The 8 Best Dog Treats Australia: Tested & Evaluated 2023
The question of dog treats inevitably arises in the life of every pet parent. After all, rewards are an indispensable part of positive reinforcement training. And besides, being able to offer a treat to your dog is just a great opportunity for bonding.
But what kind of treats should you feed your dog? Is there such a thing as healthy dog treats or is it all junk food? We have all the answers you need ahead! We teamed up with veterinarians, canine nutritionists and behaviourists alike to form a team of independent experts. After several weeks and dozens upon dozens of dog treats, we were finally able to agree to this list of the best dog treats Australia offers your pooch.
Along with determining the healthiest training treats, we also dive into what to look for whenever you're buying new treats for your dog. Let's check it out.
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
Ziwi Peak Good Dog Rewards
- Almost pure meat
- No fillers
- No artificial flavours and colours
- Highly nutritious
- Small pieces are perfect for training
- Suitable for dogs of all ages
Runner Up -
Love Em Beef Liver Treats
- 100% beef liver
- Made and sourced in Australia
- Good value for money
- No additives
Third Choice -
Absolute Holistic Air Dried Dog Treats
- Top-notch ingredients
- Gently air-dried to preserve nutritional value
- Small individual treats are perfect for training
Australia's Best Dog Treats Australia Reviewed
Ready to check out the best dog treats Australia has on offer? These are the canine snacks that our dogs loved and that are handpicked by our panel of independent experts. There is truly a lot to choose from when looking for dog treats online.
What sets this product apart from the rest?
We already know and often recommend Ziwi Peak for their amazing line of air-dried dog food, but today we are here to talk about their dog treats. These treats are made on the same principle as all of the Ziwi products: only with high-quality ethically sourced products.
The treats come in three flavours: beef, lamb, or venison. In each case, the treats are made of 96% meat and organs sustainably sourced in New Zealand and 3% New Zealand green-lipped mussels. The result? A treat that’s almost 50% protein. Just the way canines (and us vigilant pet parents) like it.
The Ziwi Peak Good Dog Rewards being tested by our independent expert team.
Meat is the basis of the canine diet, so our experts don’t need to explain why the contents of these treats are awesome. As a plus, each recipe contains only a single protein, like our number two option ahead, which is perfect for dogs with food sensitivities that need to avoid certain meats, like how I have to do in my dog-filled household.
The New Zealand green-lipped mussel is a superfood (good for humans and canines too). It’s rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, has anti-inflammatory properties, and supports joint health (2).
All of this is gently air-dried and packed in the form of small bites which are perfect for training. If your dog is on the smaller side, you might still want to be mindful about how many treats you feed per day. These are quite nutritious, so you don’t want to make your dog overweight.
Love Em is an Australian company focused on making healthy options when it comes to treats for dogs. Their signature product is liver treats. Veterinarian Dr. Marie Rowe started developing these healthy treats in 1997 as a response to the demand of pet parents for healthy options when it comes to dog treats.
The Love Em Beef Liver Treats are as simple as possible - and that’s a good thing. They are made of air-dried beef liver. That’s it. There are no other ingredients. No fillers, no colours, no preservatives. And my dog, as well as the dogs of our panel of independent experts, seemed to love these liver bites too.
The Love Em Beef Liver Treats being tested by our independent expert team.
The beef liver used for these treats comes from Australia, and it's naturally packed with iron, zinc, and vitamin A. Since they are made from only beef liver, these treats contain around 60% protein and only 13% fat, which is even higher than our number one choice by Ziwi Peak.
While we think this makes these treats perfect for dogs of all ages, they're especially great for puppies who need lots of protein to grow into healthy adults.
Absolute Holistic is another line of premium dog food that also includes treats. The air-dried treats from this line are real goodies that every dog and pet parent will love.
These rewards come conveniently chopped up into small individual pieces which makes them perfect to use as training rewards. Of course, this is not that unique. You can find plenty of dog training treats on the market, but these are also made only of top-quality ingredients. Like Love Em, they don’t include any artificial flavourings or colours - and they don’t need to. Pretty much every dog will love these treats simply because they are made only of good things.
