Pets would surely be thrilled at the variety of delights available if they could shop for themselves. However, nutrition will always be a critical part of healthy pet development and a subject of concern to pet owners. Am I covering the basics? Is my pet well-fed? How do I feed a pet with a sensitive stomach? The questions go on and on as pet parents fuss over the health of their pets. On top of these, they have to worry about product quality issues that may surface.

Treats constitute a significant aspect of pet nutrition for many good reasons. Pet owners can use them to pamper pets and show affection. Treating has also proven to be an effective training tool; pet parents use them to reward good behaviors by their animal companions. For instance, dogs may get treats for going outside to relieve themselves because it helps to reinforce good habits.

Treats in a Pet’s Diet

Healthy pet treats? As with other categories of pet nutrition, the use of treats has its fair share of controversy. While some opinions don’t see the need for treats, others suggest natural, high-quality treats to lower the chances of weight gain. Unfortunately, pet obesity is a real issue in the United States. According to the 2021 Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) annual survey, 39% of dog owners and 45% of cat owners consider their pets overweight or having obesity. 

Treats shouldn’t account for more than 10% of the animal’s total daily calorie intake to prevent nutritional imbalance. In addition, pet parents should consider the nutritional value of every product, the pet’s gastric sensitivity, and activity level. These elements are crucial because even the most minor pleasures can accumulate enough calories to lead to an unbalanced diet.

Some experts even think cats don’t need any treats because most cat foods already contain all the necessary ingredients. However, if owners can’t help but spoil their cats every so often, they should give them small pieces of lean meat and cut back on the food in their main meals to keep their overall intake the same.

Pet treats are typically from meat or meat-based ingredients. Other ingredients such as cereal flour, fats, oils, potato starch, fruits, and vegetables are added to the mix. 

Ideally, natural treats are optimized to serve as dietary supplements and don’t contain artificial ingredients. Who doesn’t love a happy pet? Certainly not us. We went in search of the best healthy pet treats on Chewy today. 

  1. Greenies Teenie Dental Dog Treats
    • Advertised as being natural dog treats made with vitamins and minerals.
    • Texture designed to clean teeth and fight plaque.
    • Accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
    • Sold in four sizes, based on dog breed size: teenie, petite, regular, and large.

    Check Chewy Check Amazon

Best Veterinary-Approved: Greenies Dental Dog Treats

Best Veterinary-Approved

Greenies Teenie Dental Dog Treats
Greenies Teenie Dental Dog Treats

  • Advertised as being natural dog treats made with vitamins and minerals.
  • Texture designed to clean teeth and fight plaque.
  • Accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
  • Sold in four sizes, based on dog breed size: teenie, petite, regular, and large.

Check Chewy Check Amazon

The Greenie Teenie Dental dog treat is our top pick. This veterinary-recommended treat is approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) and made in the United States. It’s best for small toy dog breeds weighing 5 to 15 lbs, especially those prone to dental diseases, such as Poodles, Yorkies, and Pomerinarians. 

It contains easy-to-digest vitamins and minerals, and the Greenie Teenie treat also supports your dog’s oral hygiene. It promotes fresh breath, cleans the gum line, and helps remove tartar and plaque. So talk about having your oral health care at your fingertips. It’s, however, not a replacement for regular teeth brushing.  

However, the treat may harden before the bag finishes. Squeeze out the air to make it stay fresh for longer. Keep an eye on your dog to ensure the treat is chewed thoroughly. 

“I’m a sucker for toy breeds, but I’ve also had to worry about their dental health. Greenies came recommended by a veterinarian; the teenie size is perfect for my Chihuahua and Shih Tzu. They love it, and it does help with their teeth,” a user said.

Pros and Cons of Greenies Dental Dog Treats

Pros! Cons!
Perfect for at-home dental care. Quick to get stale.
The VOHC approved it.
Made in the USA.

Best Alternative to Rawhide: SmartBones SmartSticks Peanut Butter Chews

Best Alternative to Rawhide

SmartBones SmartSticks Peanut Butter Chews Dog Treats

Typically, rawhides are difficult to digest. Swallowing big chunks of chewed rawhide poses a risk of intestinal obstruction. Many dog parents prefer to avoid it as there are healthy alternatives. 

SmartBones thinks your canine pals shouldn’t miss out on chewing exercises from rawhides. So, they formulated SmartSticks with real chicken and peanut butter. 

The length of each stick is roughly 5 inches. They’re suitable for all dog breeds and fortified with vitamins and minerals supplements. 

With this, you don’t have to worry about the possible health concerns linked to rawhide consumption. However, you may have to restock often because it only lasts for a short time.

According to a couple, “This is an excellent alternative to rawhide. We stopped feeding rawhide to our dogs because it caused an intestinal clog in our Great Dane. However, we have it on our subscribe and save list, so it’s an automatic reorder.”

Pros and Cons of SmartBones SmartSticks Peanut Butter Chews

Pros! Cons!
Not hard to chew. Relatively expensive.
An alternative to rawhides. Doesn’t last long.
Works for all dog breeds. Not made in the United States.

