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Best puppy treats: Little luxuries for your miniature hound

best puppy treats
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best puppy treats are a lifesaver when it comes to helping your little one learn what's expected of them in their new home. Much like the best dog treats, you'll find a wide variety of options on the market, so it's worthwhile giving some thought to a few things before making your purchase.

First up, look for treats that aren't too high in calories. It's likely you'll initially be using treats fairly frequently as you work on crate, potty, and leash training your puppy. While we don't recommend you go overboard with treats as they can lead to weight gain when used excessively, low calorie treats used in moderation alongside the best puppy food and coupled with regular exercise shouldn't be an issue.

The type of treat you give your puppy will also depend on what kind of training you're doing. For something like leash training, we recommend treats that are small and quick to eat as you'll be able to keep up a much higher rate of reinforcement. For crate training where your puppy is going to need to be on their own for period of time, opt for a longer-lasting treat as this will help them to feel settled and content.

Another thing to keep in mind is the size of your dog. Smaller breeds do best with small treats that are easy for their tiny mouths and teeth to deal with while larger breeds are going to need something more substantial. Always check the packet to make sure you're buying the right size treat for your puppy's breed.

To help you find the perfect mouth-watering treats for your little mutt, our guide to the best puppy treats has something for every dog... 

PetsRadar's pick of the best puppy treats

Wellness Natural Grain Free Puppy Training Treats

(Image credit: Amazon)

Wellness Natural Grain Free Puppy Training Treats

Best overall puppy treat

Specifications

Suitable for: Puppies 6 weeks and over
Food type: Small bites
Bag size: 3-ounce and 8-ounce

Reasons to buy

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Simple and natural ingredients
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High in vitamins and minerals
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Low calorie

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

With close to 25,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, we knew that these tasty puppy treats from the ever-popular Wellness brand were going to be tough to beat and it turns out, we were right.

A clear winner for the best overall puppy training treats, these moist and tasty morsels are the perfect blend of soft and chewy. Made from fresh lamb and salmon, they contain all the flavors from land and sea that puppies love.

Packed full of DHA for healthy brain development and with antioxidant-rich sweet potatoes and blueberries to keep the immune system firing on all cylinders, there’s also a good dash of omega fatty acids to keep your pup’s skin smooth and their coat looking shiny.

We love that these treats are thoughtfully made with simple, natural, and high-quality ingredients and are free from meat by-products, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. They’re grain-free as well, making them an excellent choice for young pups with digestive issues.

With plenty of protein to keep them full, lots of fruits and vegetables for health, and at just six calories per treat, these craveable and sniffable rewards will motivate any puppy into action. 

best puppy treats

(Image credit: Barker and Barker)

Barker & Barker 450 Little Liver Training Treats

Best budget puppy treat

Specifications

Suitable for: Puppies aged 2 months and over
Treat type: Small kibble
Bag size: 450-treat pot

Reasons to buy

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Suitable for very young puppies 
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Huge number of treats per pot
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Low calorie and low salt
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Airtight, puppy-proof pot

Reasons to avoid

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Not as ‘natural’ as some puppy treats
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Not suitable for dalmatians

If you view dog treats as a training tool rather than something to give out on-demand or at set times between meals, then Barker & Barker’s Little Liver Training Treats are likely to be your go-to choice. Each sturdy pot contains a whopping 450 treats. Both the pot size and treats are vitamin pill-sized. They’re small enough that you can dole them out a few at a time over and over again without fear that your in-training puppy will get fat on the rewards. 

Each treat contains 0.3 calories and is 50% protein. A handy guide on the back of the pot tells you how many mini treats you can safely give your pup each day, given this is a complementary food source, not a meal replacement. Even the tiniest puppies may be able to have up to 40 Little Liver Treats a day, which means you’ll be able to have several short sessions of behavior training. Do check the exact guidance for your breed and age of puppy though, as Barker’s is aimed at dogs from two months old right up to adult. 

Barker’s takes a more pragmatic than foodie approach to rewards but customer reviews suggest the pork liver flavor appeals to their pups. They are pungent enough to let the dog know there’s a treat to be had, but don’t smell strong enough to cause an unpleasant lingering odor. Because the treats are so tiny, even small puppies can easily swallow them without needing to stop and chew them. This means fun training games and exercise aren’t interrupted while deserving treats are consumed. 