The Absolute Holistic Air Dried Dog Treats being tested by our independent expert team.
And even if your canine companion is really picky (like one of my puppers!), there will probably be something for them in the Absolute Holistic Air Dried Dog Treats Line. The line includes a variety of flavours and mixes. The options include:
- Grand Prairie (hoki & chicken)
- Oceanic Farm (mackerel & lamb)
- Red Meat (venison & beef)
- Butcher Medley (beef & hoki)
- Lamb Confit (lamb & duck)
One of these awesome combos ought to fit even the pickiest doggos. If you want to spoil your pet with treats, this is the way to go.
The treats themselves are made mostly from New-Zealand-sourced meat (more than 90%), and the rest is made from healthy and carefully selected additions. Our team of independent experts love that these include green-lipped mussels and flaxseed for joint health, parsley that helps freshen the breath, and chicory to aid digestion.
Overall, it’s a great treat for dogs of all ages.
When we talk about dog treats, most of us think of biscuits first. After all, bikkies are the most convenient treats to carry around. They work for large dogs and small dogs - just break them up as needed.
However, the main problem with dog biscuits (especially the biggest and most common brands) is that they are not very nutritious. In fact, as our team of independent experts point out, they are usually made with lots of white flour (just like human biscuits) and added flavours and colours to make them more appealing to dogs. But that’s not really what we want for our canine companions, right?
The SavourLife Australian Kangaroo Biscuits being tested by our independent expert team.
Well, these biscuits from SavourLife are one potential solution. While they do contain wheat (that’s what makes a biscuit, basically), they also contain real Australian kangaroo combined with other wholesome ingredients like eggs and linseed.
It’s the healthier version of the classic dog biscuit, and I also love how you’ll be giving your money to a company that donates part of its profits to pet rescues. If your pooch doesn’t like this flavour, you could also check out what else SavourLife has to offer. Their line of dog treats is quite extensive and contains biscuits in different flavours as well as a variety of other treats.
Giving a dog a treat is always fun. Most canines can’t seem to get enough of tasty treats, and for us, it’s a great bonding opportunity. However, as our panel of independent experts want to remind you, feeding too many treats is not always healthy.
Well, with Greenies Dental Dog Treats you get to reward your dog and treat them into better dental health too. Greenies are treats designed to help clean your dog’s teeth and support their dental health. The texture and the composition of the treat gently clean your pooch’s teeth and gum line and also help prevent future build-up of plaque and tartar.
The Greenies Original Dental Dog Treat being tested by our independent expert team.
For these treats to work, they should be the right size though. If you feed a treat that is too small to a larger dog, they might end up swallowing it quite quickly which beats the purpose of a dental treat. Luckily, Greenies has thought of that, so their dental treats come in a variety of sizes. Ranging from 'Teenie' (suitable for dogs 2 kg - 7 kg) to 'Large' (suitable for dogs 22 kg - 45 kg), so you can easily find the right size treat for your pup.
What makes Greenies some of the best dental treats we encountered is also the fact that dogs seem to find them tasty which is not always the case with treats designed to clean the teeth. As a plus, they are also enriched with vitamins and minerals to help support your dog’s overall health.
Greenies are my favourite choice when I'm looking for a treat that will help keep my pooch’s teeth healthy whilst cleaning and helping their breath smell fresh. However, keep in mind that these are probably not the only treats you want to have around since it is recommended to only feed Greenies to dogs once a day at most.
If you’ve chosen to keep your dog on the BARF diet or PMR diet, or if you’re simply trying to keep their diet as natural as possible, you might be struggling to find suitable treats. Widely available dog treats and chews are usually full of processed ingredients and don’t come even close to the prey a dog could eat in the wild. On the other hand, pure meat is not always an option as it does not have a very long shelf life.
Well, Ziwi’s got a solution for you. This dried deer shank is one of the best natural treats we’ve encountered in a long while. Sure, pig ears and beef tendons are also an option, but this really brings the chewing game to the next level.
The Ziwi Peak Deer Shank being tested by our independent expert team.
Ziwi Peak took a deer shank bone, wrapped it in beef esophagus and then dried all of this naturally to keep the nutritional value but extend the shelf life. The treat will not only keep your dog busy with chewing for a long time, but it will also provide a nutritious addition to their diet.
