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You want your dog to have the best of everything—and that includes the best dog treats. And if your dog has a more sophisticated palate? The best snacks for them just might be just a step above the rest: gourmet dog treats.
Gourmet dog treats are having a serious moment, with new gourmet brands, chews, and treats launching all the time.
But what, exactly, do these sorts of treats consist of? Are they truly healthy for your dog? And what are the best kinds of these treats to offer your dog in 2020? We’ll explore all that, and round up a few products to consider, in this article.
What Are Gourmet Dog Treats? Are They Healthy?
First things first. Before we jump into the best gourmet dog treats for 2020, let’s first cover what, exactly, a gourmet dog treat is—because the answer to that question isn’t exactly clear.
Typically, “‘gourmet’ treats imply that the treats are made in small batches with higher quality ingredients,” says Clinical Pet Nutritionist, Johnna Devereaux, who recently answered some of our questions over email. So when most people talk about gourmet dog treats, they’re referring to these kinds of small-batch, high-quality ingredient treats (as opposed to more mass-produced treats manufactured in large quantities that tend to be full of preservatives, fillers, and other less-than-healthy additives for your pet).
But to date, there is no industry standard or guidelines for what classifies a treat as “gourmet”—which means you can’t assume that a treat that claims to be “gourmet” is offering a superior treat experience for your dog. “Any company can use the term ‘gourmet’ without having to meet any sort of criteria,” says Devereaux. “Therefore, use of the term gourmet does not mean a treat is healthier than another.”
So, to answer the question “are gourmet dog treats healthy for my pet?” the answer is—it all depends.
What to Look for When Shopping for Gourmet Dog Treats
Because there are no set criteria for what makes a dog treat gourmet, it’s extremely important to do your research and carefully review a treat’s ingredient list. You want to look for gourmet dog treats that are made from high-quality, real food ingredients, packed with nutrients, and free from any additives, chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors, and other unnatural, potentially harmful ingredients.
Basically, the shorter the ingredient list on a gourmet dog treat (and the more ingredients you recognize as real food), the better.
Best Gourmet Dog Treats for 2020
You know what gourmet dog treats are. You know what to look for on the label. Now, let’s get into the good stuff—our picks for the best gourmet dog treats for 2020.
No bones about it, these gourmet dog treats are indeed vegan: the “bacon” is made of organic coconut flakes colored with beets and flavored with hickory smoke! Free of fillers, the label indicates these treats are made from scratch, from organic, gluten- and grain-free, easy-to-pronounce ingredients sourced from the USA.
If coconut bacon isn’t the right flavor for your dog, no worries—these dog treats come in an assortment of coconut-based varieties (including coconut carob mint, coconut confetti peanut butter, and strawberry coconut cream) to satisfy just about every pet palate.Shop on Amazon
These high-protein treats from Wild Earth pack a nutritious punch thanks to a number of key ingredients: koji, a culinary mold purported to have a myriad of dietary benefits for dogs; prebiotic fiber for healthy digestion; and Omega 3, 6, and 9 essential fatty acids, which help promote a shiny coat.
Not only do these treats have a lot of essential nutrients for your dog, but they’re also free from any additives, fillers, animal by-products, preservatives, or other questionable ingredients. And with three flavors to choose from, you’re sure to find a go-to flavor for your pup.Find on Amazon
Made in small batches from just four whole, locally sourced ingredients—beef bone broth, oat flour, carrots, and parsley—the Bone Broth Awesome Dog Treats from Bocce’s Bakery are about as wholesome and gourmet as you can get.
And if your dog likes these, you’ll definitely want to try this brand’s other varieties—Bedtime Tea (made with banana, vanilla, and lavender) and Turmeric Latte (made with coconut, vanilla, and turmeric).Discover on Amazon
Crafted in small batches, the jerky sticks from Rocco & Roxie are crafted using high-quality American meat (including chicken, beef, and turkey) and are never enhanced with any fillers (like soy, corn, or gluten) or artificial flavors.
Plus, the brand offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee—so if these gourmet treats don’t have quite the taste your dog is looking for? No harm done.Shop on Amazon
The Liv-A-Littles are gourmet, natural dog treats from Halo—and in terms of ingredients, they keep it simple, wholesome, and healthy. These treats are made from a single ingredient—100% wild salmon. The brand prides itself on keeping fish meal, farm-raised salmon, and any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives out of its treats.
Go ahead, live a little—and give these Liv-a-little treats a try! (And if you also have a feline in your household, there’s an added bonus—these treats are also cat-friendly!)Find on Amazon
These Classic P-Nuttier Over Baked Dog Biscuits are packed with real ingredients (like apple, peanut butter, and carrots) and free from artificial preservatives. They also come in three size varieties—mini, small, and large—for the perfect bite of biscuit for every pup (no matter how big or small).Shop on Amazon
Consult With Your Vet Before Introducing Any Treats Into Your Dog’s Diet
We’ve offered up a lot of gourmet dog treat options for your pet. But before you introduce anything new into your dog’s diet—including any of the treats featured on this list—make sure to consult with your vet. Your vet knows your pet and their health history and can give you deeper insights on the best diet for your dog, including which treats are the healthiest.