Best training treats for tiny dogs and puppies

Best Training Treats for Tiny Dogs or Puppies

Training treats are great for all size pups. But recently, I was specifically asked if I could recommend (training) treats for small dog breeds or puppies.

Like teacup dog breeds, Brussels Griffons and Shih Tzus.

But here’s a caveat – they couldn’t be just any treats!

They would have to be small pieces, not pack a punch, be healthy and be useable for training sessions.

Plus they shouldn’t have any 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.

Puppies Missy and Buzz in their crate
Puppies Missy & Buzz in their crate

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. 

Also, I’m happy to say that you can often get great deals on dog treats for your smaller pooch – just make sure you go through a reputable retailer such as PetLab Co. 

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

Best training treats for tiny dogs and puppies

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated in 2024. 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 and you can easily break them into small pieces.

Fun fact: I first learned about them at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, FL back in 2016!

Showing The Size Of Vitals Essentials Freeze-Dried Minnows
On my list of best single-ingredient dog treats: Minnows by Vital Essentials
Missy with Vital Essentials’ Minnows
Freeze-Dried Wild-Caught Minnows From Vital Essentials
Minnows banner at the Global Pet Expo in 2016
Press pass for the Global Pet Expo in 2016
My press pass for the Global Pet Expo in 2016

Vital Essentials: Nibs

The nibs are tiny pieces of USA sourced & made freeze-dried duck and beef

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.

Vital Essentials Turkey & Duck Nibs
Missy Waiting Patiently To Dig Into Her Freeze-Dried Turkey & Duck Nibs From Vital Essentials
Missy with her nibs

Raw Paws Pet Food: Green Tripe Dog 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 soft treats. Another good option are the fish treats I mention next.

Raw Paws Pet Food Freeze-Dried Beef Green Tripe is on my list of best single-ingredient treats for dogs
Raw Paws Pet Food Freeze-Dried Beef Green Tripe Treats

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.

Icelandic Herring single-ingredient treats for dogs
Wally with his Icelandic + Herring Dog Treats

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.

Bison liver treats for small dogs
Client pups Lila & Rocky with their Bison liver treats

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!

Wildside Kangaroo dog treats

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).

Freeze-dried raw boost lamb mixers make great treats for tiny dogs
Using an airtight storage container to keep my dog treats fresh
Storing my dog treats in an airtight pet food storage container

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 dog breeds and teacup dog breeds who don’t need as many!

I also like to mix them with other foods to make fillers for Kong dog toys or similar dog food puzzles. They’re also available in a smaller Kong puppy size.

For example, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, pumpkin purée, peanut butter, etc.

Air-dried raw dog food Ziwipeak

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 into small pieces 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!

Tip: Check out what she had to say in my blog post 5 established raw feeders offer advice for beginners.

Real Dog's treats and chews made it on my holiday gift guide for raw feeders
Real Dog treat box
Real Dog Box Beef Spleen
Air-dried beef spleen from Real Dog

Bonus: What Are The Best Chew Treats for Small Dogs?

Bully Sticks!

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.

Their smallest option are thin 2-4″ Junior Bully Sticks, followed by thin 4″ bully sticks (49 kcal/treat).

Prevent dog tartar build up with super thick dog chews from Real Dog
Missy chewing on an extra thick bully stick – those exist too!

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?

It depends!

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 dog breeds and puppies.

That’s because their dehydrated & freeze-dried texture makes it easy to break them into small 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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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.







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