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You want your dog to have the best of everything and that includes the very best dog treats.
Dog treats are a dime a dozen but some are better than others. Treats and chews made with premium ingredients in smaller batches to preserve their nutritional integrity are a cut above the rest—we like to call them gourmet dog treats.
If your dog has a sophisticated palate—or if you simply want to spoil him rotten—gourmet dog treats might be the way to go. But what exactly do these specialty treats consist of and are they truly healthy for your dog? We’ll explore these questions and more before providing you with a list of the best gourmet dog treats.
What Are Gourmet Dog Treats? Are They Healthy?
First things first. Before we jump into the best gourmet dog treats, let’s first cover what, exactly, a gourmet dog treat is—because the answer to that question isn’t exactly clear.
The term ‘gourmet’ is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “specialty food typically requiring elaborate and expert preparation.” Gourmet dog treats, then, are likely to be made with better ingredients and more thoughtful formulation and processing. They’re not your typical mass-produced dog treat loaded with fillers and artificial additives.
John Devereaux, Clinical Pet Nutritionist, says, “‘gourmet’ treats imply that the treats are made in small batches with higher quality ingredients.”
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that gourmet—like natural or holistic—is largely a marketing term. There is no industry standard or guideline for what classifies a treat as “gourmet”—which means you can’t assume that a treat that claiming to be “gourmet” actually offers a superior 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—this starts with carefully reviewing 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 artificial additives including chemicals, preservatives, and colors. You should also avoid any unnatural and potentially harmful ingredients (you can read more about about how to read a dog food label and decoding dog food in our article, The Truth About Dog Food).
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
Now you know what gourmet dog treats are and 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.
No bones about it, these gourmet dog treats are indeed vegan. Flavored with organic carob, mint, and coconut, these bones are free of fillers, made from scratch, and contain only organic, gluten- and grain-free ingredients sourced from the USA.
If coconut carob mint isn’t the right flavor for your dog, no worries—these dog treats come in an assortment of coconut-based varieties (including coconut bacon, coconut confetti peanut butter, and strawberry coconut cream) to satisfy just about every pet palate.Buy Now on Chewy
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.Buy Now on Chewy
Made in small batches from just four whole, locally sourced ingredients—beef bone broth, oat flour, carrots, and parsley—these 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).Buy Now on Chewy
Crafted in small batches, these 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.Buy Now on Chewy
These 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!)Buy Now on Chewy
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).Buy Now on Chewy
Pamper your pup with high-quality ingredients and small-batch quality in these Gourmet Sweet Potato & Duck Wrap dog treats from Cadet. With sweet potato and duck as the top two ingredients, they are full of flavor your dog won’t be able to resist.
In addition to having a short list of high-quality ingredients, these Cadet dog treats are naturally low in fat and completely free from artificial additives.Buy Now on Chewy
These freeze-dried dog treats are made with USA-raised turkey as the first ingredient, making them incredibly high in protein and real poultry flavor. With only four other ingredients on the list, these treats keep things short and sweet and good to eat.
Because these treats are freeze-dried, they retain more of their nutritional value and natural flavor. Plus, they are free from fillers, by-products, and artificial additives.Buy Now on Chewy
Consult With Your Vet Before Adding Treats to 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’s health history and can give you deeper insights on the best diet for your dog, including which treats are the healthiest.