Top Dog Snacks World-wide.  And which Ones You Really Need More Of - Pet Care Stores (2024)

Firstly, dog snacks run the full range from dangerous and useless to healthy and beneficial to your dog.

And unlike some human snacks, dog snacks can be both healthy and very tasty. You don’t have to choose one or the other, or force your dog to eat one for their own sake, they will enjoy it.

The reason that ‘dog snacks’ get such a bad name, is that they liken them to human snacks, where anything goes. Fill it full of sugar and salt, and the assumption is people will want to buy and eat it.

Though like human food, owners of dogs are discovering, less ingredients is more. Or more specifically 100% single ingredient treats, is often far more beneficial for dogs.

There are various market research reports around but they don’t always paint the whole picture. So instead, I will briefly review the most sought after, at least by volume.

Dog biscuits are one of the all-time biggest culprits of what a healthy dog snack should not be. And we get that a lot of people like them, because they are very economical.

But why bother giving a snack to your dog that is less healthy than the commercial dog food they eat. If your commercial dog food has 70% wheat or 70% rice, what would be the point in feeding them something with 90% grain?

Top Dog Snacks World-wide. And which Ones You Really Need More Of - Pet Care Stores (1)

It’s not the grain itself that is the issue, it’s the fact that even though most grain has very little usable protein for your dog, you are giving them a boost of carbs and fiber at the expense of protein or essential amino acids they could really do with having.

For instance, if you feed your dog one quarter of the dry weight of dog biscuits on any one day, you would need to reduce your kibble by one quarter on that day to maintain their weight, which effectively reduces the protein they can access.

Jerky treats might be considered to make up the second largest group of treats by some sources, but not all jerkies are 100% meat or anywhere near it. Nor are they whole treats, they are often scraps and remnants of meat, not fit for human consumption.

Because the two most common meats in dog food are still beef and chicken, most dog snacks are based on these farmed meats. But they are far from organic or free from growth hormones.

Many contain sugar and salt additives (to make the dog consume more of them than they normally would), and may have substantial amounts of additives like soy to keep the treat together if they are glued together MDM based treats.

HOWEVER, if you feed 100% single ingredient dog snack treats, from a reputable source, you are indeed feeding your dog the best dog snacks they can get!

Dental chews fluctuate somewhere between the highest and third highest dog treats sold in any country by sales. This treat didn’t exist only a few decades ago, but the marketing departments of dog food corporations got together to work out how to sell more products with more margin.

They figured owners wanted to feed their dogs something that would be healthy as a dog snack, so they told them it was.

Even when it’s made of plant-based concentrate that is totally unnatural to the dog’s digestive system, they are sold as a great teeth cleaner. It would be akin to owners brushing their teeth with toothpaste then swallowing that toothpaste.

In an ideal world owners would be told that animal products are the most natural for their carnivore-based dog to eat, and the best dental chews don’t come out of a mould from a large corporate factor. They are actually any of the harder jerkies or shark cartilage sticks, bully sticks or even honeycomb type bones like lamb necks or kangaroo lumbar bones.

Rawhide chews have gotten a bad name lately, but can still be picked up cheaply from discount stores. Originally, they used to be natural cowhide, a soft kind of leather without the tannin.

But over the years, they have evolved to scrap cow skin glued together with many toxic substances that can be properly dissolved in a dog’s stomach, leading to many vet visits.

Instead, we recommend pork skin rolls (from a single sheet), or pig’s ears etc.

Fruit pops and frozen yogurt drops should be struck from the dog snack category all together. Great for humans and school kids, when they are human grade, but NOT for dogs. Dogs should probably only get about 10% plant matter at most, even though their wet and dry foods often contain up to 70% dry matter plant equivalent.

Fruit pops suffer the same issue as fake dental toothbrushes made from plants. Their main contribution is carbs, and dogs have no value from sugar in their systems. They will eat them, they might love them, but they provide little besides excess energy into your dog that instead could be provided by quality protein.

The difference between these dog snacks is. 100% single meat dog treats contain 50% plug protein by dry weight and virtually no carbs. Protein can be used for the essential amino acids they provide directly OR as an energy. Whereas carbs can only be used as energy or calories. They can’t provide any amino acids.

But what about dog bones?

This deserves a whole article in itself and is one of the most fiercely debated topics in dog feeding.

In most soft pop articles written for search engines for advertising revenue, bones are completely neglected, even though they can take up a considerable amount of space on dog feeding forums.

If you talk to strict raw feeders who believe and understand a dog’s carnivore evolution, you will often get the standard percentage breakdown of the amount of the three main animal products they recommend.

Meat 80%, offal 10-15% and bones 5-10 %. They accept that wolves in the wild (the modern dog ancestor) might have eaten grass when they felt sick, or consumed berries when prey was scarce and it was a matter of survival, but the bulk of the diet was from their kill.

There would be some semi-dissolved plant matter in a prey’s stomach but the prey wasn’t killed for that plant matter, it was just part of the whole package for a hungry pack to stretch all food to all of the hunters.

When bones are fully consumed or ground down, they contain calcium and phosphorus on the right proportion 1:1 as recommended by the affco dog food guidelines. The form of these elements are also in the most natural form to be utilised by pet dogs.

The problem in the past, is that unscrupulous dog food companies would put in a much larger number of bones than meat or offal because it was cheaper, thus depriving dogs of the protein and vitamins they would get from meat and offal. This is what caused the dog stools to go white when they dried.

Now days raw feeders, NOT barf feeders (those who use a large amount of plant matter), realize the value of bones in all dog’s diets, but understand that to be properly consumed, the bones need to be the right size, and the right hardness matched to the type of dog (breed, age and size).

Some steer clear of load bearing bones (legs) and others won’t use oven dried bones. But done correctly, dried bones are not a major health issue. They still have enough moisture to be a little pliable.

For the majority of commercial dog food feeding owners, bones are used as an occupier treat. The dog will be left with a bone far bigger than the dog can possibly break and eat, and just entertains them for hours on and off.

The dog will enjoy bones with some meat left on them, but will mainly chew on the end nubs. If you use dried bones with meat on them, they might stay cleaner for laundry eating, and the bone can clean the dog’s teeth very well.

Others with small and older dogs might ban bones altogether because these dogs might not understand how to chew properly before swallowing.

Then there are bones like lamb neck and kangaroo lumbar that we mentioned before as ideal dental chews.

Dogs can safely eat the whole amount, because the bones are not tiny, but are also not rock hard. They scrape the teeth and provide nutrition and occupation. Even dried chicken legs and chicken necks come into this category – made to be eaten, safely.

Then there are the whole class of bones such as kangaroo ribs. When whole dried ribs are used, they contain equal amounts of meat and bone. A pliable, easy to chew bone, and better for a dog to eat than a stick they might find in the park.

When my dog was younger, being a small retriever based, with a soft jaw, he actually enjoyed the ribs a lot, but never ate the bones, just spent a lot of time ribbing the ribs apart and getting to the meat between them. Such a joyful primal thing to see.


We hope that clears up some of the questions you have about what are the healthier types of dog snacks you can buy for your cherished pup !

Top Dog Snacks World-wide.  And which Ones You Really Need More Of - Pet Care Stores (2024)
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