Tasty treats are a must-have when you’re raising a puppy—they’ll help greatly with training and rewarding positive behaviors. However, there are so many different treats for puppies available today that it can be hard to figure out which one is best for your dog.
“When picking out treats for your puppy you should look for treats that smell and taste great, are low in calories, and are small in size or able to be broken into smaller pieces,” recommends Dr. Zay Satchu, DVM, co-founder and chief veterinary officer of Bond Vet in NYC. She also recommends trying out a variety of treats to see what your puppy likes best. We researched and consulted with a veterinarian to find the best treats for puppies, evaluating their calories, ingredients, and size.
Here are the best treats for puppies on the market.
Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Grain Free Lamb & Salmon
These soft treats from Wellness are our top pick because of their reasonable price, quality ingredients, and puppy-approved flavor. The treats are specially formulated for dogs under 1 year old with a mixture of pure meat protein and added fruits and veggies for a boost of nutrients. They have a lamb and salmon flavor, making them a natural source of DHA and Omega-3s, which aids brain development and skin and coat health.
You also don't have to worry about your pup's sensitive stomach because these treats are free from meat by-products, corn, wheat, and dairy. They're soft enough for puppies to chew, and they’re the perfect size for training—you can even break them into smaller pieces if you want a bite-sized reward for your pup. The treats contain 6 calories each, and they come in both 3- and 8-ounce packages.
These treats are so tasty that your pup may beg you for more, and you can feel good about rewarding them!
Flavor: Lamb and salmon | Calories: 6 per treat | Breed Size: Small, medium, and large
Best for Training
Purina Puppy Chow Healthy Start Salmon Flavor Training Dog Treats
When you’re training your puppy, you’re going to go through a lot of treats as you reward positive behaviors, and the Puppy Chow Healthy Start Training Treats are an unbeatable choice for this task. Not only do they have a tasty salmon flavor that will keep your dog interested, but they only contain 3 calories per treat, allowing you to feed your dog several without worrying about overfeeding.
Real salmon is the first ingredient in these soft treats, which contain DHA for healthy skin and fur. The treats are bite-sized, but they can be broken in half for smaller puppies or to stretch them out longer. Soft treats are also good for training, because they don't slow your dog down with as much chewing. You can choose from 7- or 24-ounce bags, depending on how much training you’ll be doing.
Flavor: Salmon | Calories: 3 per treat | Breed Size: Small, medium, and large
Best for Teething
N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring
It’s painful as puppies lose their baby teeth, and many dogs enjoy chewing on things while they’re teething. To keep your pup from gnawing on inappropriate items, you may want to offer them one of these N-Bone Teething Rings, which are designed to help relieve pain and soreness while providing your dog with beneficial nutrients. There are six rings per package, and the treats are fully edible and digestible.
These teething treats can be given to puppies over 12 weeks old who weigh more than 5 pounds, and they come in a variety of flavors, including chicken, salmon, peanut butter, and more. Their round shape and pliable texture helps to alleviate discomfort caused by teething and satisfy chewing urges, and the treats contain calcium for strong bones and teeth and DHA for healthy skin, coat, and brain development.
Flavor: Chicken | Calories: 100 per ring | Breed Size: Small and medium
Riley's Organic Dog Treats
For a delicious organic snack for your pooch, consider Riley’s Organic Dog Treats, which have just six ingredients, all of which are USDA Certified organic. These treats have a crunchy texture that helps to promote dental health, and they come in both large and small treat sizes—the latter of which is better for growing puppies.
Riley’s Organic Treats are baked in the USA, and the sweet potato flavor contains organic sweet potato, oat flour, oats, peanut flour, coconut oil, and cinnamon—nothing else! There are no added sugars or salts, preservatives, or artificial flavors, and each treat contains just 6 calories, so you don’t have to worry about giving your pup a few each day.
Flavor: Sweet potato | Calories: 6 per treat | Breed Size: Small, medium, and large
Old Mother Hubbard Classic Mini Oven-Baked Dog Biscuits
These mini biscuits come in classic bone shapes, but completely unique flavors, like Chick'n'Apple and a savory mix with peanut butter, cheese, and bacon flavors. And while the standard biscuits are small enough for puppies, there's also a puppy-specific version of the biscuits, with a chicken and oatmeal flavor paired with vitamins for young dogs.
Old Mother Hubbard Classic Mini Oven-Baked Dog Biscuits use a recipe that's nearly a hundred years old and incorporates a short list of natural ingredients.
Flavor: Chick'n'Apples, puppy, savory, mix | Calories: 10 per treat | Breed Size: Extra small, small, and toy
Best Dental Treat
Get Naked Grain-Free Puppy Health Dental Chew Sticks
The Get Naked Puppy Dental Chew Sticks do double duty—they give your puppy a positive outlet for their chewing urges while also alleviating pain and soreness from teething. Win-win! The chews come in a pack of six, and their ridged shape also helps to reduce plaque and tartar buildup as your puppy chows down.
