“If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them.” – Phil Pastoret
Math ability aside, a dog’s relationship with treats is a very important one. We humans, as the giver of those treats, have a special responsibility in what we dole out to our four-legged friends. Our dogs are our babies, so we want what’s best for them so we should only give them the best of treats.
Puppies are especially vulnerable to our choices, as they are only just beginning to grow which makes them even more dependent on the wisdom of our decisions.
Figuring out what kind of treats are best for them can be tricky. A responsible dog owner needs to filter through all the information available in order to make an informed decision on which treats are healthy enough to give their pets.
These Are some of our favorites!
|Zuke's Puppy Naturals Puppy Treats Salmon and...||Buy on Amazon|
|Nulo Puppy & Adult Freestyle Trainers Dog Treats:...||$5.99||Buy on Amazon|
Because puppies depend on our judgment when it comes to their health, we owe it to them to make researched choices in what kinds of treats we feed them.
Like their humans, all dogs need nutrients, and nutrition is even more important while a dog is still a puppy. According to “Real Food for Dogs” by Arden Moore, these necessary nutrients include:
Carbs, fats, and protein serve several important purposes. They help build tissue, contribute to muscle growth, and they also provide a puppy the energy he is known for. Vitamins, minerals, and water help young dogs maintain healthy red blood cells and regulate body temperature.
Water also helps to hydrate a dog’s tissue. It is for these reasons that picking out healthy treats for a growing puppy is important to the dog’s growth and overall health. The healthier a dog is, the longer they can stay by your side as a faithful companion.
How Nutritious Is Your Dog’s Food?
Like people’s food, there is a wide variety of dog food to choose from. When choosing the healthiest option for your four-legged friend, always look for the following characteristics:
- Protein should be the primary ingredient. Excellent sources of protein are deboned chicken, duck, beef, pork, or salmon. These ingredients should be the first listed on the package.
- Good foods won’t have additives like dyes or artificial flavors in them. These can trigger food allergies.
- Quality dog food comes from countries with high food safety protocols. According to AKC.org, these countries include the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Western Europe, as these places have stricter regulations in what can legally be in your dog food. (source)
While it’s important to pay attention to what’s in our dog’s food, it’s equally important to understand that puppies have nutritional needs unique to them. Dog food or treats meant for adult dogs do not necessarily have the correct balance of fat, nutrients, and calories for puppies too.
What To Look For In Puppy Treats
Because their bodies are still developing, puppies have special nutritional needs and these needs should not be ignored. In particular, puppies require more protein in their diets because protein helps to promote muscle growth.
They also require more fat, particularly fatty acids like Omega 3’s to help promote cognitive abilities. Always remember that their brains are growing just like their bodies.
Puppies are also different from adult dogs in that their mouths are much smaller. At 8 weeks old, a puppy lacks big enough teeth to eat adult dog treats. So any treat you give them should be small enough for them to chew, ideally bite-sized for their smaller mouths to handle. The tinier pieces will also be easier to digest in their smaller stomachs.
Have treats that you think might be too big? Try these handy tips. Soak the food or treats in warm water to moisten before giving it to your puppy. This makes it easier to chew and digest later. Or if you have time, you can cut them into smaller, more edible pieces.
Small treats are also a very handy tool for puppy training. When teaching a dog new tricks or simply rewarding good behavior, the reward of a tasty treat will help reinforce positive behavior that will pay off during the entire life of your dog. When these treats are also nutritious it’s a win-win scenario resulting in a well-behaved dog that is healthy as well.
Dog treats for 8 week old puppies should also be healthy sources of vitamins and protein to ensure they grow to be strong and healthy. The nutrients in puppy treats need to be concentrated because pups grow so quickly. Primarily, puppy treats should contain a lot of calcium and phosphorus to promote bone growth.
Another important ingredient all puppy food should have is the omega-3 fatty acid known as docosahexaenoic acid or DHA for short. DHA is crucial for neural development in the brain, as well as in the central nervous system and for retinal function.
Before weaning, puppies get DHA from their mothers but after that, puppies need their DHA supplemented through their diets. Common sources of DHA are fish for puppies is fish, fish meal, and fish oil.
Review of The Best Treats for Puppies at 8 Weeks Old
Our favorite treats for 8 week old puppies are Blue Buffalo’s Mini Bars Banana Yogurt Biscuits.
These tasty biscuits rate 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and for good reason. They are packed with great ingredients and vitamins that promote a healthy start to a young dog’s life. These include DHA for cognitive development and Omega 3 and 6 for a shiny coat. These are an all-natural option, as they contain no poultry and they are also corn, wheat, and soy-free.
- They contain no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. No additives mean no pesky allergies to deal with.