If you need a training treat for your puppy, Barkers & Barkers is a brilliant choice, whatever their age or breed!

best puppy treats

(Image credit: Lily's Kitchen)

Lily’s Kitchen Chicken & White Fish Slices Treats For Puppies

Best young puppy treat

Specifications

Suitable for: Puppies aged 8 weeks and over
Treat type: Air-dried fresh food sachet
Bag size: 60g or 12 x 60g multi-pack

Reasons to buy

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Fresh fish and poultry 
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All-natural ingredients
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Resealable food sachet

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive
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No ‘play’ element to dispensing this treat

Lily’s Kitchens’ fresh dog food has a great reputation, so it’s little surprise to find their training treat offering is also focused around fresh ingredients and an all-natural approach. Whereas almost all other puppy treats are either chews or kibble-based, Lily’s offers tempting slices of 30% sustainably sourced fresh fish and 40% chicken with a sprinkling of parsley. The rest of the ingredients are potato, rapeseed oil, and minerals. This is the epitome of ‘human-grade’ pet food. Because of the softness of the food-based treat, there’s no real issue with offering this to a young puppy. 

While all this sounds very much like a tasty dinner rather than a reward for continued good behavior, Lily’s says the very high nutritional value of the fish and chicken slices are ‘brilliant for positive reinforcement when training’. It doesn’t have the fun factor of a chew or a hidden biscuit though. The treats come in resealable sachets, and are designed to be slipped into a pocket and slyly offered should your in-training puppy earn a reward. The food is air-dried to keep the nutrients intact. This, of course, means the food, although fresh, is dry, and a bowl of fresh water must accompany it. (This is what we’d expect whenever pets are offered anything to eat, of course.) 

Lily’s says you can offer your pet up to eight sachets of this food per day, which would be both expensive and extravagant. You’ll want to choose the 12-sachet multi-buy option if your puppy is to have more than one sachet a day! More usefully, there’s a food guidance tool on the Lily’s Kitchen website, which helps you work out which of its products are suitable for your puppy and his or her stage of development and how much food, in grams, they should be eating per day.

Wellness CORE Grain Free Puppy Bites, Beef & Turkey Recipe

(Image credit: Amazon)

Wellness CORE Grain Free Puppy Bites, Beef & Turkey Recipe

Best grain-free puppy treats

Specifications

Suitable for: Puppies 6 weeks and over
Treat type: Bites
Bag size: 3 ounces

Reasons to buy

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Made with fresh meat
+
Protein-rich
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All natural ingredients

Reasons to avoid

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Small bag

For those of you looking for a delicious, grain-free soft treat to reward your puppy with, these mouth-watering morsels from the Wellness CORE range are going to be hard to pass up!

Made with two types of fresh meat (beef and turkey), these small bites are protein-rich, feature all natural ingredients and come packed with added vitamins and DHA to promote healthy brain development.

We love the range of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables that are incorporated into these treats and the fact that they're free from meat byproducts, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, gets them a huge tick of approval from us. 

Great for training and reward purposes, these treats may be on the more expensive side given the bag size, but their high quality and clean ingredient list makes them well worth it. 

best puppy treats

(Image credit: Whimzees)

Whimzees Puppy Natural Dental Dog Chew Stix

Best dental care puppy treat

Specifications

Suitable for: Puppies aged 3 months and older
Treat type: dental chew
Bag size: 100g

Reasons to buy

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All-natural ingredients list
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Sugar-free and low fat
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Versions for small and larger breeds

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive

Whimzees Natural Dental Dog Chews get an enthusiastic response from puppies and their owners both for their tooth care and how entertained the unusually shaped chews keep their delighted recipients. Despite being a specialist dental treat, they’re rated 32nd overall for all dog foods by Amazon customers. They’re also recognized by the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council). 

Whimzees’ Puppy version sticks with the all-natural ingredients list but comes in an easier-to-tackle stick design that the makers claim are 80% more effective than some dental sticks at removing plaque and tartar. Look carefully, and you’ll see the sticks are extruded in the shape of a duck and a teddy bear. The puppy chews are noticeably softer than the adult dog equivalent. 

They’re intended as a one-a-day treat that brushes the puppy’s teeth as he or she chews. The chews are low calorie, sugar-free and vegetarian, consisting of potato starch, glycerin, powdered cellulose, lecithin, dried yeast, malt extract, lupine, and calcium carbonate. Yeast extract provides vitamin B, minerals, and amino acids while malt extract improves your pet’s metabolism, helping keep them trim. 