The dental treats are grain-free and don’t contain any corn, wheat, or soy, and they’re fortified with calcium and DHA to aid your puppy’s development. The chews have a chicken flavor that your pup is sure to love, but keep in mind that there are 27 calories per stick, so it should only be an occasional treat.
Flavor: Chicken | Calories: 27 per stick | Breed Size: Small and medium
Best for Small Breeds
Zuke's Mini Naturals Pumpkins Treats
If you have a small breed puppy, such as a chihuahua, Pomeranian, or dachshund, you’re probably hunting for smaller treats, and Dr. Satchu recommends Zuke’s Mini Naturals Dog Treats as a moist, chewy option. Zuke’s Minis are some of the smallest out there, and each soft treat has less than 3 calories, too. These mini treats come in a wide variety of flavors, including chicken, beed, duck, pork, and more, and they’re made from high-quality natural ingredients like real meat.
You can get these dog treats in 6- or 16-ounce pouches, and each package contains a large number of treats, making them ideal for training. The bite-size pieces are tender enough for small dogs to easily chew, and the product doesn’t contain any corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, or flavors.
Flavor: Turkey and pumpkin | Calories: 3 or less per treat | Breed Size: Extra small, small, medium, large, and toy
Best for Large Breeds
Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Soft-Moist Training Treats
Larger dogs often prefer more substantial treats, and the Blue Buffalo Bits Soft-Moist Dog Treats are a popular choice thanks to their quality ingredients and generous size. The soft treats are shaped like hearts, and they’re easy to break in half if you want smaller pieces to give your puppy. They come in several flavors, and the chicken recipe is made with real chicken as the first ingredient.
These traits contain brown rice, oatmeal, and flaxseed, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and DHA for healthy skin, fur, and cognitive development. There are no meat by-products, corn, wheat, soy, preservatives, or artificial colors or flavors in the treats, and they’re a hit with puppies thanks to their appealing scent.
Flavor: Chicken | Calories: 4 per treat | Breed Size: Small, medium, and large
Best High Value
Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats
If you’re following any type of training program with your puppy, you may come across the term “high-value treats,” which basically just means something particularly tasty that your dog will want even more than an average treat. These Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats are ideal for this purpose, as they’re made from real meat with a delicious smell. You can choose from chicken, liver, rabbit, salmon, and other appealing flavors.
These appealing treats have minimal ingredients—for instance, the liver flavor is made solely from freeze-dried beef liver, beef heart, and mixed tocopherols—and there’s less than 1 calorie per piece. There are more than 475 treats in each bag, and they’re formulated to prevent crumbling, ensuring you get your money’s worth.
Flavor: Liver | Calories: 1 per treat | Breed Size: All breed sizes
The Wellness Soft Puppy Bites (view at Amazon) are a top choice thanks to their tasty flavor, low calories, and affordable price per bag, and they come in several flavors, allowing you to find one that your puppy loves. For long training sessions, you might prefer the Puppy Chow Healthy Start Training Treats (view at Amazon), which have just 3 calories per piece, allowing you to give your pup several without spoiling their dinner.
What to Look for in Puppy Treats
It’s always a good idea to look at the ingredients of any food that you’re giving to your pup. In general, it’s best to avoid products with low-quality ingredients like meat by-products, grain meals like corn or wheat, and food dyes. Instead, prioritize treats with real meat high on the ingredient list and human-grade ingredients, when possible.
Large treats will take longer for puppies to eat, and if they’re overexcited, this can lead to choking. For this reason, it’s best to find small, bite-sized treats that your pup can chew and swallow easily. However, this will depend on the size of your dog, because a bite-sized treat will be different for a chihuahua puppy vs. a Great Dane puppy.
During training sessions, you’ll likely end up giving your pet lots of treats, so it’s important to look at how many calories are in each piece. For long training sessions, you’ll want low-calorie treats, and you may even need to cut back on their food that day to prevent them from eating an unhealthy number of calories.
“If your pet has been spayed/neutered, remember to keep in mind that they’re metabolism is lower than an intact pet, so keeping calories in check is important to maintain a healthy weight,” explains Dr. Zay Satchu, DVM, co-founder and chief veterinary officer of Bond Vet in NYC.
“I recommend that you have a small variety of treats to keep your pup intrigued,” says Dr. Satchu. “When starting out, try a few different kinds. When you find one that is your pups favorite, save that for a high reward treat.”
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a lifelong animal owner who currently has a 2-year-old Golden Retriever named Addy. She tried many of the products included on this list while raising Addy, and their all-time favorites are the Blue Buffalo BLUE Bits and Wag More, Bark Less Itty Bitty Treats.
While researching products to include, Rabideau also talked to Dr. Zay Satchu, DVM, co-founder and chief veterinary officer of Bond Vet in NYC, for information on what to look for in puppy treats.