Why Vital Essentials Minnows Make The Perfect Dog Treat

Why Vital Essentials Minnows Make The Perfect Dog Treat

Vital Essentials Minnows are a favorite, single-ingredient, fish dog treat in my pack!

The good news is that they have no fishy smell.

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated in 2024. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you. 

Who Is Vital Essentials?

You may remember that I’ve mentioned Vital Essentials here on the blog before.

That was when I wrote about their Mini Nibs in combination with KONG food puzzles.

I actually didn’t learn about the brand until I first attended the Global Pet Expo in March 2016.

Their booth was one of the last ones I stopped at. Funny enough, I appreciated it the most!

Isn’t it funny how life works like that sometimes?

Loving The Product Selection at Vital Essentials Booth At The Global Pet Expo 2016
Visiting the Vital Essentials booth at the Global Pet Expo in 2016

How did I not know about them before??

No idea!

BUT, I’m more than aware of them now and can’t recommend their freeze-dried dog treats enough.

Including the Vital Essentials Minnows!

Freeze-Dried Minnows Treats from Vital Essentials, Seen At Global Pet Expo 2016
Vital Essentials Minnows

As a raw feeder, I’m always looking for high quality, drool worthy single-ingredient dog treats.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Why Vital Essentials Minnows Make The Perfect Dog Treat

Vital Essential Minnows: Benefits

In a nutshell, the Minnows are

  • Low fat
  • Smell-free
  • Freeze-dried
  • High-protein
  • Single-ingredient
  • Small in size = perfect training treat
  • Sourced from Minnesota & Wisconsin rivers & streams 

Single Ingredient Source of Protein

Let me start by sharing the #1 benefit of these treats: They’re a single-ingredient source of protein.

That means that they only contain whole raw minnows that have been freeze-dried.

Literally nothing else, guys.

There’s no grains, gluten, or artificial vitamins/minerals, preservatives, and colorings on the ingredient list.


I feel 100% good about treating my pups with these goodies.

What’s so great about single-ingredient treats?

Besides the fact that they don’t contain any of the crap mentioned above, they literally only consist of ONE SINGLE ingredient.

In this case, fish. That’s it.

Single-ingredient treats are wonderful for dogs who suffer from a known food intolerance.

For example, a specific protein or grain.

So if you know that your pooch does poorly on chicken or lamb, let him try a different protein and see how he does on it!

For example, fish like Minnows.

Tip: If you have dog treats from your local supermarket in your pantry (or wherever), you may want to check their ingredient list.

I bet you it has at least 10, likely more, ingredients listed on the label, several of which are probably grains.

Grains and corn are cheap, empty fillers that the mainstream dog food industry likes to include in their dog treats (& food, by the way).

That’s although they have zero nutritional value and are known to cause itchy, red, inflamed looking skin because they’re rich in Omega-6 fatty acids.

Even better, take it up a notch and switch kibble that’s rich in empty fillers and artificial preservatives for a freeze-dried meal from Vital Essentials.

Your pup’s overall appearance, to include her energy levels & playfulness, will drastically change from meh to wow! 

Offering freeze-dried or dehydrated raw dog food is the easiest way to transition your pup to a more species-appropriate food. 

That’s how I got started back in 2015!

Freeze-Drying Means No Need For Refrigeration

Benefit #2: No refrigeration is needed, and that’s although they don’t contain any preservatives.

How is that possible?

The Minnows are freeze-dried for 48 hours. That process locks in all the vital nutrients without destroying them.

Since they don’t need to be refrigerated, they’re very convenient to bring along on trips or hikes without having to worry about bringing along coolers.

On my list of best single-ingredient dog treats: Minnows by Vital Essentials
Missy Taking A Minnows by Vital Essentials Break On A Hike

I’ve brought them along on several hikes, and didn’t even have to carry them – they fit nicely in Missy’s Ruffwear dog backpack.

Missy Carrying the Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Minnows in Her Ruffwear Dog Pack
The Minnows fit into Missy’s Ruffwear backpack

Sourced, Made, & Packaged In The USA

Benefit #3: The Minnows are sourced, made, and packaged right here in the USA, in Green Bay, WI. 

Vital Essentials have their very own USDA certified and inspected pet food facility with a comprehensive HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) Food Safety Program developed in collaboration with Kansas State University. 

Their employees are HACCP and OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) trained and certified employees receiving a “Superior Rating” from biannual FDA (Food & Drug Administration) audits.

No Fishy Smell

Benefit #4: No fishy smell whatsoever.

I personally don’t mind stronger smells (I feed my pups raw green tripe, so I’m used to that).

But I know that fish isn’t for everyone because of the smell.

Missy ready for a Minnows break

The Minnows come from Minnesota and Wisconsin rivers and streams and are frozen before the freeze-drying process.

This locks in their freshness, meaning no decomposition occurs.

That’s usually where a fishy smell comes from.

Vital Essentials Minnows: Where To Buy

The Minnows come in a 1 oz bag and are available online on Amazon. You can also buy them in select physical pet retail stores.

K9sOverCoffee | Showing The Size Of Vitals Essentials Freeze-Dried Minnows
Measuring the Minnows

Just an FYI for dog/cat households: The Minnows also make a great cat treat, so if your house is run by both felines & K9s, it makes sense to purchase a 1 oz bag for both. 

Vital Essentials Minnows: Enthusiastically Recommended!

Does your pup have a freeze-dried favorite treat or food?

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below this blog post!

K9sOverCoffee | Why I Treat My Dogs With Freeze-Dried Vital Essentials Minnows [And You Should, Too]

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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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8 responses to “Why Vital Essentials Minnows Make The Perfect Dog Treat”

  1. Julie Smith Avatar
    Julie Smith

    The pups look like they like the minnow treats!! I love the single ingredient and it is also nice to have variety. I find Miss Cocoa gets bored with the same treats. Does Missy wear a muzzle?? I have thought about one for Cocoa but need to know more!!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Oh yes, I’m a sucker for variety and single-ingredient treats 😉 Missy’s not wearing a muzzle – she is wearing a head collar. They are called Gentle Leaders and also known as Haltis. The Haltis are the ones I use because they have padded nose bands. I believe they’re the British version, and the Gentle Leader is the American one.

  2. Rebekah Ward Avatar

    I have not heard of those, but definitely want to try them. My dogs love fish-based treats! (They are a bit creepy looking, not that my dogs care.)

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Haha, yes, they are, but I think that may be a common fish treat feature 😉 We also got some smelt and they look just as creepy..

  3. 2 brown dawgs blog Avatar

    Those looks like a great treat at an affordable price.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Yes, you definitely get your money’s worth with these treats!

  4. Lindsay Stordahl Avatar
    Lindsay Stordahl

    GROSS! I bet my dogs (and cats) would LOVE these!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Haha, I sure bet they would 😉 The grosser, the better!!

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