Calcium helps with the development of your puppy’s teeth, while lupine is a protein-rich bean that, unlike soya, is unlikely to trigger tummies. Overall, there’s 7% fiber in these tasty, GMO and grain-free treats. 

A 100g bag of these dental chews contains a week’s worth of sticks – i.e. just seven –  making it far more expensive to keep your pooch’s teeth in tip-top condition than the budget choice of DentaStix Dental. However, a key difference is that Whimzees’ Puppy Dental Dog Chews are low calorie - not something that can be said of all dental sticks.

best puppy treats

(Image credit: Wagg)

Wagg Puppy and Junior Treats

Best all-natural puppy training treat

Specifications

Suitable for: Puppies aged 8 weeks and older
Treat type: Moist biscuit
Bag size: 120g

Reasons to buy

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Choice of flavors
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Suitable for younger puppies
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No artificial flavorings or color

Reasons to avoid

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Contains wheat and whey
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Additives include colorings

Waggs’ Treats are unusual in that there’s a choice of flavors, and almost all are suitable for very young dogs. Puppies from eight weeks old get to try out Chicken and Yogurt, Lamb, and Rice (for sensitive tummies), Chicken, Ham, and Beef, or even the low-fat Turkey and Rice option. Most are simply intended as treats for a growing, eager-to-please puppy, while the Chicken and Cheese and Chicken, Beef and Lamb versions are described as ‘training treats’.  

The Puppy and Junior Chicken and Yogurt option ranks top overall on Amazon for Dog Biscuits and Snacks and contains 24% chicken meal, 4% yoghurt (containing calcium, of course, to promote strong teeth and bones), minerals, gelatine, glycerine – for a shiny puppy coat – plus whey powder to help build bulk. Unfortunately, it also contains wheat, a great way to bulk out food, but also a potential intolerance trigger. The list of healthy vitamins includes A, D3, and E, as well as zinc and selenium. The latter two help boost the immune system. There are also preservatives and food colorings, which are less welcome. 

Nonetheless, Wagg’s Puppy and Junior Treats are popular with customers for a reason: they’re sugar-free – certainly not something true of all pet treats –  oven-baked and have 20% moisture content, so they’re not dry and brittle like some biscuity treats. They still need to be given with water, of course. A redesigned version of these soft puppy treats sees them take on the cute form of a puppy’s paw. They are a little large for some tiny puppies (breed depending, of course), so you may want to give a younger puppy half at a time. They’re easy enough to break into pieces and are certainly a hit with canine recipients.

Bag of Pupford puppy treatsPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Amazon)

Pupford Freeze-Dried Salmon Training Treats

Best low calorie treat

Specifications

Suitable for: Puppies aged 6 weeks and older
Treat type: Freeze-dried salmon
Bag size: 113g

Reasons to buy

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Only two ingredients
+
High-quality
+
Variety of other flavors available 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

At less than one calorie per treat, these mouth-watering salmon morsels are ideal for long training sessions. Containing just two ingredients, these treats are freeze-dried to maintain nutrients, taste, and freshness. 

Free from fillers, sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients, the salmon is mixed with an antioxidant called tocopherol, which also acts as a binding agent to ensure the treats stay together. At 42% protein, 15% fat, and 3% fiber, these treats will fuel your puppy and keep them full during training.

With over 475 treats per bag, this product offers exceptional value, and the salmon flavor can be easily swapped out for chicken, liver, or rabbit if your pup isn’t a fan of the fishy taste. The treats are suitable for all puppy ages and stages and each one is the size of a pea, making them easy to chew and swallow. 

When you buy these treats you’ll also gain access to a free dog training app and class that, which offers help and support on how to best train your pup. Simple and delicious, these low-calorie treats are sure to get your puppy’s tail wagging.

Zuke's Puppy Naturals Training Dog TreatsPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Amazon)

Zuke's Puppy Naturals Training Dog Treats

Best gluten-free puppy treats

Specifications

Suitable for: Puppies over six weeks of age
Treat type: Gluten-free bites
Bag size: 142g

Reasons to buy

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Nutrient-rich
+
Grain and gluten free
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High levels of DHA and EPA

Reasons to avoid

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Treats may be too firm for some puppies

With everything your puppy needs and none of what they don't, these high-quality grain and gluten free treats come packed full of lamb, chickpeas, and vitamins to ensure your little one is rewarded with a meaty morsel that's both delicious and nutritious.

Limited ingredients mean these treats are free of many of the common allergens that can cause digestive and skin issues and with high levels of DHA and EPA, each morsel supports healthy brain development. 

