How and When to Give Dog Treats: 3 Important Tips

Treats can be a great way to keep our dogs healthy and maintain a balanced diet, So, let’s dive into “How and When to Give Dog Treats.” It’s not just a matter of tossing a biscuit to our furry pals every time they look at us with those adorable puppy eyes. There’s a bit of science and strategy to it.

However, it’s crucial to give treats in moderation and at the correct times. In this article, we’ll discuss how and when to give dog treats for the well-being of your canine companion.

Scientific Research on Dog Treats

A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that using treats during training can positively affect a dog’s behavior, making them more attentive and responsive to commands.

Another study in the Journal of Nutrition highlighted the importance of choosing high-quality treats that are nutritionally balanced and appropriately sized [2]. This reinforces the idea that not all treats are created equal, and it’s crucial to pick the right ones for our furry friends.

How and When to Give Dog Treats

1. Choosing the Right Treats

How and When to Give Dog Treats? The first step in treating your dog is to choose the right kind of treatment. Not all treats are created equal, and selecting ones that are healthy and appropriate for your dog’s size, age, and dietary needs is essential. Here are some tips for choosing the right treats:

  • Read the Ingredients: Just like with your own food, it’s essential to read the dog-treat ingredient list. Look for treats made with high-quality, natural ingredients, and avoid those with excessive fillers, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
  • Consider Your Dog’s Size: The size of the treat should match the size of your dog. Smaller treats are better for small dogs, while larger treats can be suitable for bigger breeds. Avoid treats that your dog can quickly swallow whole, as this can pose a choking hazard.
  • Age and Dietary Restrictions: Some treats are specifically formulated for puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with certain dietary restrictions. If your dog has any health issues or allergies, consult your veterinarian to ensure you choose treats that won’t cause problems.
  • Calorie Count: Treats should only make up a small portion of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Consider the calorie content of the treats you’re giving, especially if your dog needs to maintain a healthy weight.

2. Using Treats for Training

Treats can be powerful tools for training your dog, as they provide positive reinforcement. However, timing is crucial when using treats for training. Here are some guidelines:

  • Immediate Rewards: When training your dog, give treats immediately after they exhibit the desired behavior. This helps your dog associate the treat with the action you’re trying to reinforce. Delayed rewards might confuse your dog.
  • Small Portions: Use small treat portions during training sessions. The focus should be on the positive reinforcement, not on overfeeding your dog. Break larger treats into smaller pieces if needed.
  • Consistency: Be consistent with treat rewards. If your dog follows a command or displays the behavior you’re working on, reward them every time with a treat. Consistency helps your dog understand what’s expected of them.

3. Occasions for Treats

While treats can be great for training, they can also be given on specific occasions to show love and appreciation. Here are some appropriate times to give your dog a treat:

  • After Exercise: After a good walk or play session, giving your dog a treat can be a way to reward their physical activity.
  • For Good Behavior: When your dog follows commands, behaves well around other dogs or people, or shows good manners, a treat can be a wonderful way to reinforce that behavior.
  • During Grooming: If your dog isn’t a fan of grooming activities like nail trimming or brushing, giving them a treat afterward can help create a positive association with these tasks.
  • Special Occasions: On your dog’s birthday or adoptiversary, it’s perfectly fine to celebrate with a special, dog-friendly treat.

How many treats should you give your dog per day?

A good rule of thumb is to limit treats to no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. This means that if your dog needs 1,000 calories per day, you should only give them treats that add up to 100 calories.

Kind of Healthy Treats For Dogs

There are many healthy dog treats available on the market, but some of the best options include:

  • Plain, air-dried treats
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Rawhide chews
  • Dental treats
  • Homemade treats made with healthy ingredients

When should you give your dog treats?

The best time to give your dog treats is when they are being good, such as when they are sitting, staying, or coming when called. Treats can also be used to reward your dog for learning new tricks or behaviors.

It is important to avoid giving your dog treats too close to mealtime, as this can lead to weight gain. Instead, try giving them treats in between meals or as a small snack.

Things to avoid when giving your dog treats

Here are a few things to avoid when giving your dog treats:

  • Do not give your dog treats that are high in fat or calories.
  • Do not give your dog treats made with artificial flavors or colors.
  • Do not give your dog treats that are too hard, as these can pose a choking hazard.
  • Do not give your dog too small treats, as these can be a choking hazard for small dogs.
How and When to Give Dog Treats


”How and When to Give Dog Treats.” Treats can be a fantastic way to show your dog love and reinforce positive behavior. You’ll keep your dog healthy, happy, and well-behaved by choosing the right treats, using them in training, and giving them at appropriate times and in moderation. Always prioritize your dog’s well-being and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s diet or treat consumption.


What’s the best time to give treats to my dog?

Use treats as rewards for good behavior, during training sessions, or as a bonding experience. Avoid giving treats close to mealtimes to prevent overeating.

Can I give human food as treats to my dog?

Some human foods are safe for dogs in moderation, like small pieces of cooked meat or vegetables. However, many human foods can be harmful to dogs, so it’s crucial to know what’s safe and what’s not.

Are there any treats that can improve my dog’s dental health?

Yes! There are dental treats designed to help keep your dog’s teeth clean. They can be a great addition to your dog’s dental care routine.

My dog has allergies. Can I still give treats?

Absolutely, but be cautious. Look for treats specifically formulated for dogs with allergies or sensitivities. Always consult your vet before introducing new treats to your dog.


  1. Positive reinforcement training in veterinary practice
  2. A 1-Year Longitudinal Study of Canine Satiety: The Influence of Feeding Regime and Diet Composition

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