dog treats

We all love to treat our dogs, but it’s important to make sure we’re giving them something that’s healthy and low-cal as well as delicious. Many of the fruits, vegetables and meats we enjoy also make delicious, healthy dog treats!

Pet stores are filled with dog treats of all kinds. But many are bad choices because they’re made from unhealthy ingredients and contain a lot of additives like artificial colors and flavors. When buying dog treats, make sure you choose high quality products made from all-natural ingredients. Alternatively, you can treat your dog using healthy foods from your own kitchen. Here are just eight human foods that make nutritious and palatable dog treats.



Small pieces of apple without the core are great treats for your dog. Organic apples are best, but if you can’t find any, be sure to wash the skin thoroughly first. It’s also wise to remove the seeds, since they contain a compound that can convert into cyanide in the intestines.


People and dogs alike love blueberries. These tasty little fruits are full of good nutrition like vitamin C and K, as well as manganese, and are also an excellent source of antioxidants.


As with apples, pears must be cored and the seeds removed. Again, wash the skin before cutting up the fruit. Pears are a great source of vitamin C for your pooch.



Carrots are a naturally sweet veggie rich in antioxidants and beta-carotene, which converts into eye-healthy vitamin A. Your dog will love crunching on raw carrot – remember to wash and peel it before cutting it up. Alternatively, you can lightly steam carrots – remember to let them cool before giving them to your dog.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins A, C, E and B6, and are also rich in dietary fiber. You can buy premium dog treats made from dried sweet potatoes, or you can make your own (see below).

Green beans

They’re rich in vitamins A, C and K, and also contain fiber and some B vitamins. Lightly steamed green beans are best. One of the great things about green beans is that they’re easy to grow in a garden or container – plant the seeds in May and you’ll be harvesting beans in July. Canned beans aren’t recommended as they usually contain a lot of salt.



Bits of cooked breast meat minus the bones and skin make good dog treats and are a healthy source of protein and vitamin B6. Try to buy organic chicken if you can. Don’t use rotisserie chickens, as they’re usually prepared with a lot of salt. Your dog can also be treated with bits of raw chicken, or raw (never cooked) chicken backs and necks. Just keep an eye on your dog when he’s eating bones.

Raw beef bones

For a long-lasting high-value treat, connect with your dog’s wild side by giving her a raw beef bone – a knucklebone or femur is best. Gnawing on a raw bone is good for your dog’s teeth and gums, and it’ll keep him occupied for hours. Be sure to inspect the bone regularly; if the edges get too thin or sharp, it’s time to throw it away.

There are many other human foods you can use as treats, but these favorites are enjoyed by most dogs, and also provide our best friends with added nutrition.

Foods to avoid

It’s important to remember that not all human foods are good for dogs. Among those that should always be avoided are:


Cooked bones




Raw salmon

Dried sweet potato treats

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  2. Wash sweet potatoes thoroughly, and pat dry.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Slice sweet potatoes lengthwise into thin ½” strips.
  5. Place the strips on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 1½ hours, turn the treats over, then bake for another hour.


Jennifer Hinders is a freelance writer, editor and dog lover who lives in Fairfax, Virginia.