High in protein, with moderate amounts of fat and a good dose of fiber from added flaxseed, each treat contains only 3.5 calories, making them perfect for guilt free feeding for a puppy learning new trick

Stewart Freeze Dried Dog TreatsPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Amazon)

Stewart Freeze Dried Liver Treats

Best freeze dried treats

Specifications

Suitable for: Puppies over six weeks of age
Treat type: Freeze dried
Bag size: 56g

Reasons to buy

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Single ingredient
+
Rich in vitamins and minerals
+
Up to 50 pieces per tub

Reasons to avoid

-
Large pieces

Featuring only USDA-certified, human-grade pork liver, these single-ingredient treats are free from grains, gluten, corn and soy, and have no preservatives, artificial colors, additives or flavors.

Freeze-dried to lock in all the goodness, these nutrient-dense treats are rich in a range of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, B12, iron, folic acid, magnesium and taurine. Great as a training treat or a meal topper, they have a rich and meaty taste your pup will go crazy for.

Available in a range of sizes, the resealable tubs help keep the treats fresher for longer and a 56g tub contains around 50 treats. It's worth noting that each treat is quite large, so for smaller puppies, you might want to cut them in half before serving.

best puppy treatsPets Radar Approved Award

(Image credit: Denzel's)

Denzel's Healthy Puppy Treats

Best hypoallergenic puppy treats

Specifications

Suitable for: Puppies over eight weeks of age
Treat type: Soft baked
Bag size: 100g

Reasons to buy

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No artificial ingredients
+
Ideal for sensitive stomachs
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Can be given to puppies at an early age

Reasons to avoid

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Can smell quite funky

If your dog is hypoallergenic then you'll want something that they'll be able to eat safely. Denzel's Healthy Puppy Treats fall into this category, so you can rest assured that these treats will be suitable for their sensitive stomachs.

Coming in a variety of loosely themed flavors – such as fish, meat, plant, and even 'Christmas Lunch' – these are sure to represent a healthy treat for your puppy. They are completely free of artificial preservatives, grains, and gluten, and are soft and squishy, making them easy to swallow.

The only real complaints we saw is that they can be a bit pungent upon opening. Although this can be an issue for humans, you can be sure that your puppy won't mind one bit!    

How to choose the best puppy treat

Once they’re weaned, at around eight weeks old, you’ll be keen to start your puppy’s toilet training. When choosing training treats that can help with this look for soft puppy treats such as Wellness Soft Puppy Bites that a young pup can manage. Dry puppy food kibble hidden in soft chews makes a good treat for a puppy that’s a few months old, as does the tiny kibble used for clicker training treats. 

Softly, softly. Your puppy’s teeth will still be developing, so avoid hard biscuity treats and food, or soak the treats in warm water to make them easier to swallow. Clicker training treats are often this tiny kibble type. 

Size matters. A very small dog or young puppy won’t be able to manage chunky treats, so check the packaging for advice on what size and age of puppy the treat is suitable for. Many puppy treats are labelled for 6 months or older for this exact reason. If yours is a medium-sized breed, it’s probably fine to go by such age guidance, and larger dogs should have no issues. If, however, your puppy is a small or toy breed, read the packaging carefully, as there may be more specific advice on if and when they’ll be big enough to manage the biscuit or chew. If the treat is too large it could stick in your puppy’s throat, which would be both distressing and dangerous. 

There are toy treats and chews intended for smaller breeds, so it may be wise to stick to treats that are designed for their smaller stomachs and mouths. 

Check the ingredients list. Puppy treats should contain a mix of protein, nutrients and minerals. The European Pet Food Agency has a guide to dog food formulations. Avoid products that contain sugar and ingredients such as wheat that could trigger an intolerance. Puppies have delicate tummies that can’t always digest wheat or dairy. 

Portion control. Although treats can be a significant part of your dog’s diet, treats are no substitute for their actual meals. The American Kennel Club advises treats make up no more than 10% of your puppy’s overall food consumption. 

For a by-breed breakdown of ingredients puppies need see the MSD Vet Manual's guide.  

Drinking buddy. As with meals, treats should always be given with plenty of fresh water to drink. 

Be realistic. Your puppy doesn’t need to have the absolute most expensive treats. Buy what you can afford, focusing on high protein content and avoiding preservatives and non-natural additives. 

Routine approach. Once you’ve found a treat or chew your puppy enjoys, stick with it. Dogs need consistency. This applies to the treats they earn for their good behavior, as well as to the expectations you have of them.