What are the Best Pet Treats? [2020]

LAST UPDATED 25 JUNE 2020

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Carla Paszkowski, BVSC (Hons)

Which treat does your furry friend need? Perhaps your cat has bad breath, or your dog has a tummy issue, or maybe your furry friend just needs something long lasting to keep them occupied and out of mischief?

There are so many treats available for pets these days - our pets really are spoiled for choice! From dental treats to anxiety-soothing chews you might be surprised how much a 'treat' can truly benefit your pet.

Contents

The best DENTAL treats

The best TRAINING REWARD treats

The best OCCUPYING and BOREDOM BUSTING treats

The best LOW FAT treats

The best ANXIETY-SOOTHING treats

The best JOINT CARE treats

Dental Care Treats

Dental chews are indicated for any cat or dog, as most will suffer some degree of dental disease throughout their life. Great dental treats for cats include Greenies, and for dogs we can't go past the plant-based Whimzees.

Dental chews work by acting almost like a toothbrush: the action of chewing and grinding the teeth against a hard surface mechanically removes plaque and tartar. The longer your dog chews and grinds their teeth on the treat, the better the dental care. However, this does mean that treats that are swallowed quickly have no real dental benefit.

If your dog tends to chew extremely quickly and scoffs down dental chews, you might like to give them a longer-lasting treat. Products like Nature's Cuts Goathorn, Blackdog Roo Clods, or Kazoo Dental Bones are all long lasting and will keep your pup occupied for hours.

Winners: Top Dental Treats for Cats and Dogs

Greenies Dog Treats

These dental chews are made from highly digestible, balanced ingredients, fortified with added vitamins, minerals, taurine and chlorophyll. Greenies Dog Chews have a chewy and flexible texture and are shaped like a toothbrush for extra fun.

Whimzees Hedgehogs Dog Treats

Whimzees Hedgehog treats are all-natural, plant-based, and wheat and gluten-free. These highly digestible chews contain no artificial colours and help keep your pooch’s breath fresher by helping to reduce tartar and plaque build up as they chew.

Purina Dentalife Cat Treats

Dentalife Cat Treats contain a unique, porous texture which is scientifically designed to surround the tooth and clean as they chew. This makes for an easy, enjoyable way to control tartar buildup.

Greenies Cat Treats

Feline Greenies are known for being highly palatable. They contain natural oat fibre to mechanically clean your cat’s teeth, removing plaque and tartar as they chew.

Training Reward Treats

Whether you're teaching a puppy some basic commands, or training your cat how to walk on a lead, it's always a good idea to have some training treats on hand.

The ideal training treat should be highly palatable, small - or able to be broken into small pieces - and easy to transport. For dogs, liver and jerky treats can be very effective. For cats, liquid pate-style treat tubes work incredibly well as cats seem to love the unique texture!

Winners: Top Training Treats for Cats and Dogs

Pure Treat Co Dog Treats

With fresh, 100% Australian meat as the first ingredient, these 'strap' shaped dog treats are delicious and can be broken up into small pieces with ease.

Savourlife Dog Treats

Savourlife dog treats can easily break into small pieces. Plus, 50% of all profits donated to pet rescue groups, helping them to save and re-home abandoned dogs.

Applaws Puree

The ultimate in tasty treats for cats, Applaws Puree is 100% natural with tasty salmon and no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.

Feline Natural Cat Treats

Feline Natural cat treats are a nutritious, protein packed treat formulated with all natural, premium ingredients. All lamb is sourced from New Zealand.

Occupying Treats

Occupying treats are great for keeping your pet amused, stimulated and out of mischief when they're alone. As an extra bonus, occupier treats also tend to be be great for your pet's teeth!

For most dogs, the best treats to keep them occupied as long as possible are those that either contain bone, dried offcuts, or anything tough and chewy. Great examples include the Nature's Cuts range with items like Beef Ears and Goat Horn, or the range from Wag which contains popular items like Dear Antler.

Nature's Cuts is a trusted Australian brand that produces genuinely natural treats, free from any artificial additives. Their treats are even made right here in Australia from local ingredients.

Treats are also available that can be placed within a toy to provide long lasting, entertaining fun. The range from Kong are designed to be stuffed with treats and keep your pet chewing for hours.

For cats, long lasting chews like bones or antlers don't tend to interest them as much. For the purpose of keeping your kitty occupied, we recommend products like an Interactive Feeder or an Automated Toy. Alternatively, you might like to create a treasure hunt for your kitty by scattering their breakfast kibble over the house and encouraging them to 'hunt' for their food.

Winners: Top Occupying Treats for Cats and Dogs

Natures Cuts Goat Horn

Goat horn might sound strange, but this long-lasting, low-odour natural chew will have your pup gnawing for hours.

WAG Whole Dear Antler

Wag make dog treats that are delicious, nutritious, and 100% natural treats to suit dogs of all breeds and life stages.

Catit Interactive Food Maze

Treat time becomes play time with Catit’s Cat Senses Food Maze – a unique way to keep your cat motivated and active, and for you to keep track of how much they eat.

Rufus and Coco Cat Treats

These natural dried morsels are made from crunchy and delicious whole dried fish.

Low Fat Treats

With many pets suffering from sensitive stomach issues such as Pancreatitis, low fat treats are a welcome addition to the market. A low fat treat is the typical recommendation for any dog with a sensitive stomach or pancreas, and may also be ideal for overweight pets (but keep in mind that 'low fat' doesn't always mean 'low calorie!').

