Got a furry friend at home? If you are like me, you want to give them the best life possible, and part of that means spoiling them rotten with dog treats! With next to a million dog treats out there, it can get a little overwhelming. Trust me, I know. I’ve spent hours in pet stores trying to find the perfect dog treats for Atlas, and after a few trials and errors, we have landed on the top five. For those of you who don’t know Atlas, he is a white German Shepherd. He is currently 6.5 months old, and he weighs around 75 pounds.
Few questions to ask yourself before purchasing treats
Personally, quality takes the top shelf over quantity. I use treats for training, and within each session, Atlas gets somewhere around 50-100 treats. So I want to make sure that the treats are balanced and don’t have a ton of fillers. Taking a good hard look at where the treats are coming from also helps give you an idea as to the quality of the treat. I stay away from big chains and shop locally because local dealers go that extra mile to ensure your pets are safe. I would always read up on the dealer and make sure that they are sourcing their products ethically and are certified.
Generally speaking, your pet should only be getting 10% of their calorie intake in treats, and the rest should come from their food. Treats are a great way to motivate your dog, but they don’t have a blanched nutritional system. Growing puppies need more help with nutrition than older dogs, so it’s essential to not deplete them of that nutrition by only feeding them treats.
Pro tip: Train them during feeding times and use their food as training treats. Then use the treats listed in this article as high-value treats when out and about.
I try to keep the ingredient list as short as possible. The shorter the list, the less processed the treat is. I try to turn away from a laundry list style ingredients as so many of those contain tons of fillers that give Atlas an upset stomach. I’d look for ingredients like chicken breast, beef liver, and sweet potatoes.
Always make sure you buy the right treat size for your dog. Especially the bones/long chews. So be sure to read up on the suggested treat size and use your best judgment. I go up a size or suggested use, especially for growing puppies. I find that I can’t go wrong with getting more giant bones than recommended, but it is a problem to go smaller. When it comes to other treats, read the box and make sure how many of those treats are suggested for the dog’s size. For example, my pup loves Farmland Traditions Dogs Love Chicken Premium Jerky Treats For Dogs, and if you look at the back, he could only eat three pieces a day, weighing 26-50 pounds.
I never heard of dogs having allergies until I met Atlas. This guy is allergic to the world, so things like grass, dirt, and pollen are a no-go. Constantly monitor your pet when giving them treats, and test out one at a time. Atlas is also a little allergic to beef, so I to limit that in his treats and meals.
Environmental allergy symptoms:
Food born allergy symptoms
Common food allergens:
Here is a great article from AKC to help you understand more about allergies and how you can recognize them before it’s too late: Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatment.
This might seem silly to ask yourself, but I have been in a position where I’m on a road trip, and on day seven, I run out of treats. Some treats are only found in specific stores, so I always try to keep extra on hand just to be safe.
These are his favorite to-die-for treats. I found that these are the best dog treats for training, as they are easy to break apart, and because of the impressive ingredient list, I’m not concerned if he has a ton of these. The treats come in long sticks that you can break up yourself or little broken-up pieces already. I like the long sticks, and I break them up into little pieces during a training session. Be sure to refrigerate the package once it’s opened.
If you have a nervous dog, I found that these Yak chews are the best calming treats for dogs. They help keep the dog busy and distracted while you have a chance to work. Keep in mind that when giving a dog a yak chew you want to monitor that they don’t go at it aggressively. An aggressive chewer can chip teeth.
* Be sure to read about the sizing for these. Atlas weighs around 70 pounds, and I give him the medium yak chews.
If you use code ATLAS20 you get 20% off your purchase.
Price: varies depending on location
If you live near a local butcher first make sure they source their meat properly then check their inventory for pig ears.
Price: varies depending on location
Keep in mind that this is RAW meat bones. NEVER give your dog cooked bones! Cooked bones splinter and get caught in their furry little bellies. Something to also keep in mind is that your dog doesn’t need more than 15 minutes with this. So be sure to be around when you are giving this and take it away to store back in the freezer.
Price: $4.49/ bag
Calories: 47kcal /treat
I just recently bumped into these treats and honestly, I’m super impressed with them. They only have one ingredient in them (deboned chicken) and they are super easy to travel with.
In 2017, I quit my job and dropped out of school to set out on a path less traveled. Since then, I have ventured across the world, built a van and created a life that both scares me and fulfills me at the same time. And I’ve never looked back.