Healthy Rewards: How To Find The Best Natural Training Treats For Dogs

Learn how to identify healthy, natural training treats for dogs, as well as which ingredients to avoid when food shopping for your pup. Plus, thanks to my in-house test-testing team, I’ll share recommendations!

pug mix dog catching natural training treat

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The All-Important Training Treat

When it comes to shaping your dog’s behavior through training, the right small treat can make a big difference. Natural training treats are not only a delicious incentive, but they also can play a crucial role in keeping your pup healthy without having a negative impact on the environment. 

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title of which type of natural training treat is your dog's favorite with image of mini dapple dachshund dog laying on ground next to several bags of natural dog training treats

With the help of Phoebe, Franklin, and Froda, we explored the various types of available natural training treats for dogs. And, in our research, we uncovered some pretty useful information.

We now know more about the key ingredients to look for, as well as which to avoid, calorie count considerations, and the eco-friendly benefits of choosing natural treats.

mini dapple dachshund dog standing next to a couple bags of natural dog training treats

And, in case you are wondering, yes, my dogs thoroughly enjoyed this blog post topic!

Types of Natural Training Treats for Dogs

Baked Treats

These types of treats are oven-baked to retain both their natural flavors and nutrients. And just like baked human treats, they can come in a wide range of flavors, shapes, and sizes. 

All this variety makes this style a solid training treat choice, as you can likely find one with a mix of ingredients that your pup will love. 

Plus, their crisp texture is a great fit for dogs that enjoy a satisfying crunch.

bag of natural dog training treats sitting on rock
mini dapple dachshund dog jumping for natural training treat

Freeze-Dried Treats

Through a process called sublimation, freeze-dried treats are created by rapidly freezing the ingredients and then removing the moisture. This creates a lightweight, shelf-stable, easy-to-carry treat for on-the-go training.

Importantly, this process also preserves the nutritional content and natural flavor of the ingredients used. 

And, typically these treats are made from a very short list of wholesome ingredients, making them ideal for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. 

container of natural dog training treats laying in flowers
mixed breed dog jumping for natural training treat

Dehydrated Treats

Similar to freeze-dried treats, dehydrated treats are nutrient-dense and come in a variety of flavors. And also like freeze-dried treats, they have a short list of ingredients (usually just one). 

Jerky treats fall under this category, as they are typically made by dehydrating meat, poultry, or fish at low temperatures to remove moisture while preserving the flavors and nutrients. 

And they have a chewy texture and concentrated flavor, making them a high-value treat in the eye of many a pup.  

One thing to note is that these treats can be relatively large, so for training purposes, they should be cut into smaller pieces (sorry fur friends!). 

bag of natural dog training treats laying in flowers
pug mix dog jumping for natural training treat

Chewy Treats

Treats with this tender, enticing texture are a perfect fit for training. They are not only palatable but also can be easily broken into smaller pieces (again, apologies pups), making them a great choice for puppies or dogs with dental concerns.

Chewy treats are often manufactured using extrusion, a process that incorporates heat, pressure, and mechanical force to create a soft texture. 

The extrusion process can impact the overall nutrition and taste of treats, so buying from a reputable company is important.

A health-conscious company will control the processing temperatures so the nutrition integrity is preserved while the savory flavors are enhanced.

bag of natural dog training treats sitting on rock
mini dapple dachshund dog jumping for natural training treat

Safe & Healthy Ingredients

Selecting natural training treats with safe and healthy ingredients is essential for your dog’s overall well-being.

High-quality protein sources should take precedence in the ingredient list. Additionally, opting for treats with limited and recognizable ingredients reduces the risk of potential allergens or additives that could negatively impact your dog’s health.

High-Quality Protein 

Prioritize treats with real meat or fish as the primary ingredient, such as chicken, turkey, salmon, or beef. 

These protein-rich ingredients not only enhance the taste of the treat but also provide essential amino acids for muscle support and overall vitality. 

three bags of natural dog training treats

Fruits & Vegetables

These nutrient-rich ingredients can offer an array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to your dog’s vitality. 

Look for treats containing wholesome fruits like blueberries, which are packed with antioxidants, or vegetables such as sweet potatoes, which provide essential dietary fiber and vitamins.

Grain-Free

For dogs with grain allergies or sensitivities, grain-free treats can be an excellent choice. 

These treats omit common grains like wheat, corn, and soy, which can trigger adverse reactions in some dogs. Rather, they are made from alternative carbohydrate sources like potatoes, peas, or legumes.

Natural Ingredients & Preservatives 

Choose treats with recognizable, natural ingredients, and avoid artificial additives, colors, and flavors.

With that said, some natural preservatives do have long, “unrecognizable” names, but this doesn’t make them a bad choice. In fact, they are the preferred alternative to synthetic preservatives and additives.

