question you have to ask yourself is what is the purpose of your dog treat? Are you trying to reward good behavior? Are you just treating your furry friend because you love it? Are you training it? There are different types of treats for different situations and you have to be careful not to overdo the “rewards”. Treats should be no more than 10% of your doggie’s food intake so don’t try to feed your pooch a diet of treats.
There are, however, more than a few benefits from regularly treating your dog. The first one is positive reinforcement – a psychological technique used to reward good behavior. It is the staple of training techniques and obedience. Once you find your doggie’s favorite treats, training it to be a good boy (or girl) will be a piece of cake. Just don’t feed him cakes!
The size of the treat is crucial. Little dogs can choke on big treats and vice versa. Always read the labels and choose accordingly. If you’re not reading the labels you are seriously risking the health of your canine friend – highly processed foods should be avoided whenever possible.
If you always read the labels of the foods you’re purchasing in the store, it is a good idea to do the same with the food you’re buying for your best friend.
If you’re feeding it organic and non-processed food but treating your pooch with sugary and processed treats you are defeating the whole purpose. Always go for natural ingredients where animal protein and meat are the first and main ingredient. While grains and soy don’t necessarily disagree with canines, meat and protein should be the main component of their diet, not grains and sugar/carbs.
The answer is a resounding yes. You should definitely treat your dog whenever possible, better yet use treats to reward good behavior. Have you seen professional dog trainers doing their magic? They are always rewarding good behavior – this is the quickest way to teach your pooch that being a good boy has its delicious benefits.
As I mentioned above, your dog diet shouldn’t consist of more than 10% treats. Snacks should be used in moderation and only reward good behavior. If you treat your dog when doing something bad or something you don’t want it to do you’re just rewarding bad behavior. That means you’re teaching your furry friend to expect a treat when doing something you don’t want it to do.
Ones that have no sugar or carbs in them. Sugar, when used in excess, just like in humans, can lead to a plethora of health problems like obesity, diabetes, dental issues and many more hard to treat and potentially lethal conditions.
Always go for treats made of meat that have no sugar in them. Beef or chicken jerky are ideal solutions, but make sure they are not high-processed meats with more than a few dangerous ingredients.
While dog treats are great for obedience training and enforcing good behavior, what are the potential problems that can lead to negative effects for your pooch?
Whenever you change your doggie’s favorite treats or are just starting to use them, watch your doggie’s behavior and health condition. Your vet can probably recommend the best treats for your particular pooch, but if you go for a store brand watch for allergy symptoms – sneezing, runny nose, coughing, watery eyes, skin issues and more…
I might be repeating myself, but don’t overdo it. Treats should be used in moderation and only when training and rewarding your furry friend.
Whenever possible, always go for organic ingredients, especially if your diet is organic too. Quality food will reduce the chances of the development of dangerous health conditions and other problems. High-processed and sugary treats should never be part of the diet of your canine friend.
This part overlaps the organic part, but make sure there are no toxic or harmful ingredients in your choice of treats.
Always be mindful of the package expiration date. Always follow storage instructions to ensure the food is always in good condition.
Try to always go for treats that promote good dental health and hygiene, especially if your pooch hates his teeth being brushed. Dental sticks, for example, are an excellent way to reduce plaque buildup and ensure optimal dental health for your pooch.
I really hope that we cleared any confusion about what’s best for your dog, what to avoid and what to look for when rewarding your dog. But we still haven’t answered the most important question – what is the best dog treat?
I believe that the Rocco & Roxie Gourmet Jerky Dog Treats offer the best combination of fresh ingredients, quality meat and responsible sourcing of products. They are proudly made in the USA and made with USDA approved American beef.
The runner up, Greenies Dog Dental Chews, came just short of winning the competition. They are excellent for dental health and plaque build-up but they don’t offer much in terms of ingredients. On the other hand, most canines really love the taste and can’t get enough of them, making the Greenies ideal solution for training and obedience.