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What is the healthiest treat for a dog?

6 Healthy Dog Treats for Senior Dogs

Is your dog entering their golden years? Our dogs’ dietary needs change as they age, but one thing remains constant: they’re good, good dogs who deserve treats! Thankfully, healthy treats for senior dogs are readily available.

Of course, any treat can be a “senior treat” if you give it to an older dog. But these days, pet brands make treats specially formulated to support senior pet health. If your dog has arthritis, eye issues, or other health issues related to their age, you can find treats with supplements and vitamins to support them.

We’ve combed online reviews, talked to friends, and considered our personal experiences with dog treats for senior dogs. Read on to learn about some of the best senior-specific dog treats available.

6 Healthy Treats for Senior Dogs

  1. Wellness Natural Soft WellBites
  2. Cranberry Bladder Bites
  3. NaturVet Senior Calming Soft Chew
  4. Greenies Hip and Joint Care
  5. Old Mother Hubbard Hip and Joint
  6. Dogswell Super Boost Squares

Now get the full scoop plus reviews.

1. Wellness Natural Soft WellBites ($8/bag)

These grain-free treats are chock full of healthy ingredients. The soft, chewy texture is ideal for senior dog teeth. And they come in an array of proteins, including venison and duck, so you’re sure to find a formula that suits your dog’s taste and dietary needs.

Why we like them:

  • Contain antioxidants & omega-rich flaxseed to support skin and coat health
  • Made with blueberries & sweet potatoes, which are good for eyes
  • Soft texture is gentle on senior dog teeth

Most helpful review: “I have a picky senior dog with very few teeth and weak sense of smell… even most soft treats are way too firm… these treats give him NO trouble and he loves them.”

2. Cranberry Bladder Bites ($24.97 for 90 chews)

These soft chicken liver treats are chock full of nutritive ingredients that support the kidneys, bladder, and urinary tract. They can even be used to treat and prevent recurring UTI’s (though you should always consult your vet first). They’re meant as a daily supplement, so limit your pup to one or two chews per day! Why we like them:

  • Cranberries help balance pH levels in the urine, and also bolster digestion and immune function
  • Licorice root and astragalus support the kidneys and bladder
  • Dogs love the chewy texture and chicken liver flavor

Most helpful review: “Our senior girl had been struggling with a couple of UTI’s. Started giving these twice a day in conjunction with antibiotics and it cleared up. We now give them twice a day as a preventative, and no more UTI’s or accidents.”

3. NaturVet Senior Calming Soft Chew for Dogs ($10.21 for 65 chews)

Like the Cranberry Bladder Bites, these straddle the line between “supplement” and “treat.” They contain calming herbs like chamomile and ginger. They also have melatonin, which acts as a gentle, all-natural sedative. You can give your dog a Quiet Moment treat before high-stress activities like car rides or vet visits. Or, give them one as a bedtime treat to help them get to sleep.

Why we like them:

  • A gentle, all-natural alternative to sedatives for stressed-out senior dogs
  • Herbal ingredients support the nervous system in reducing stress and tension
  • Soft texture is easy for senior dogs to chew

Most helpful review: “ My senior Border Collie has always been high strung. Lately, though, she has been having anxiety at night and is completely restless. These have been wonderful! I give her one at bedtime, and she is so calm she sleeps through the night.”

4. Greenies Hip and Joint Care ($21.99 for 18oz)

Greenies Hip + Joint chews offer dental care and joint care in one tasty treat! The easy-to-digest treats contain glucosamine and chondroitin from all-natural sources to support mobility and joint health. Plus, they’re made with a softer texture specifically designed for older dogs.

Why we like them:

  • Good source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • All-natural ingredients are gentle on sensitive stomachs
  • Gently scrub teeth to remove plaque and tartar buildup and freshen breath

Most helpful review: My dogs are both 10-year-old mutts that suffer from arthritis. Both of my dogs limp if I do not give them these treats. I have saved $$$ on vet bills because of these treats!”

5. Old Mother Hubbard Hip & Joint Treats ($7.99 for 20oz bag)

These tasty treats are oven-baked for flavor and crunch. Each serving has 750mg/kg of glucosamine hydrochloride and 250mg/kg of chondroitin sulfate to help support your dog’s hip and joint mobility. Use them as training rewards (you can teach an old dog new tricks), or simply as occasional just-because treats.

