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Best Low-Calorie Dog Treats in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks

jack russell terrier having treats

jack russell terrier having treats

Dog treats can be used as a training aid to reward your dog for good behavior, or just as a nice gesture. However, you choose to treat your dog, those small snacks count toward the daily caloric intake. If you’re giving your dog a lot of treats each day, it can contribute to obesity.

It’s important to look for treats that are healthy and low in calories, as well as treats that are appropriate for your dog’s life stage and size. Here are our picks for the seven best low-calorie dog treats, based on reviews from pet owners like you.

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A Quick Look at Our Top Picks in 2023

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Wellness CORE Jerky Dog Treats Wellness CORE Jerky Dog Treats
  • Only 5 calories each
  • High protein
  • Made in the USA
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Dog Treats Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Dog Treats
  • 4 calories each
  • Omega fatty acids
  • Beef as first ingredient
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Stewart Pro-Treat Raw Dog Treats Stewart Pro-Treat Raw Dog Treats
  • High protein
  • Freeze-dried
  • Single-ingredient
  • Best for Puppies
    Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Dog Treats Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Dog Treats
  • Bite-sized for puppies
  • Animal protein sources
  • DHA and omega-3
  • Merrick Power Bites Dog Treats Merrick Power Bites Dog Treats
  • 3 calories each
  • Beef as the first ingredient
  • More protein options
  • The 7 Best Low-Calorie Dog Treats

    1. Wellness CORE Venison Jerky Dog Treats – Best Overall

    Wellness CORE Power Packed Venison Grain-Free Jerky Dog Treats

    Package size: 4 oz
    Life stage: Adult
    Special diet: Grain-free, no wheat, or soy

    Wellness CORE Power Packed Venison Grain-Free Jerky Dog Treats are the best overall low-calorie dog treats. These hearty, lean treats use real venison and no artificial colors or flavors. Each treat has the minimal ingredients and offers a lot of protein, giving your dog added nutrition for rewards without empty calories. The treats are only 5 calories each.

    These treats have no wheat, wheat gluten, or soy. Like all Wellness products, these treats are made in the USA with top-quality ingredients. Each bag contains approximately 84 treats per bag. Several reviewers mentioned the size of the treats, which is more for a training aid, and the steep price.

    Pros
    • Only 5 calories each
    • High protein
    • Made in the USA
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Small

    2. Blue Buffalo Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats – Best Value

    Blue Buffalo Bits

    Package size: 4 oz
    Life stage: Adult
    Special diet: No wheat, or soy

    Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Tender Beef Recipe Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats is the best low-calorie dog treat for the money. Beef is the first ingredient, giving it a flavor that dogs love. The small bites are ideal for training and rewards, as well as just for showing love. Each treat is 4 calories and boasts omega fatty acids for skin and coat health.

    The treats are made in the USA with no by-products or artificial colors and flavors. Though they are formulated for adult dogs, the small bites are the right size for puppies. Some reviewers said their dogs didn’t like the treats, however.

    Pros
    • 4 calories each
    • Omega fatty acids
    • Beef as first ingredient
    Cons
    • Some dogs don’t like them

    3. Stewart Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Treats – Premium Choice

    Stewart Pro-Treat Beef Liver Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Treats

    Package size: 2 oz, 4 oz, 12 oz, 14 oz, 21 oz
    Life stage: Adult
    Special diet: Freeze-dried raw

    Stewart Pro-Treat Beef Liver Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Treats are a premium, high-protein, and low-calorie dog treat. The treats are made from 100% pure beef liver that’s freeze-dried to maintain its flavor and scent while offering the nutrition of the organ. The single ingredient formula is good for dogs with food sensitivities, and the treats are only 4 calories.

    All Stewart treats are made in the USA in a USDA inspection facility and use no additives or preservatives. The treats come in multiple tub sizes. You can feed as is or rehydrate them for more moisture. Reviewers said their dogs liked the treats, but they’re large and hard to break into smaller portions for small dogs. Some reviewers said the treats are too hard for their dog to eat.

    Pros
    • High protein
    • Freeze-dried
    • Single-ingredient
    Cons
    • Big portions, may be too large for small dogs
    • Too hard, may not be good for dogs with dental issues

    4. Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Lamb & Salmon – Best for Puppies

    Wellness Soft Puppy Bites

    Package size: 3 oz, 8 oz
    Life stage: Puppy
    Special diet: Grain-free, no wheat or soy

    Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Grain-Free Lamb & Salmon Recipe Dog Treats are delicious, bite-sized puppy treats perfect for training puppies. Formulated for puppies under a year old, these treats have protein from animal sources and added fruits and vegetables for added nutrition.

    The treats are made in the USA and contain no meat byproducts, wheat, soy, dairy, or artificial colors and flavors. They’re also a source of DHA and omega 3 fatty acids for brain, skin, and coat health. Some reviewers said the treats seemed to upset their dogs’ stomachs, however.