This goodness does come at a price, but it's well worth it considering the quality of ingredients that Ziwi Peak uses, like with the treats in our number one slot.
This is also one of the best healthy puppies treats you can find - perfect for teething puppies.
If you are looking for healthy treats for dogs, your best bet is always to go with something natural. There are lots of simple natural ingredients that can act as treats - and shark cartilage is among our favourites.
These treats from Blackdog are simply conveniently sized strips of shark cartilage. Our team of experts point out that shark skeletons are not made of bones, but cartilage. This cartilage is very rich in calcium, glucosamine, and chondroitin which all have benefits for dogs (3). Shark cartilage is one of the best ways to support joint health in dogs and to ease the pain caused by arthritis.
That’s what makes these cartilage treats the perfect choice for senior dogs like mine and those suffering from any kind of problems with the joint. However, any dog can and will happily chew on those. Due to the texture, shark cartilage also helps keep the dog’s teeth clean in a natural way.
The Blackdog Shark Cartilage being tested by our independent expert team.
Related: Shark Cartilage Fog Dogs
You can find shark cartilage treats made by various manufacturers, but we chose Blackdog because their products are made in Australia. Also, they source their cartilage from sharks that have already been caught for human consumption. No sharks suffer specifically for these treats.
Here is another example of perfectly natural dog treats. Making chewing treats that will keep dogs amused is not rocket science. One just needs to cleverly use ingredients that are available around us - and that’s exactly what Balanced Life did to make this kangaroo tail treat.
The main advantage of this treat is that there are no suspicious ingredients you need to worry about. It’s simply an air-dried piece of kangaroo tail, from free-range kangaroos, caught and produced right here in Australia. In that sense, it's similar to our number two and number six choices.
The Balanced Life Kangaroo Tail Treat being tested by our independent expert team.
These kinds of treats are great to keep your dog occupied. The chewy texture satisfies the primordial need to gnaw on something that many canines have, and it helps keep their teeth clean in a natural way.
What To Consider When Choosing Dog Treats
What is the best treat for your dog? If we want to get the answer right, there is a lot to consider. And besides, no treat is perfect for every occasion.
Below is a guide that covers everything you need to know to decide which type of treat is right for your dog, as suggested by our panel of independent experts.
Related: The Best Dog Food Australia.
Related: How To Choose The Right Dog Food?
Related: How Is Australia’s Dog Food Industry Regulated?
Related: What is AAFCO? The Association of American Feed Control Officials.
Related: What Is the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)?
Related: AAFCO vs PFIAA: Dog Food Standards Comparison Australia.
Related: Understanding Guaranteed Analysis Levels in Dog Food.
Related: Real Meat vs Meat Meal.
First of all, we need to think about what we want the treat to do. As you might have noticed, dog treats come in different shapes and sizes and not all of them are designed to do the same thing.
This is your most basic kind of dog treat. Different reasons might fall into this category too. First of all, there are soft dog treats that come in individual small pieces that are designed specifically for positive reinforcement training.
Especially when your dog is young, you might want to use treats frequently to teach them positive behaviour. In such cases, you want the treats to be small enough that you can feed many of them during the day. A soft texture is also helpful because chewing on the treat doesn’t distract the dog.
On the other hand, dog biscuits and treats in various forms where you can break off a suitable piece can also function as rewards. Not just for training, all of these can also be used as an additional snack for your dog.
This category also includes a lot of different options, but these treats are entirely different from training treats and quick snacks. By long-lasting treats, we mean something your dog can chew on for a long time.
Traditionally, these would be bones, but many bones present a choking hazard for dogs if small pieces break off. That’s not to say that dogs shouldn't be fed bones, but you should remain careful.
Today, you have plenty of options besides bones. Beef tendons, pigs ears, rawhide in various shapes, beef hooves, deer antlers, kangaroo tail or shark cartilage… are only some of the options you can choose from if you want a natural and long-lasting chewing treat that is not a bone.
These treats have many benefits. They will keep the dog occupied, prevent boredom, help with teething in puppies, and help naturally promote canine dental health.