Why we like them:

  • Made with all-natural ingredients
  • An easy way to add gluco & condroitin to your dog’s diet
  • Crunchy baked texture is less greasy than other dog treats

Most helpful review: “ My dogs like these and they’re really helping with the senior dogs’ stiff joints. They seem much more comfortable. I usually give them 2 or 3 a day.”

6. Dogswell Super Boost Squares ($7.89 for 12oz)

These small squares pack a mega-boost of functional benefits to support your senior dog’s immune system. They contain flaxseed and vitamins A & E for healthy eyes, skin, and coat. Plus, they’re soft and easy to digest, making them ideal for your older dog. Made from all-natural ingredients and with added nutrients.

Why we like them:

  • Made from all-natural ingredients
  • Contain Omega3 for a shiny coat and healthy skin
  • Can be cut up into small pieces for training

Most helpful review: “He loves it! This does not cause my dog to have any soft or runny stools unlike other dog treats out there that claim to be an antioxidant. It is great for the price you pay.”

DIY Senior Dog Treats: Raid the Cupboard

In addition to commercially available dog treats, consider what you already have at home. Several pantry staples make healthy treats for senior dogs, including:

  • Eggs for protein (serve scrambled, cooled, and added to your dog’s meal)
  • Yogurt for probiotics and calcium
  • Pumpkin and sweet potatoes support skin, eye, and digestive health
  • Fish oil and flaxseed contain Omega3 fatty acids

Dogs are with us for a finite time, so treat them well while they’re here!

Elisabeth Geier

Elisabeth Geier is a writer, teacher, and animal advocate with extensive animal handling experience and a soft spot for bully breeds and big orange tabbies.

What is the healthiest treat for a dog?

One of the most common resolutions made every New Year is to drop a few of those pesky pounds, but did you ever think that your dog might need to make this resolution, too? According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54% of dogs and 58% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. For many pets, a combination of increased activity and decreased calories in their daily diet can help shed those excess pounds.

To help ensure a happier, healthier pet in the New Year, the ASPCA Poison Control Center (APCC) has provided some ideas for healthier snacks that won’t derail your pet’s 2017 weight loss goals:

An Apple a Day…

Some commercially produced pet treats are deceptively high in calories, and a couple of treats can actually decrease or stop weight loss. Try substituting safe fruits and vegetables into your pet’s diet.

Green beans are very low in calories and have a satisfying crunch. They can be a great green snack for your dog or cat. In addition, most dogs love baby carrots, and at about four calories each they make a great weight loss snack. Also, carrots are gentle on the tummy and don’t usually make dogs gassy—a common complaint with other veggies. If you’re a cat person, you can also try peas, frozen corn, broccoli florets, and of course, cat nip! Cat nip and cat grass can actually be beneficial for your cat’s health and are kind of like wheat or oats.

Raspberries and apples (without the core and seeds) are low in calories, and are a good source of fiber, which will help your dog feel full and satisfied.

It’s important to note that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for animals. Be sure to avoid garlic, onions, raisins and grapes, as they can be toxic to your pet. Check out our full list of foods to avoid feeding your pet as you plan their 2017 slim-down diet.

Protein, Protein, Protein…

When it comes to a pet who may have “more to love,” snacks that are high in protein and low in fat are your best bet. For cats, cooked fish and meats such as liver can be great, healthy treats your furry friend will go nuts for.

Nibble on Kibble

It seems obvious, but oftentimes dogs don’t really care what they are getting—they just want some attention and treats to munch on. Many people find that reserving a portion of your pet’s food for the day and giving it out slowly as a treat does the trick to satisfy those in-between the meal cravings.

Pup-corn, anyone?

Air-popped popcorn is only about 35 calories per cup, and it sure is tasty. Popcorn pieces make it easy to toss your pup a snack throughout the day without loading them up on calories. Just be sure not to use any butter or salt on your dog’s popcorn.

Don’t forget to try and keep your pet active with toys and games. Try hiding a healthy treat in a puzzle game, or make a game of finding a snack!

Always be sure to consult with your veterinarian before starting a weight loss plan for your pet, or before adding new snacks to their diet to ensure that they will be appropriate for your pet. If you believe that your pet has ingested a potentially poisonous item, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

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