While most commercially available treats are considered too rich for a sensitive tummy or tubby pet, fortunately there are some options available. Your pet certainly doesn't have to miss out on tasty treats just because of their medical or dietary requirements!

The best trick is to source a vegetarian treat. Vegetarian treats are naturally low in fat, particularly animal fats (which commonly set off the pancreas or a sensitive stomach!). Fruit such as apple, strawberries, or pear make excellent healthy treats; as do vegetables such as carrots, peas, or corn.

Winners: Top Low Fat Treats for Cats and Dogs

Whimzees Dog Treats

With a fat content of just 2%, plant-based Whimzees are an excellent option for dogs prone to weight gain and pancreatitis. These highly digestible chews contain no artificial colours and help keep your pooch’s breath fresher by helping to reduce tartar and plaque build up as they chew.

Royal Canin Educ Dog Treats

At just 1% fat, these low calorie treats are the perfect option for rewarding your sensitive stomach or overweight pup. They are highly palatable and can be fed to both puppies and adult dogs.

Vetalogica Skin Daily Cat Treats

Designed for cats with sensitive skin, these treats may also benefit cats with a touchy tummy. These treats are delicious tasting, with real australian chicken and duck meat, and contain no grains or artificial nasties.

Balanced Life Kangaroo

These treats are high in protein (44%) and low in fat (2.5%), with a large content of kangaroo meat, organs, and bone. They are grain free and incredibly palatable.

Anxiety Calming Treats

A serious condition and more common than you would think, anxiety affects pet dogs and cats of all breeds and sizes. One out of every six dogs may suffer from canine separation anxiety, noise phobia (including thunderstorm phobia) or general hyperactivity secondary to nervousness. Cats are also very prone to anxiety and it can present in a number of different ways - from urinary marking, to overgrooming, to hyperactivity at night. In fact, almost any problem behaviour may be caused by or exacerbated by stress.

While proper training and household adjustments should be the mainstay of managing anxiety in pets, calming treats are an excellent way to help the process along. The best part is that your pet will merely think they're being treated to a tasty morsel - little will they know that this 'treat' is actually a 'treatment!'

Most calming treats are infused with either a neutraceutical compound such as tryptophan, or herbal extract such as hemp or chamomile.

What is Tryptophan? Tryptophan, also known as L-tryptophan, is a precursor to serotonin (the 'happy hormone'). Similar to the effects of an antidepressant, Tryptophan reduces stress. It has been demonstrated to help dogs with territorial aggression, dominance aggression, or general anxiety caused by travel or separation from owners. Tryptophan is used in many stress-soothing treats, and it is also included in some anxiety diets such as Hills Prescription Diet Urinary Stress and Royal Canin Calm.

Winners: Top Anxiety Treats for Cats and Dogs

Paw Blackmores Complete Calm Dog Chews

PAW Blackmore’s Complete Calm Chews are formulated with tryptophan, B vitamins and a blend of multivitamins and nutrients to support the general health and nervous function of dogs.

Vitalitae Calming Dog Treats

These all-natural biscuit treats contain hemp seed oil, a chamomile blend, and L-Tryptophan. They are the perfect option for relieving stress in nervous pooches.

Tranquil Formula for Cats

Tranquil Formula for Cats works by delivering natural ingredients plus Tryptophan and B group vitamins to maintain an ideal emotional balance in stressed kitties.

Vetalogica Hemp Calming Cat Treats

With organic hemp, chamomile and L-tryptophan, these non-intoxicating treats can be used to reduce stress. With real fish and sweet potato, they are completely grain free and natural.

Joint Care Treats

Although arthritis is one of the most common health conditions we see in dogs and cats as they age, the good news is that there are plenty of products you can use at home to help ease those aches and pains. It might surprise you to hear that proven joint care compounds are available in the form of a tasty treat.

What nutraceutical compounds can promote healthy joints? Arthritis supplements for cats and dogs most commonly contain one or more of the following nutrients:

1. Omega fatty acids - the omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA have been demonstrated to have anti inflammatory properties, and as far as supplements for arthritis go, they are backed by the most convincing evidence. Omega 3s can be obtained from lots of difference sources including fish oil, green lipped mussel powder, flaxseeds and nuts, marine sources of omega fatty acids (such as fish, fish oil and green lipped mussel) are the most effective for dogs.

2. Glucosamine and chondroitin - glucosamine and chondroitin are the building blocks of normal healthy cartilage and provide essential joint nutrients to help protect, nourish and repair cartilage. Products containing glucosamine and chondroitin are usually harvested from sea mollusks. Despite a lack of strong evidence in the veterinary literature, some veterinarians and owners have found supplementation to be helpful. With minimal side effects compared to some of the common pain relief medications, they are a good option for mild cases and to use alongside other therapies.

Winners: Top Joint Care Treats for Cats and Dogs

Glyde Mobility Chews for Dogs

Glyde Mobility Chews are highly palatable supplement treats proven to improve joint health. Made with New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel, Glucosamine, and Condroitin, to help relieve the painful signs of arthritis.

PAW Osteocare Joint Health Chews for Dogs

PAW Blackmores Osteocare Chews are tasty kangaroo flavoured chews that help to support your dogs joint health. These chews contain glucosamine and chondroitin which are naturally found in joint fluid and cartilage.

Vitarapid Joint Care for Cats

VitaRapid Joint Care for Cats works by delivering essential vitamins and minerals that help maintain healthy bones and joints.

Vetalogica Hemp Clinicals Hip and Joint for Cats

With organic hemp, glucosamine and chondroitin, these non-intoxicating treats can be used to promote joint care in cats prone to arthritis.

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