Best for Training: Temptations Classic Tasty Chicken Soft & Crunchy

Best for Training

Temptations Classic Tasty Chicken Soft & Crunchy Cat Treats

As its name implies, this pocket-shaped treat keeps your cat purring for more. It’s nutritionally balanced and optimized for your adult cat’s satisfaction. Its crunchy texture also keeps tartar under control. In addition, taurine, an amino acid that supports your cat’s overall health, is added to the formulation.

Each piece has a soft interior with chicken flavor and contains less than two calories. You can serve your feline pal as a treat, topping for regular meals, or as a reward for training.

The lid isn’t catproof and may no longer fit the container after first use. 

“Temptation treat time is a happy time,”- an animal shelter volunteer said of the Temptation Classic Tasty Chicken treat. “This product is popular among the cats at the shelter. They lose their minds when they hear anyone opening the container.”

Pros and Cons of Temptations Classic Tasty Chicken Soft & Crunchy

Pros! Cons!
Low caloric count. Packaging could be better.
Comes in different flavors. Not suited for cats on a grain-free diet.
Delivers value for money.
Perfect for a treat dispenser.

Best for Aggressive Chewers: Bones & Chews Roasted Marrow Bone 6″ Dog Treat

Best for Aggressive Chewers

Bones & Chews Made in USA Roasted Marrow Bone 6" Dog Treat

Slow-roasted marrow bone and a dog are a match made in heaven. Watch your pup’s endorphin level go through the roof with the 100% natural USA beef bones. 

Chewing itself is a pleasurable activity for dogs. So imagine the joy of serving them this treat, whose excellent and authentic meat flavor is preserved through slow roasting. 

The bone doesn’t contain coloring, preservatives, or other artificial flavors. So your active medium, large or adult dog chewer is in for a busy time. 

A treat for your big furry baby may be a mess for you. The natural oil on this bone could leave stains on your furniture, carpet, or other surfaces. It’s better served outdoors.

“This bone is a hit with my Golden. It works as a pacifier each time I need to keep him busy, and it has never splintered,” a satisfied dog mum enthused. 

Pros and Cons of Bones & Chews Roasted Marrow Bone 6″ Dog Treats

Pros! Cons!
Long-lasting. Oil may stain your surfaces or furniture.
Keeps dogs busy. Not ideal for small dogs.
100% natural.
Sourced and made in the USA.

Best Soft Cat Treat: Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks

Best Soft Cat Treat

Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks Chicken Cat Treats

These tender sticks are chicken-flavored and enticing to cats, especially those who dislike crunchy treats. You can serve them whole or cut them into small pieces for longer-lasting chewing pleasure. 

It’s a premium recipe with no added corn, wheat, or soy. So if your cat has a sensitive stomach, you can be confident that it’s safe.

Each treat, wrapped individually and in a box of 5, is guaranteed to be as fresh as possible. However, it has to be consumed within 4 hours of opening.

A cat dad of two decided to try this product for his picky kitties. He says, “My cats and I seem to have a perfect treat. I serve them once a day as a snack, broken into bits, and they gobble it down quickly.”

Pros and Cons of Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks

Pros! Cons!
Gentle on delicate stomachs. Consumption is required within 4 hours of opening.
Formulated with real meat. High-calorie count if the full stick is served.
Quantity can be suited to a cat’s needs.
Packaging guarantees maximum freshness.
Worth trying for picky eaters.

Best Dry Cat Treat: Greenies Feline Dental Treats Oven-Roasted Chicken Flavor

Best Dry Cat Treat

Greenies Feline Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor Adult Dental Cat Treats

The dental cat treat from Greenies maintains the manufacturer’s standards with less than two calories per treat and no artificial flavors or fillers. It contains natural ingredients, extra vitamins, and minerals to freshen your cat’s breath, minimize the accumulation of tartar, and clean the teeth. 

However, the lid’s attachment to the tub is fragile and tenuous. Therefore, you must firmly fasten the lid’s edges to the tub’s body with strong tape.

The Greenies Feline Dental Treats Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor comes highly recommended to cat parents. One user said, “This is the treat for you if you’re looking to encourage good behavior and keep your cat’s mouth clean. When you buy this treat, you can feed two birds with one scone.”

A long-time user of Greenies attested that they are effective at removing tartar buildup. “I’ve been using it religiously. Last month, I took my 5-year-old cat to the vet two for a general  checkup, and the vet commended her oral hygiene.”

Pros and Cons of Greenies Feline Dental Treats Oven-Roasted Chicken Flavor

Pros! Cons!
Low in calories. Not grain free.
Formulated with only natural ingredients. Contains relatively less meat than other brands.
VOHC approved. Includes wheat.

Choosing The Best: What To Look For

Life Stage

Some treats are made expressly for small, medium, or old breeds. Before making a purchase decision, ensure that the product has elements (ingredients and shape) that support your pet’s life stage. 

Calorie Count

 Pay attention to the calories in each treat before buying. Is your pet prone to obesity, or is it grossly underweight? Your choice should be dependent on an assessment of your pet’s weight. If a treat has a lot of calories, you must reduce the number of regular meals fed to the pet.

Ingredients

This factor is critical if your pet has unique nutritional needs. Get an all-clear on the safety of the ingredients from your veterinarian before you proceed with the purchase.

Best Healthy Pet Treats on Chewy: Pros and Cons Compared

Up Next…