I was recently asked if I could recommend (training) treats for tiny dogs or puppies.
But not just any treats!
They would have to be small, not pack a punch, and be healthy. Meaning no grains, fillers, or any artificial components on the ingredient list.
As quite a few of my dog walking and pet sitting clients were small dogs, I definitely have a few recommendations.
While my own three pups are/were medium-large dogs who weigh(ed) 38, 50 and 70 lbs as adults, two of them (Missy & Buzz) came into my life as tiny 8 week old puppies.
Plus, I got to thinking that many of the treats they eagerly perform tricks for are small in size as it is!
The ones that aren’t can easily be broken into tiny pieces because they’re freeze-dried or dehydrated.
Since I only use grain-free treats (& food) without any artificial add-ons, that requirement was met as well.
I CAN recommend dog treats specifically for smaller breeds.
Tip: Their freeze-dried rabbit bites are particularly great for small dogs with allergies and food sensitivities. That’s because rabbit is considered a hypoallergenic protein source. Here’s what’s in the rabbit bites:
Rabbit, Rabbit Liver, Rabbit Kidney, Rabbit Heart, Mixed tocopherols (a preservative)
OK, now here’s what else you’ll find in this blog post:
- More freeze-dried & dehydrated dog treats that make fantastic training treats for all size dogs, including small pups
- The best chew treats for small dogs as well as the best raw meaty bones for small dogs
- How many treats can a small dog have?
- Can small dogs eat big treats?
Ready to find out more? Let’s jump right in!
Best Training Treats for Tiny Dogs
Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated in 2023. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you.
Vital Essentials: Minnows
The minnows are a single ingredient, USA sourced & made, freeze-dried fish treat (82 kcal/oz).
They’re sold in 1oz bags.
Fun fact: I first learned about them at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, FL back in 2016!
Vital Essentials: Nibs
The duck treats consist of ground duck with bone, duck liver, duck gizzard, duck skin, herring oil, and mixed tocopherols (118 kcal/oz).
The beef treats consist of beef, beef lung, beef liver, beef, stomach, beef heart, beef fat, beef kidney, beef blood, herring oil, and mixed tocopherols (128 kcal/oz).
Side note: Tocopherols are a form of vitamin E and act as a natural preservative.
Raw Paws Pet Food: Green Tripe Treats
The green tripe treats are a freeze-dried, single ingredient superfood treat made from USA raised, free range cows (155 kcal/oz).
Tripe is the stomach lining of ruminant animals such as cows, sheep, or goats and chock-full of nutrients and minerals.
Dogs go bonkers for it and it can also be a great incentive to get a picky dog to eat when it’s sprinkled on their regular dog food.
Tip: Save 15% with my affiliate code K9Savings! – Also works on anything else at Raw Paws.
Stinky bonus dogs go nuts for!
If you have a picky, stubborn eater, try topping your pup’s food off with some of these. Another good option are the fish treats I mention next.
Icelandic +: Herring Fish Treats
The herring dog treats are air-dried and wild caught sustainably in Iceland (125 kcal/oz).
…just as Vikings did in 900ad…
That’s how the brand likes to put it, ha!
They’re super rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which are great for a healthy skin and coat.
Fishy bonus dogs go nuts for!
If you have a picky, stubborn eater, try topping your pup’s food off with some of these. Another good option are the green tripe treats I mentioned above.
Ageless Paws: Bison Liver (formerly: Bison Bites)
These bison liver treats are freeze-dried, single ingredient dog treats (112 kcal/oz).
Liver is also known as one of Mother Nature’s multivitamins because it’s rich in a variety of nutrients such as copper and iron, and particularly Vitamin A.
For more information on (raw) liver, check out my blog post Raw Liver for Dogs: All Your Questions Answered.
Wildside: Kangaroo Dog Treats
These Wildside Kangaroo Dog Treats are limited-ingredient, crunchy dog treats that consist of 6 ingredients: Kangaroo, potato, vegetable glycerin, canola oil, apple and natural antioxidants.
Note: I couldn’t find any information on the amount of calories per oz.
I usually prefer single-ingredient dog treats and those without added potato, however the reason why I’m listing these is because they truly are TINY in size.
Some of their Amazon reviews reflect their tiny size, and honestly, they were too tiny for me to re-purchase for my pups.
But if you have a toy breed, these would be perfect!