Examples of natural preservatives and additives include:

  • Vegetable glycerin: used to maintain moisture
  • Tocopherols: a form of natural vitamin E that serves as a gentle preservative
  • Guar gum: derived from plants and used as a natural thickening agent; in large amounts, this ingredient can cause digestive issues
  • Inulin: a prebiotic fiber from fruits and vegetables that supports healthy digestion
  • Lecithin: a natural emulsifier (to help with texture) derived from plants 
  • Glucosamine hydrochloride: found in shell-fish, this ingredient supports joint health
  • Chondroitin sulfate: a component of cartilage, bone, skin, ligaments, and tendons that also serves as a joint health supplement 
multiple kinds of natural training treats

Ingredients to Avoid

Artificial Preservatives

Steer clear of treats containing BHA, BHT, or other synthetic preservatives that have been associated with health concerns in both animals and humans.

Fillers

Avoid treats with excessive fillers like corn, wheat, and soy, which offer little nutritional value and can be hard on your dog’s digestive system.

Added Sugars

Opt for treats with no added sugars, as excessive sugar can lead to weight gain and dental problems.

Xtra Health Tip: Make sure you are familiar with foods that are dangerous for dogs in general. While responsible companies should not have these ingredients included, it is better to be informed so you can protect your pup. You can read all about the top 10 most dangerous foods in my post here.

Recommendations for Natural Training Treats

With my food-obsessed Phoebe, Franklin, and Froda, we are also on the hunt for healthy and delicious treats made by sustainable pet companies.

Check out some of our recommendations below. And if you and your pup have some go-to natural treats not on our list, please share in the comments so we can check them out!

Crunchy Treats

  • All-natural ingredients
  • 4 flavors
  • B-Corp Certified
  • Availability: Europe
  • All-natural ingredients
  • 5 flavors
  • B-Corp Certified
  • Availability: Europe

Chewy Treats

10% Discount
    • 10% off with code GREENPETPROJECT
    • Plastic-free packaging
    • 2 flavors / 2 sizes
    • Supports small business
    • Availability: United Kingdom
  • All-natural ingredients
  • 2 flavors
  • B-Corp Certified
  • Availability: Europe
10% Discount
  • 10% off with code GREENPETPROJECT
  • Plastic-free packaging
  • 2 flavors / 2 sizes
  • Supports small business
  • Availability: United Kingdom
  • All-natural ingredients
  • 6 flavors
  • B-Corp Certified
  • Availability: Europe


  • 100% natural & cruelty-free
  • 8 flavors
  • Availability: Europe
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Treat Size & Calorie-Count

Choose treats that are appropriately sized for your dog’s breed and age. Training treats should be small enough to reward frequently during training without overfeeding. Pay attention to the calorie count of each treat to ensure it fits within your dog’s daily caloric needs.

Unfortunately, some treat packages don’t actually include calorie information, making this piece of advice a bit challenging to follow. So, here is some general guidance.

For a 2g treat, a 6kg (13lb) dog could have up to 3 treats per day, whereas a 30kg (66 lb) dog could have up to 15 treats. And the standard rule of thumb is that treats should not make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily food intake. 

serving size information for natural dog training treats
serving size information for natural dog training treats

If your dog is super-food motivated (like all 3 of mine!), alternatively, you can use their regular food for training. This works great for days when you’re focusing on training or want to manage their weight.

Just use their meal portion as treats during the session, and you won’t have to worry about adding extra calories.

The Eco-Friendly Benefits of Natural Training Treats for Dogs

Beyond the health benefits for your pup, natural treats are more likely to extend their positive impact on the environment. 

These treats are frequently packaged in more eco-conscious materials, reducing the reliance on excessive plastic packaging. 

And by opting for treats crafted from responsibly sourced ingredients, you are actively endorsing companies that prioritize not only your dog’s well-being but also the well-being of the planet.

Here’s a round-up of the brands we sampled for this post:

You can read more about some of these pet and planet-centric companies here. And if you are looking for some fun, new ways to incorporate treats into your pet’s life, check out these eco-friendly outdoor activities, including a green treat hunt.

mixed breed dog catching natural training treat
mini dapple dachshund dog catching natural training treat
pug mix dog catching natural training treat

FAQs: Natural Training Treats for Dogs

What are natural training treats for dogs?

Natural training treats for dogs are snacks made from wholesome, minimally processed ingredients, free from artificial additives, colors, and preservatives. These treats are often made from real meat, fruits, and vegetables.

Why choose natural training treats for my dog?

Natural training treats offer several benefits, including better digestibility, reduced risk of allergies or sensitivities, and improved overall health for your dog. They provide a nutritious and delicious reward during training sessions.

What ingredients should I look for in natural training treats?

Look for training treats made from high-quality proteins like chicken, beef, or salmon, along with natural carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes or peas. Avoid treats containing fillers, by-products, or artificial ingredients.

Are there any natural training treats suitable for dogs with dietary restrictions?

Yes, many natural training treats are available in grain-free, gluten-free, and hypoallergenic varieties, making them suitable for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. Look for treats labeled as such to ensure they meet your dog’s dietary needs.

How often should I give my dog natural training treats during training sessions?

It’s essential to use training treats in moderation to prevent overfeeding and maintain a healthy weight for your dog. Offer small, bite-sized treats as rewards during training sessions, and adjust the portion size based on your dog’s size and calorie requirements.

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