Puppy being trained with a treat as a reward

The Best Dog Treats Australia -
Healthy Training Rewards

Our #1 Pick

The Best Value for Money

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

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?

Our Best Dog Treats Australia guide will help you figure it out.


How to Choose the Best Treats for Your Dog

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.

If you want to know more about dog food in general, head over to this page.

Function

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.

Training Rewards

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 a lot to teach them to be on their best 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.

Long-Lasting Treats

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 be careful about that.

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.

Dental Chews

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.

Size

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.

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 appetizing but also healthy?

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.

Preservatives

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.


Best Dog Treats Australia: The 2021 Top List

There is truly a lot to choose from when looking for dog treats online.

#1: Best Overall: Ziwi Peak Good Dog Rewards

What sets this product apart from the rest?

  • Almost pure meat
  • No fillers
  • No artificial flavours and colours
  • Highly nutritious
  • Small pieces are perfect for training
  • Suitable for dogs of all ages

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 high-quality ethically sourced products go in there.

The treats come in 3 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 like it.

Meat is the basis of the canine diet, so we don’t need to explain why the contents of these treats are awesome. As a plus, each recipe contains only a single protein which is perfect for dogs with food sensitivities that need to avoid certain meats.

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.

Verified Review - 4/01/2020
Beautiful Coat and Healthy
"Absolutely love the entire range, it is pricey but we have seen an improvement in his fur (it's shiny now) so it is worth it."

Pros

Cons

  • Almost pure meat
  • More expensive than some other options
  • No fillers
  • List Element
  • No artificial flavours and colours
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  • Highly nutritious
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  • Small pieces are perfect for training
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  • Suitable for dogs of all ages
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#2: Best Treats for Puppies: Love Em Beef Liver Treats

  • 100% beef liver
  • Made and sourced in Australia
  • Good value for money
  • No additives

Loe 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 dogs seem to love these liver bits too.

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. This makes these treats perfect for dogs of all ages, but especially great for puppies who need lots of protein to grow into healthy adults.

Verified Review - 27/11/2020
Great Price
"My dog loves these. Great price if you set for reorder. I have this set for every two months."

Pros

Cons

  • 100% beef liver
  • Individual pieces could be too large for some puppies
  • Made and sourced in Australia
  • List Element
  • Good value for money
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  • No additives
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#3: Best Dog Training Treats: Absolute Holistic Air Dried Dog Treats

  • Top-notch ingredients
  • Gently air-dried to preserve nutritional value
  • Small individual treats are perfect for training

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. 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.

And even if your canine companion is really picky, 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 mead (more than 90%), and the rest is made from healthy and carefully selected additions. 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.

Pros

Cons

  • Top-notch ingredients
  • A bit expensive
  • Gently air-dried to preserve nutritional value
  • No single protein options
  • Small individual treats are perfect for training
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  • Rich in protein
  • Made in Australia
  • Quality ingredients
  • Easy to feed

When we talk about dog treats, most of us think of biscuits first. After all, bikkies are the most convenient treats to carry around and feed as needed. 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. Usually, they are 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?

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 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. 

Pros

Cons

  • Rich in protein
  • Contains small amounts of added sugars
  • Made in Australia
  • Contains wheat
  • Quality ingredients
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  • Easy to feed
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#5: Best Dental Chews: Greenies Original Dental Dog Treat

  • Helps keep teeth clean and healthy
  • Controls plaque and tartar buildup
  • Comes in different sizes to suit any dog
  • Easy to digest

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, 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.

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.

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 a good choice if you are looking for a treat that will help keep your pooch’s teeth healthy and clean and their breath smelling 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.

Verified Review - 21/02/2021
Our Dog Loves Them But Some Do Not
"I found that the Greenies are the best treat for our dog's dental care .She seems to enjoy them as well as improving her teeth and breath .We have family and friends dogs stay over sometimes and surprisingly not all of them like the Greenies .So buy a small quantity first and find out before buying the large quantity value packs."

Pros

Cons

  • Helps keep teeth clean and healthy
  • Contains additives (although not harmful)
  • Controls plaque and tartar buildup
  • Larger dogs might chew them up quite quickly
  • Comes in different sizes to suit any dog
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  • Easy to digest
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#6: Best Long-Lasting Dog Treat: Ziwi Peak Deer Shank

  • Simply a dry deer shank
  • No additives
  • Natural long-lasting treat
  • Compatible with BARF and raw diets

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.

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.

This is also one of the best healthy puppies treats you can find - perfect for teething puppies.

Verified Review - 4/02/2021
Expensive But Worth It
"My Finnish Lapphund absolutely LOVES these!! They’re expensive but my pet warehouse always has the best price and watching my girl enjoy these more than anything else is totally worth it!"

Pros

Cons

  • Simply a dry deer shank
  • This will keep your dog busy but it’s not a training treat
  • No additives
  • Pricey
  • Natural long-lasting treat
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  • Compatible with BARF and raw diets
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#7: Best Treat for Joint Issues: Blackdog Shark Cartilage

  • Pure shark cartilage
  • Ethically sourced shark
  • Supports joint health
  • Made in Australia

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. The skeletons of sharks 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 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.

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.

Verified Review - 4/03/2021
Good Quality Treat For Dogs With Joint Problems
"Our dog loves this, smell is disgusting but if it helps her joints then we will be putting up with the smell."

Pros

Cons

  • Pure shark cartilage
  • The smell can be quite overpowering
  • Ethically sourced shark
  • List Element
  • Supports joint health
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  • Made in Australia
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#8: Long-Lasting And Locally Sourced: Balanced Life Kangaroo Tail Treat

  • 100% air dried raw kangaroo tail
  • Compatible with raw diets, BARF, PMR
  • A perfectly natural and healthy treat
  • No additives
  • Long lasting

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. Come from free-range kangaroos, caught and produced right here in Australia.

These kinds of treats are great to keep the 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.

Pros

Cons

  • 100% air dried raw kangaroo tail
  • Not an everyday treat
  • Compatible with raw diets, BARF, PMR
  • Not suitable for training
  • A perfectly natural and healthy treat
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  • No additives
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  • Long lasting
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Healthy Dog Treats: 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, we 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?

FAQ

What are the best treats for dogs?

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.

What dog treats should I avoid?

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.

How many treats should my dog eat per day?

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.

References
  1. Coates, J. December 7, 2012. “The Pros and Cons of Preservatives in Dog Foods. PetMD. Retrieved July 4, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/jcoates/2012/dec/natural-artificial-preservatives-in-dog-foods-29523
  2. “Green-Lipped Mussel Supplements: All You Need to Know”. Healthline. Retrieved July 4, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/green-lipped-mussel#anti-inflammatory-effects
  3. Agustin, T.I., Sulistyowati, W., Arbai, A. and Yatmasari, E., 2015. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate content of shark cartilage (Prionace glauca) and its potential as anti-aging supplements. International Journal of ChemTech Research.
  4. Burke, A. January 11, 2018. “How Many Treats Can Your Dog Really Have?”. AKC. Retrieved July 4, 2021. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/how-many-treats-can-dog-have/
Vedrana Nikolic

Vedrana Nikolić is a professional writer, anthropologist & dog lover with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Semiotics studying the communication between animals and humans. Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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