    Pros
    • Bite-sized for puppies
    • Animal protein sources
    • DHA and omega-3
    Cons
    • Some pups don’t like them, not good for picky eaters
    • May cause stomach upset

    5. Merrick Power Bites Grain-Free Soft & Chewy Dog Treats

    Merrick Power Bites Real Texas Beef Recipe Soft & Chewy Dog Treats

    Package size: 6 oz
    Life stage: Adult
    Special diet: Grain-free, no chicken, no wheat or soy

    Merrick Power Bites Real Texas Beef Recipe Grain-Free Soft & Chewy Dog Treats are meaty treats that use real beef as the first recipe. Perfect for dogs with chicken allergies, these treats are rich in protein and help to maintain healthy muscle and energy levels. The treats also have omega fatty acids for skin and coat health. Each treat is approximately 5 calories.

    Merrick treats are formulated without artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, gluten, soy, or wheat. All treats are made in the US according to FDA guidelines. In addition to beef, the treats come in rabbit, chicken, salmon, and other flavors. Some reviewers said their dogs didn’t like the treats.

    Pros
    • 3 calories each
    • Beef as the first ingredient
    • More protein options
    Cons
    • Some dogs don’t like them

    6. Wholesomes Lite Biscuit with Lamb Meal Dog Treats

    Wholesomes Lite Biscuit with Lamb Meal Dog Treats

    Package size: 3 oz, 20 lb
    Life stage: Adult
    Special diet: Low calorie

    Wholesomes Lite Biscuit with Lamb Meal Dog Treats are low-calorie treats with lamb meal for protein. The nutritious treat is the ideal size for training and has a crunchy texture dogs love. Each treat is fortified with vitamins and minerals to support overall health.

    All Wholesomes treats are made in the USA with high-quality ingredients. Though the treats don’t contain chicken, which may be an allergen for some dogs, they do have chicken fat. Several reviewers said the treats were too hard for their dogs to eat.

    Pros
    • Lamb meal
    • Fortified with vitamins and minerals
    • Made in the USA
    Cons
    • Too hard
    • Made with chicken fat

    7. Hill’s Natural Baked Light Biscuits Dog Treats

    Hill's Natural Baked Light Biscuits with Real Chicken Dog Treats

    Package size: 8 oz
    Life stage: Adult
    Special diet: Weight control

    Hill’s Natural Baked Light Biscuits with Real Chicken Dog Treats are delicious treats with real chicken as the first ingredient for protein and weight control. The treats are low in calories to avoid weight gain and are recommended for adult dogs.

    Treats are made with no artificial colors or flavors. Though they’re for weight control, they are higher in calories than other treats on this list. The small treats are 8.1 calories per biscuit and the medium treats are 34 calories per biscuit. Several reviewers said their dogs didn’t like them.

    Pros
    • Real chicken as first ingredient
    • Weight control
    • No artificial colors or flavors
    Cons
    • Some dogs don’t like them

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    Buyer’s Guide: Buying the Best Low-Calorie Dog Treats

    austraian shepherd dog having treat
    Image Credit: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock

    Finding the right low-calorie dog treat for your dog depends on the ingredients, your dog’s size and life stage, and other considerations.

    Ingredients

    Low-calorie treats should be low in calories and offer high-quality protein sourced from animals to support the dog’s energy needs. Avoid treats with filler ingredients like artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

    Texture

    There are benefits to different treat textures. Some dogs may prefer the crunchiness of hard treats, while others may enjoy a soft chew. If your dog has missing teeth or dental issues, however, it’s best to avoid hard treats that may cause discomfort.

    Size

    You can find treats that are suited to small, medium, large, and giant breeds. It’s important to consider your dog’s size in choosing a treat, since feeding a toy dog a low-calorie treat intended for large breeds will inevitably increase the caloric intake. If you have large treats, try to break them into smaller portions for your dog. Your dog probably can’t tell the difference between a big treat or a small one, and breaking them into small pieces translates to more treats for them!

    Calories

    Low-calorie for giant breeds is going to be a little higher, but generally, low-calorie treats should be under 20 calories. Remember that even low-calorie treats can add a lot of calories if you overfeed. Ideally, treats shouldn’t account for more than 10 percent of your dog’s total calorie consumption.

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    Conclusion

    Low-calorie dog treats are an excellent way to reward your dog without adding a lot of calories that can contribute to obesity and health problems. Wellness CORE Power Packed Venison Grain-Free Jerky Dog Treats are our pick for the best overall low-calorie dog treats. If you want value, Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Tender Beef Recipe Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats is the best low-calorie dog treat for the money. The premium option is Stewart Pro-Treat Beef Liver Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Treats, a high-protein, and low-calorie dog treat.


    Featured Image Credit: Reddogs, Shutterstock

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