The Best Puppy Treats to Help Potty Train Your Puppy
by Bethel Farms on May 19, 2023
The Best Puppy Treats to Help Potty Train Your Puppy
Did you know that you can feed your dog apples, bananas, or even blueberries?
Dogs will eat just about anything--especially those somethings that they shouldn't. But luckily for you, that means you have a lot of options for what to reward them with. Puppies, on the other hand, are a different story.
Puppies need a strict diet since they may choke on food that's large or difficult to chew. Therefore, the best puppy treats are safe for their small mouths while also being delicious. Especially if the intention is to keep them from peeing on the carpet!
Looking for something safe to give your puppy during the potty training phase? We're here to help. Keep reading for a guide on puppy treats for potty training.
Choosing the Characteristics of Puppy Treats for Potty Training
Puppy treats differ from other dog treats to make them easier to eat and digest for your puppy. Your puppy may also be a bit pickier with the taste.
Make sure your treat food is separate from regular meal time. You want your pup to associate treats with good behavior, and their meal bowl with dinnertime. Mixing and matching can confuse them and make training take longer or be less effective.
Training your puppy to use the bathroom at the right time and place is the most difficult part of training. You'll likely clean poop and pee stains off the carpet as they learn. To facilitate the training, enticing your pup with a good treat will make a huge difference.
Training treats should be easy and fast to eat. A nice little reward for the good behavior of peeing in the right spot. But not the sort of food they'll carry off and chew on for hours--right in the middle of training.
Let's cover some things you should look for when searching for good dog treats.
The Size of the Treat
Obviously, your dog has a small mouth and probably can't do more than nibble at a bone. Try to go for treats that are small, but not too small. Something they can swallow on accident without choking.
Larger treats aren't ideal for potty training, though, so save those for playtime. Get them treats that are pea-sized more or less. Smaller treats avoid overfeeding without taking away the incentive to behave.
Avoid treats that they would want to chew on for a while. Some soft jerky might be okay, but hard strips are not. If they stop to chew, that interrupts training time and may send the wrong message.
The Texture of the Treat
The texture is more important than it might seem. A rough texture takes time to chew, leading to the problem from above. Anything that's crunchy is also a no-no since it will require some tough jawing to work through it.
However, dogs may not like things that are too soft. Experiment with different textures until you find one they really love.
A good texture can help with your dog's digestion, too. Hard treats may take a long time for your dog to digest and delay pooping again.
The Flavor of the Treat
There's no clear-cut flavor that all dogs love, or all dogs hate. Each dog will have its own unique taste. Some may like something weird that others don't.
As with the above, experiment. If you can afford it, buy a bunch of new flavors and cycle through them one by one. This will be well worth the effort once you find one that has your dog jumping to get a taste.
It can take up to six months before your lovely little furball is potty trained. You'll have plenty of time to introduce them to new favorites!
Of all the considerations here, this is the most important one. Your puppy is in its formative years. Poor nutrition will result in growth deficiencies and other serious issues.
Many companies try to save money by using cheap ingredients. The dog can't tell the difference, and will often eat whatever you give them. Many companies knowingly or unknowingly include harmful ingredients in their food to save production costs.
Just as you might read your own food labels, read dog food labels. Do your research on what ingredients to avoid so you can identify them on a store shelf. Then buy from companies that make promises to avoid those non-organic ingredients.
In addition to this, choose brands that have a high protein content. This will be useful for the puppy's development to grow strong muscles and bones.
The Scent of the Treats
Dog smell is up to 100,000 better than that of humans. Yes, you read that right! There's a reason trained dogs can identify a small packet of drugs inside a bag filled with other powerful scents.
Dogs are olfactory creatures, meaning they rely much more heavily on scent than we do. As a result, dogs can often tell from a distance whether or not they want treats. If your puppy sniffs the treats but doesn't bite, it's time to get something else.
Opt for the really smelly treats, if possible. These are the ones that, when you open the bag, have that rich, moist or dry meat scent. Dogs will recognize that from a mile away and fall head over heels to get some.
Puppies are developing their sense of scent. They leave the womb blind, and likewise need time to develop their olfactory bulbs. Smelly foods are a pleasing sensory experience to start training their noses.
Price of the Treats
The price is a hard one with puppy treats. They're not as cheap as buying a bag of potato chips--the good stuff especially!
While you should avoid going as cheap as possible, don't feel like you need top-shelf stuff. Read the ingredients more than anything. Look for labels such as organic to ensure you're getting something good for your dog.
It may just seem like a buzzword, but buying organic is often better. Organic foods have some of the highest nutritional value. They usually don't contain chemicals that occur with typical processing methods.
