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The best dog treats for small dogs should deliver plenty of flavor in a package that’s suitable for smaller-sized snoots. But to qualify as a great dog treat means offering much more than simply being tasty. Dog treats make up as much as 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake, which means that for better or for worse, your dog treats make up a notable portion of their overall diet. And since maintaining a healthy dog is likely at the forefront of every dog owner’s mind, we made it the cornerstone of our selection process.
We know there are a lot of options out there, and no shortage of those that claim to be the best. This short guide is a list of a few of our favorites, each with their own unique benefits. Screening for purity of ingredients, nutritional value, as well as maintaining authentic wild flavor, these are some of the best artisanal dog treats.
Qualities to Look for in the Best Dog Treats
While these treats are made in a variety of sizes, shapes, textures, and protein-sources, they have more similarities than differences. Each of the treats that were included were made from grass-fed, free-range protein; free of fillers like wheat, rice, or soy as well as preservatives or artificial flavors. While we know there are plenty of wonderful vegetable dog treats or even dog desserts, protein-based snacks are better suited to meet the dietary preferences of their wolf-ancestry.
The mark of a high-quality dog treat is so much more than whether your dog will eat it. They’re not known for having high standards, are they now? Even if you are a beginner dog owner, weeding out a quality dog treat from a junk one is easy. When scanning nutrition labels, keep an eye out for indicators of the purity of the ingredients and preparation method. When in doubt, descriptors such as “single-source” or “handmade” are a great indicator that these treats will be high in nutritional value and made as naturally as possible.
As cherry pie and baseball are to American culture, the 6” Small Bully Stick is a classic of canine chewables. With more give than a bone and safer than rawhide chews, bully sticks are a favorite of dogs and humans alike. Big Lu offers them in five densities, ranging from twig-like extra thin bully sticks, their “Monster” sizes that are perfect for aggressive, power chewers. Their small bully sticks are appropriate for both extra-small breeds and those that are the average “small” size.
These treats are made in the United States and are available in 15, 25, or 50 units – great for the owners of multiple dogs. Big Lu has one of the lower shipping minimums to qualify for free shipping, which is wonderful for dog owners who don’t buy dog treats in large quantities. Additionally, Big Lu hand makes all of their treats. They have specially-trained Bakers who rigorously scrutinize every single item and make sure each piece is perfect before shipping it to your door.
These chewy tendon treats are made with 100% beef tendon, sourced from cattle raised in Brazil, Argentina, and the U.S. Ranging from 2” to 4” long, these are perfect for the extra small dog breeds like Chihuahuas or Pomeranians. Because tendons are very chewy by their nature, these treats are sure to keep your dog happily occupied for an extended period of time.
Feel free to bring these along when your dog accompanies you on car trips or social outings. The above-average moisture content makes these a great treat option for the outdoors when the sun’s heat might otherwise cause your dog to rapidly dehydrate.
Each resealable bag comes with 24 pieces, but you’ll have to resist those puppy dog eyes when they beg for more. These aren’t a low-calorie treat (50-70 calories each) – that’s up to a third of a small dog’s recommended caloric intake.
Just when you thought you had seen all the kinds of bully sticks out there. The Mini Bully Stick Chains are unique and put a fun twist on a classic treat. Throw them, hang them, play tug with them. Combining three mini bully sticks into an interlinked chain, it reimagines how your dog engages with their treats. Another benefit is that this unique shape helps to reach parts of your dog’s mouth that traditional bully sticks might not. The new shape keeps them entertained and makes their breath fresher than ever.
Pawstruck slow roasts all of their bully sticks to lock in maximum flavor. They are made from grass-fed, free-range cattle without the use of fillers or artificial additives. Mini Bully Stick Chains are specifically created for the smallest of dogs, teacup and toy breeds only. These do not come in a pack, so for dog owners unsure how their pooch will react to this new shape, they can order a single sample to test the waters first.
No, these delicious chews don’t have anything to do with a melody or a catchy-riff (although we’re sure that the sound of you opening this treat bag is sure to be music to your dog’s ears). Each pack of Ear Candy comes with five delicious, 100% beef, cow ears. You are what you eat – and so are the ingredients that go into each treat. These single-ingredient chews use only free-range, South American cattle.
There are five beef ears in every package and depending on how adept a chewer your tiny floof is, a bad of these treats may only last less than a week. While there’s nutritionally nothing not to love about these treats, the low quantity-per-package could be a nuisance for an owner of multiple dogs. Pet owners should also keep in mind that these beef ears are packed with almost an entire day’s worth of protein (a whopping 83%). They make for a great supplement to a dog’s diet, but due to the high protein content, small dogs shouldn’t consume more than one of these a day.