- Because they lack all of the above, there is more room for healthy ingredients like Bananas, Yogurt, Carrots, Oatmeal, Flaxseed and Barley.
- They are very affordable for a pet owner who may be on a budget.
- They contain Taurine, to promote a healthy heart.
- They are packed with vitamins to protect your puppy’s immune system.
- They come in small packages. While they are affordable, you will still need to portion them out in rationed quantities in order to make a package last. Or you may cut them into smaller pieces but that’s time-consuming. A better option would be to buy more packages, if you can afford to.
Other Great Options for Puppy Treats
- Nutrient-rich, tender treats for all your pup's adventures in training
- Real salmon is the #1 ingredient
- Leading DHA and EPA levels to support healthy brain development
- Grain free and gluten free dog treats for puppies
Zuke’s Puppy Naturals are grain-free, which is convenient for puppies who may have a grain sensitivity. It’s okay to give dogs grains, but too much grain can result in allergies and other digestive disorders. Breaking down and metabolizing complex carbohydrates can be difficult for some dogs. Over time, a diet high in grain can damage the digestive system.
Zuke’s Puppy Naturals come in two flavors: natural salmon and sweet potato. Salmon is an excellent source of DHA and sweet potatoes are very easy on the digestive system of a young pup.
- They are an excellent source of DHA and protein. Their ingredients include chickpeas, which are a great source of energy-rich protein.
- They are sourced with ingredients from U.S.A. No byproducts to surprise you.
- They are packed with Vitamins A, C, and E.
- They are grain-free for better digestive health.
- Although they are advertised as “tender treats,” they are not as soft and chewable as other treats. If using for puppy training, the treats can take longer for a puppy to chew, which may slow down the training process.
- 3 DELICIOUS FLAVORS: Dogs will love the real meat taste of our duck, salmon and turkey recipes
- NATURAL DOG TREATS: Our gluten-free treats do not contain grain, soy, corn, wheat or preservatives
- LOW-CALORIE REWARDS: With only 2 kcals per treat, small and large dogs will stay lean and healthy
- SUPERFOOD BOOST: We added honey, cherries and blueberries to supply your pet with more nutrients
These soft chewy treats are irresistible to a puppy’s palette. They come in three tasty flavors: duck, salmon, and turkey. The addition of honey, cherries, and blueberries make these treats a superfood. Imagine Scrappy-Doo yelling Puppy Power after eating Nulo’s Freestyle Dog Treats.
- They are gluten and preservative-free. This makes for easier digestion and better health in the long run. Just like Zuke’s puppy treats, the lack of grain is easier on your dog’s gut and makes it less likely that your dog will put on extra weight.
- The salmon they use is wild-caught.
- They are all-natural and low calorie so you can reward your puppy often.
- They are a healthy treat for dogs of all ages, not just puppies. That means you can keep buying them as your puppy grows into a dog.
- The small bag size will keep you re-ordering, and if you have more than one puppy, you will empty the bag quickly.
- Unfortunately, they aren’t as affordable as other puppy treats.
Old Mother Hubbard’s Classic Puppy biscuits are oven-baked goodness for your little dog. They contain added minerals and vitamins in bone-shaped biscuits, containing healthy ingredients like oatmeal, chicken, flaxseed, apples, and carrots. Old Mother Hubbard’s classic recipe is based on a fisherman’s snack that he shared with his dog while out to sea.
- They are super affordable. You can buy twice as many Mini Dog Biscuits for the same amount of money most treats cost.
- They are only 8 calories per treat, so there’s no need to feel guilty if your puppy loves these biscuits and occasionally overindulges.
- Many different flavors are available, including bacon, peanut butter, chicken, and cheddar.
- If ordering on Amazon, they are only available to Prime members. But they are available on Petflow.com.
Dogs are our best friends. If we were to feed our best human friend, we would certainly pay close attention to what goes into their food. We shouldn’t treat dog food any different when feeding it to our pets. Puppies, in particular, are more vulnerable so it stands to reason that we should set the bar even higher when picking out puppy food.
Treats for puppies are just as important as their regular puppy food, as they constitute another aspect of their diet. The previous list of puppy treats are all good and healthy options, but you might prefer one over the others. Our favorite is Blue Buffalo Mini Bar Biscuits, with the others reviewed in this article coming in as honorable mentions.
We picked Blue Buffalo treats because they have a well rounded healthy treat that targets the health of your puppy’s heart, brain, and immune system. The other treats also offer health benefits. If you can’t decide on which one to buy, you might want to do the ultimate puppy taste test and let your four-legged best friend make the decision for you.
Just don’t bogart the treats by hiding them in your pocket.
Last update on 2020-09-25 at 09:28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API