However, don't trust an organic brand at face value. There are a lot of fakers out there who use it as an advertising gimmick. Caveat emptor, do your research before buying organic.
Manufacturing Country of Origin
This is really getting into the weeds, but it is something to consider if you're serious about your puppy training. Some countries make puppy treats with questionable processes in questionable facilities.
You may prefer to buy something made locally, where you know the regulations. This supports local businesses and ensures you get high-quality stuff.
The Best Puppy Treats for Potty Training
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's cover some examples of puppy treats. We'll try to cover a wide variety, from produce to packaged treats. If you're on a budget, there's something for you here, too.
Liver might not sound like the most appetizing thing in the world, but it is for your pup. These are delicious treats that are small in size and easy to chew.
They're great for puppies that are at least two months old. They're also wonderful for older puppies near the end of their growth at 8-12 months.
They're very healthy and protein-rich, and they're easy to break up and digest. You can snap them apart in your hands to make the treats last longer.
Dehydrated Meats/Fish and Jerky
If there's one thing a dog loves, it's meat in any form. So why not give them some dry red meat?
Puppies will go wild for these treats, making them an excellent motivator for potty training. Make sure to get a soft kind and rip them into smaller pieces, though. Try low-fat varieties so your puppy gets packed with protein.
Your puppy might have sensitivity to certain meats, so find one that works for them. Ensure the meat is not expired and still maintains some moisture for the best effect. Dried meats come in many options:
- Fish, like salmon or trout
Dog Biscuits (Puppy-Sized)
Dog biscuits are a classic for any dog, no matter their age. They're an affordable option, too, if you can't afford to shell out for beef liver and jerky. They break apart easily but still have enough of a smell to draw dogs in.
Go for mini biscuits, since these are a lot easier to chew. We recommend that you break them up in your hands, though. Most biscuits don't come in shapes ideal for small puppies.
There are only two issues with dog biscuits. One, you really need to do your research on their ingredients. It's easy for the manufacturer to slip in poor-quality ingredients for treats like this.
Two, the treats are very crumbly. In breaking them apart, they may spill crumbs all over the floor. Your pup may get distracted, grinding training to a halt as they hunt for leftovers.
Humans aren't the only ones who love peanut butter. Just give a dog an empty jar of peanut butter and he'll spend all day licking it clean. Peanut butter is a strong olfactory experience, as well as a nutritious one high in protein and minerals.
Peanut butter works best in hard treats. If you don't want to buy those, then dip your existing treats in peanut butter. This adds a ton of delectable flavor for your pup to enjoy.
This is the messiest option on the list, though. It may create distractions when your puppy is trying to lick your hands clean. However, that might just be a great end to a successful training session.
Grain and Oats
There's no clear verdict on whether oats and grain are good--or bad--for dogs. But many treats include them. Just make sure your dog isn't allergic to them, and you're good to go.
Oats tend to be filler in other snacks such as peanut butter. Give them a shot, though, if your dog struggles to enjoy other kinds.
These are a unique, minimal-mess way of treating your puppy during training. It comes in a bottle, much like the ones you'd see that dispense cheese. You simply depress the spout and squirt a bit of filler into your puppy's mouth.
Or, you can put the filler on their toys. They will love licking it off. As you can imagine, though, this final suggestion is better for a post-training snacking session.
Fruits and Vegetables
Don't want to spend any money on factory-made puppy treats? There's a solution for you. Try some of the food you can find in your fridge.
Here's a list of just a few of the awesome options at your disposal:
- Apples: a healthy treat rich in vitamins C and A, with plenty of fiber for digestion
- Bananas: rich in vitamins C, B6, and fiber, but not ideal in large portions
- Blueberries: frozen or thawed, these are low-calorie, high-fiber, high-vitamin C treat
- Brocolli: a healthy snack, but too much may upset your pup's stomach
- Carrots: just make sure to dice them small for easier chewing and digesting
- Cucumbers: it's rare for dogs to have a gluten allergy, but this is a healthy option otherwise
- Strawberries: good for coat and skin health, but not good in high quantities
- Tomatoes: make sure they're ripe, and avoid any soups or sauces
- Watermelon: just make sure not to feed them any seeds or rind, as this can lead to digestion issues
Potty Train Your Puppy Today
Potty training is one of the most important parts of a puppy's development, but also one of the hardest. To make things easier on yourself, come equipped with the best puppy treats. Make sure the treats have the right characteristics and find some that your dog really loves.
Gotta Go Grass is all about having potty-trained dogs that never make their mess on the carpet. We offer organic grass pads that allow your pet to do their business in comfort--inside, or outside. Visit our website and find some potty-training grass perfect for your puppy!