Another common type of dog treat is those designed to clean the teeth. Why many natural long-lasting chews can help with this, chews designed especially for teeth cleaning do a better job and can also help freshen the breath.
According to our team of experts, the size of the treat is especially important. There are no universal treat sizing rules, but you should take your dog’s size and preferences into account. What might be a tiny training treat for a large dog could also be quite a big snack for a tiny dog.
Some manufacturers offer their treats in different sizes exactly for this reason, so keep an eye out for that.
Ingredients & Nutrition
As you probably know, dog food production is not heavily regulated in Australia. Especially when it comes to treats, manufacturers don’t really have to follow any guidelines. This is why, if you look at some recognisable brand name treats, you’ll find they are mostly made out of wheat and additives.
Related: Are Dog Treats Healthy?
While an occasional treat like that won’t hurt your dog, there are plenty of better options. As you will see on our list below, there are many companies that focus on making healthy treats. And why feed your dog junk food when they can have rewards that are not only appetising but also healthy?
Related: Help! My Dog Won't Eat Their Food But Will Eat Treats
If you are looking for the best possible treats for your dog, you should look for those that are high in protein. Just like with dog food, look for wholesome ingredients you can identify. Some treats are even enriched with additional sources of vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Talking about healthy ingredients and unhealthy additives, what about preservatives? Can they be avoided in treats? The truth is, not always. If you want treats with lots of meat and a long shelf life, this requires some sort of preservatives. However, the effect is still possible to achieve in a natural way:
“Adding natural substances such as vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and plant extracts (e.g., rosemary) to dry dog food can also prevent fats from becoming rancid. Unfortunately, natural preservatives are effective for shorter periods of time than are artificial preservatives, which means naturally preserved foods tend to have a shorter shelf life.” - Jennifer Coates, DVM, PetMD
‘Mixed tocopherols’ is an especially common ingredient in healthier dog treats. Although it sounds scary, it’s nothing to worry about, as you can see. It’s there to keep the treats from spoiling for a longer time.
My Final Thoughts
What are the best treats for your dog? As we mentioned in the beginning, it will depend on the function you want the treat to fulfil.
However, when it comes to universal treats for everyday use, our team of independent experts highly recommend the Ziwi Peak Good Dog Reward. They are conveniently packed, made with top-quality ingredients, and every dog seems to love them.
What more could one ask for from a dog treat?
There is no simple answer to this question. The best treats for your dog will be those that are nutritionally balanced and fit the needs of your dog in terms of size and shape. Treats that are high in protein and made of wholesome natural ingredients are usually the best.
Again, this will depend on the specific needs of your dog. However, it’s always a good idea to avoid treats that contain mostly white flour as well as those that contain lots of sugar, salt, and flavour enhancers. None of those ingredients are especially good for dogs, although they are fine in small amounts.
The most common recommendation is that treats should make up 10 per cent of a dog's diet at most (4). If you want to be very precise you can calculate the exact number of calories your dog eats per day. By checking the calorie content of the treat you are feeding (it’s always on the package) you could calculate exactly how many it is ok to feed to your dog daily. Alternatively, you can just wing it. Just try to make it approximately 10% of what your dog eats and monitor your pet’s weight.
- Coates, J. December 7, 2012. “The Pros and Cons of Preservatives in Dog Foods. PetMD. Retrieved September 24, 2023. https://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/jcoates/2012/dec/natural-artificial-preservatives-in-dog-foods-29523
- Van De Walle, G. February 1, 2021. “Green-Lipped Mussel Supplements: All You Need to Know”. Healthline. Retrieved September 24, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/green-lipped-mussel#anti-inflammatory-effects
- Sulistyowati, W. et al (2015). "Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate content of shark cartilage (Prionace glauca) and its potential as anti-aging supplements". International Journal of ChemTech Research, Vol 8, No 10, pp 163-168. https://sphinxsai.com/2015/ch_vol8_no10/1/(163-168)V8N10CT.pdf
- Burke, A. February 7, 2023. “How Many Treats Can Your Dog Really Have?”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved September 24, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/how-many-treats-can-dog-have/