Feeding treats is a big part of how people bond with their dogs. We feed treats for so many reasons: as a reward, a snack, to comfort them or just because we enjoy it. This is to name just a few reasons. 

We understand. Feeding treats are an enjoyable part of your interaction with your dog, which you may be reluctant to stop.  It shouldn’t be a big revelation, however, that most treats and tit bits are not healthy for our dogs or good for their balanced diet. Read on to learn how to continue feeding treats, how to find a balance. 

How to Find a Balance?

Treats should make up only 10% of the energy in your dog’s diet. As many treats which we can buy are high in calories (energy), this means that within the 10% allowance there isn’t space for very many of these. Especially if you have a small dog, their energy requirement is small. Just one or two treats can exceed the 10% allowance. Think about smackos as an example of these treats. 

Alternative Tasty Treats

Alternatives and substitutions are a great option. This way we can  maintain the dietary balance for our pooches, avoid over feeding and weight gain and keep our hounds healthy. We can also keep the important treating behaviours. This means that we don’t have to make any changes to how we interact and bond with our pooches. 

Many biscuits and treats are high in calories and should only be a very tiny part of your dog’s diet. Take a look at your dog’s treats. Would a lower energy treat fit better into their balanced diet? Look for low calorie or low fat treats next time you’re choosing tasty treat options. 

Fruit and Vegetables

Many fruits and vegetables are delicious and healthy treats for your dogs. They are also versatile! Some are hard like dog chews whilst others are soft and could be used as a filling for a kong, for example. Whether you’re looking for something to offer as an alternative to their usual treat biscuits, something healthy to fill their kong or enrichment toys, or you’re looking for a new healthy and nutritious snack for your pooch, take a look below:


Berries are easy alternatives. Try offering blueberries and other small berries on your walks. 
Pieces of fruits and vegetables are also great here. Try apple, carrot, melon, pear, cucumber, and other fruits and vegetables you have in your fridge. 

Enrichment toy fillings: 

Banana is easy to mash up to use on their enrichment toys. It’s sweet and nutritious so tasty for most dogs. 
Cooked pumpkin, sweet potato or squash.
You can blitz other fruits and vegetables to use here too! 

Remember that not all parts of fruits and vegetables are suitable, so here is a list we love, which is prepared by Pupford. You can check it out here.

What about Dental Sticks?

Dental sticks and other chew treats can be higher in calories and sugars than we account for, meaning that they make up a much higher part of your dogs daily requirements than we expect. This can lead to pooches becoming an unhealthy weight. There are many alternatives to these which may provide another good option and fit into a healthy, balanced diet. These include vegetable chews such as Whimzees, Antlers, Yak’s milk chews, Wooden roots chews, and others.

Do check the suitability of these options for your specific dog, and do not feed chews when your dog is unsupervised. Seek recommendations for your dog dependent on their age, heaviness of chewing, and other preferences. 

Do you feed a dry dog food? 

If you feed your dog a dry food, then another great thing to do is to use a part of their daily allowance of dry food and feed it as treats. This means that if your dog eats 500g of dry food a day, instead of giving two 250g meals, you could give two 200g meals and take 100g of the food with you on walks, for example, to give in the same way as you normally would with biscuits or training treats.

There are some great alternatives for you to try, to find a balance whilst feeding treats to your pooch. Whether you stick to the treats which will fit into your pooch’s 10% allowance, use alternatives or incorporate their dry food to feed as treats too. 

Remember, a treat or reward for your dog doesn’t have to be food! You can treat your pooch with fuss and cuddles, playtime and their favourite toys just as happily!