One of the most well-known bully stick manufacturers, Redbarn updated this dog-favorite into a fun new shape. Bully Barbells are bully sticks in bone form and offer the best of both worlds. The beloved tough exterior if the bully stick is a delight for dogs that love to gnaw and chew for hours on end. Meanwhile, the bone-like nubs on either end offer extra stability when holding between their paws, and a new shape for a different chewing experience. It’s a real ‘chews your own adventure’ kind of dog treat.
One of the best features of the Bully Barbells is that they last super long both on the shelf and in your dog’s mouth. With an impressive shelf life of 36 months, this one bag of treats could last as long as 3 years (depending on how enthusiastic a chewer you have on your hands). These treats come in a wide range of sizes from 2 inches up to 5 – something to keep in mind if you are shopping for a teacup or other extra-small dog breed. Bully sticks might be more than a very small dog can chew (literally), so these barbells may be better suited to dogs that are on the larger end of the “small” sizes.
No list of dog treats would be complete without the award-winning treat pack from Barkworthies (variety is the spice of life after all). These curated dog treat packages include 5 treats specifically chosen for puppies. Small-size alone doesn’t mean any dog treat is appropriate for a puppy. Because their mouths are still developing, their teeth may not be able to handle the same textures that an adult dog would be able to. This thoughtfully assembled assortment was designed to safely introduce young dogs to chewing and contains the following treats:
Rabbit Roll – Soft and edible, this treat is a fast eat that teething puppies can munch without discomfort.
Gullet Stick – Ever so slightly tougher in texture than the Rabbit Role, this beef treat provides a gentle gum massage as they chew.
Lamb Ear – While cartilage might not seem challenging, it is a good for introducing puppies to chewier treats. Ears have great resistance and high entertainment value.
Bully Stick – Hard-textured but thin, this is perfect for puppies going through their teething phase and looking for something that they can gnaw on for hours.
Split Elk Antler – While technically a bone, antlers are a safer alternative and do not splinter as easily. These are meant for powerful chewers – so don’t assume that your dog is ready for this treat just because you’ve already given them the other four.
This variety pack provides a range of options, ranging from soft rabbit to antlers, which allows dog owners to adjust the dog treats as their puppy grows. This variety has the added benefit of exposing puppies to several different chewing textures early on and giving owners insight as to their dog’s chewing preferences.
Beef trachea, also known as “moo-tubes” or “windies” are hollow dog treats that are chewy and springy. They provide a novel chewing experience for dogs that’s crunchy but easy on the teeth. These are appropriate for beginners and casual chewers who want an easy chew that requires minimal effort. Because beef trachea is made from organ tissue, it is not as long-lasting as tendons, cartilage, or bully sticks and lasts an average 20-30 minutes with constant chewing. These can be made to last longer by chilling them in the freezer. This not only increases each tube’s longevity but makes for a refreshing treat on a hot day.
Despite their hollow tube shape – the Beef Trachea chews are very meaty and have a decent amount of protein in them, but less than the average protein-based dog treat. However, what it lacks in protein it makes up in other ways. Made from an internal organ, these have additional nutritional benefits that commonly used beef-parts lack. Beef trachea is naturally high in chondroitin and glucosamine, substances that useful in maintaining strong and healthy joints in dogs and humans. The join-health benefits paired with trachea’s pliable constitution make these treats perfect for senior dogs. Keep in mind that these treats are more on the “wet” side than other dried treats like jerky or bully sticks, so they may not be as suited when out and about.
These bite-sized treats are great for pampered pooches or for use when training. They are made from ethically-sourced hare liver and are a pleasant change of pace for a dog whose treats are likely beef-based. Although Hare Bonbons are small, they still have a pretty substantial protein content. Dog owners must be mindful of this in order to avoid overloading tiny dog tummies. Bully Bunches recommends starting off with 3-5 pieces a day.
This manufacturer also offers a beef-version of their Bonbon treats that is slightly cheaper and is higher in protein. However, for the reason mentioned above, dog owners (particularly those of very small dogs who have lower protein tolerance) may prefer the hare to beef for this very reason. The Hare Bonbons boast nearly 50% more moisture than their beef counterparts, making the hare treats a better option for active dogs that are frequently outdoors.
These are a great treat option for owners of multiple dogs because of the great flexibility of order quantity. You can order as many (or as few) as you’d like. Buy in bulk – up to 999,999 at once, to be precise – or just one if you only want a single sample. Ordering in larger quantities will automatically make you eligible for their bulk discount and is more sustainable, reducing the carbon footprint from packaging and shipping. Another impressively customizable feature is the option to create your own subscription service. Simply choose how many 1oz treats you’d like per delivery, and choose your frequency from 1-8 weeks (you’ll get an extra 5% discount on top of your bulk discount).