Nature’s Variety: Instinct Raw Boost Toppers
Nature’s Variety offers these freeze-dried raw boost mixers as food toppers, but they also work GREAT as training treats!
As you can see in the image below, they make great training treats for my treat pouch.
They’re available as beef, chicken and lamb and come in 6oz and 14oz packets (½ cup – 124 calories).
ZiwiPeak: Limited-Ingredient Dog Food
Any Ziwipeak dog food makes phenomenal training treats! Since it’s air-dried and soft, the individual pieces are easy to break up into smaller bites.
The food is available in:
- beef (278 kcal/scoop)
- chicken (284 kcal/scoop)
- lamb (281 kcal/scoop)
- mackerel & lamb (256 kcal/scoop)
- tripe & lamb (278 kcal/scoop)
- venison (264 kcal/scoop)
One downside is their price point, which is why they’re particularly good for small and toy breeds who don’t need as many!
For example, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, pumpkin purée, etc.
Real Dog Treat Box
Real dog has a huge variety of air-dried treats in their treat subscription boxes. There’s also the option to add dog chews.
Their selection varies from month to month, so it doesn’t get boring taste-wise!
You have the option to customize your boxes (only treats, treats + chews, only chews) and specify any food allergies your pup(s) may have.
Since the treats are all air-dried, they’re super easy to break apart for small dogs.
I love that owner Ruby is a raw feeder herself, which is definitely reflected in the meat and fish choices the brand offers!
Bonus: What Are The Best Chew Treats for Small Dogs?
Best Bully Sticks carries bully sticks in a variety of lengths and thicknesses, including smaller ones that work great for small dogs as well as for puppies.
Their thicknesses range from thin to standard, thick, jumbo and braided.
In case you don’t know what bully sticks are – they’re bull penises, aka bull pizzles, and dogs go crazy for them!
Best Bully Sticks only uses the ones from free-range, grass-fed beef.
While bully sticks don’t make good training treats given their size, they’re a great single-ingredient source of protein that’s highly digestible and great for dental health.
Bully sticks are an excellent dog chew for small dogs and puppies because they keep them entertained for a while and also massage the gums – that’s super important in teething puppies.
Side note: If you’re looking into raw feeding your small dog or puppy, I highly recommend raw meaty bones!
They’re great for dental health, they exercise your pup’s jaws and are a great source of calcium and phosphorus.
The best raw meaty bones for your small dog or puppy are on the smaller side and include:
- Chicken wings/necks and feet
- Duck feet and wings/necks. You’ll have to cut the wings and necks in halves or thirds as they’re larger than their chicken counterparts.
Check out my blog post How to Feed Your Small Dog Raw Dog Food for more raw dog food information.
How Many Treats Can a Small Dog Have?
Your small dog can have up to 10% of his or her daily caloric intake in treats.
You can also check the treat packaging for feeding advice, but it’s usually a bit on the higher side. From a business perspective, it makes sense – after all, treat suppliers want to make money, too.
Which is fair as we all have bills to pay!
But in order to avoid overfeeding your pup, it’s a good idea to take their feeding advice with a grain of salt and feed less than the suggested amount.
Alternatively, you can also reduce their food allowance come meal time.
Can Small Dogs Eat Big Treats?
Technically speaking, they can.
However, treats can very quickly pack on the pounds, so it’s important to watch your small dog’s caloric intake.
Obviously, the easiest way to feed your small pup big treats is to break them up into smaller bites.
If you’re offering larger dog chews, you can take them away after they’ve chewed on them for a while.
For example, you could let them chew for 10-15 minutes and then put them up until the next day, then repeat.
Bully sticks are a prime example for this, especially larger ones!
Healthy Treats for Tiny Dogs & Puppies: Bottom Line
We were able to cover a variety of dog (training) treats suitable for dogs of all sizes with an emphasis on training treats for small dogs and puppies.
That’s because their dehydrated & freeze-dried texture makes it easy to break them into smaller pieces.
One exception to this are bully sticks, but they’re available in a variety of sizes, including 2-4″ Junior ones!
My pups Wally, Missy & Buzz enjoy diversity in their treats and I like to keep them guessing what Mommy will hand out next.
That’s why I listed dog treats made of beef, bison, duck, chicken, lamb, kangaroo, venison, minnows and herring.
Do your (tiny) dogs or puppies have a favorite training treat? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!
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