Home > Pawspectives: ProDog’s Blog > Nutrition > Treats To Use When Feeding a Raw Diet

Feed the best

Treats To Use When Feeding a Raw Diet

Dogs eating a raw diet love their treats, too. But which ones are the best for them? When your dog is already eating a complete and balanced raw food diet, it’s easy to assume that they’re getting all the nutrients they need. While you’re right about that, raw food is the best way to ensure your dog’s nutritional needs are met, but have you thought about what treats to use when raw feeding? We cover natural dog treats in this article.

Anna Bain

Author: Anna Bain

Treats To Use When Feeding a Raw Diet

Treats are a staple in many a dog’s home, and they’re useful for several reasons. However, all treats are not created equal. In fact, some of them could be taking away from the benefits your dog is getting from their raw food diet. 

If you’re unsure about what treats to use when raw feeding, read on. This guide will discuss all the healthiest options of dog treats for raw-fed dogs, when it’s appropriate to give them, as well as some ingredients that you should stay far away from.

Discover our wide range of treats

Why do we give our dogs treats? 

For many dogs, treats are a part of their daily routine. While it’s a great feeling to do something nice for those you love, when it comes to dogs, it’s important to know why you’re doing it. Giving treats at random is not only a surefire way to help your canine pal gain weight, but depending on what you’re giving them, it could be negatively affecting their nutrition as well. 

There are, however, times when giving treats is appropriate, and even beneficial (besides the fact that our dogs love us for it). Here are a few examples of these: 


Food is a powerful motivator for many dogs and can be a huge help when you’re training. Teaching new behaviours and commands, toilet and crate training puppies, and teaching positive associations with triggers (in reactive or fearful dogs) are all times when treats are appropriate. This is because treats reinforce what a dog is doing is a good thing, therefore increasing the chance of repeating the behaviour. 

It’s important to note, however, that while treats can be given in abundance during training, those calories add up, and fast. Giving small amounts of nutritious treats (we’ll discuss options for those later) and smaller meals on training days will help your dog avoid gaining unnecessary weight during training, as well as contributing to their overall nutrition.  


Dogs need mental stimulation/enrichment in order to thrive. Many of what we consider to be “bad” behaviours in dogs are often due to a sheer lack of excitement in their lives — they’re bored! Thankfully, you don’t always have to exercise them for hours on end to satisfy their need for stimulation; mental activities can be super helpful too. In fact, cognitive stimulation can greatly improve overall animal wellbeing. [1]

Treats for enrichment can be things like snuffle mats, puzzle toys, stuffed Kongs, natural chews (more on those later), and raw meaty bones. Anything safe and healthy that gets your dog’s jaw muscles moving (and their brain problem solving) will help to cure boredom and leave them feeling satisfied. Added bonus: these options can also be helpful for dogs with anxiety-related behaviours, as they can be calming and comforting while dogs work on them. 

Diet supplementation 

When dogs aren’t getting the nutrition they need from their diets — or aren’t consuming enough calories — treats can be a good supplement to provide the dog vitamins they’re missing. This can happen for various reasons, including changes in food preferences or feeling unwell. Another good reason to supplement your dog’s diet with treats is to provide them with a snack before bed, to avoid the dreaded “hunger pukes.”

Choosing healthy treats are even more important when dogs are already missing out on key nutritional elements. Make sure the treats you’re using to supplement their diet will help to provide what they need more of to give them a nutritional boost. Treats should include things like single-ingredient proteins, with no fillers. Dog-friendly bone broth and other natural, dog-safe ingredients will also help to plug nutritional gaps.   

Dental health 

Every dog owner knows the tell-tale odour of dog breath – and it’s not something we should necessarily put up with. Bad breath can actually mean that your dog’s teeth aren’t as healthy as they should be. There are ways to help them with their offensive breath and their dental health. Aside from cleaning their teeth on a regular basis, the act of chewing can be very beneficial for dogs’ dental health, provided you give them the right chewing source. 

To note, while it’s tempting to grab a bag of commercial brand dental chews, they typically don’t contribute to your dog’s nutrition. With ingredients like glycerin, various starches, and even sugar, these aren’t something you can give your dog long term without seeing adverse effects on their health. Nature’s option is much better: natural chews like antlers, raw meaty bones, and dried hooves are all great ways to help keep your dog’s teeth tartar-free, and they’ll enjoy them, too! [2]

What to look for in treats

So, now that we’ve covered some good reasons to give treats and why healthier options are important, what should you be looking for in treats? Here are a few elements that make up a healthy treat for your dog:

Natural is always best. Homemade and store bought raw food treats are the best way to avoid processing, fillers, and preservatives 

Air dried treats are preserved naturally, which means they won’t have all the nutrition cooked out of them 

Single protein treats are helpful for dogs with allergies, sensitive stomachs, or those on elimination diets 

Easily digestible options, leaner proteins like turkey and fish have less fat, less calories, and are easier to digest for dogs with sensitive stomachs

Ultimately, treats should be contributing to your dog’s nutrition in some way. If it’s good for them, and they enjoy it, then it’s potentially a perfect treat – something you won’t feel as guilty for giving! 

What to avoid in treats 

With so many commercial treats on the market, it’s hard to know which ones are safe and which should be avoided at all costs. While many treat manufacturers are becoming more aware and using healthier ingredients, you should still be on the lookout for certain threats to your dog’s health. Likewise, some homemade options aren’t safe, either. Here are some treats your dog should not be getting: 

Rawhide is a long-lasting chew that is a dangerous choking hazard and created with toxic chemicals. These should be avoided at all costs! 

Cooked or roasted bones. The cooking process causes bones to splinter and break, making them a very dangerous choking/obstruction hazard 

Grains in general are a very common allergen for dogs, and can upset their stomachs, cause skin issues, etc.

Peanut butter is high in fat and sugar, and could be an allergen for some dogs. It can also contain aflatoxin, a type of mould which can be toxic

Sugar and artificial sweeteners cause multiple health problems in dogs, including diabetes 

Preservatives and food colouring can cause digestion problems among other health issues, and they provide no nutritional value 

Chemically processed foods contribute to a host of health conditions due to the ingestion of unnatural substances

Too many treats adds excessive calories to your dog’s diet, contributing to weight gain and picky appetites, we can help if your dog is not eating their food

Which treats can be used in a raw food diet 

There are a tonne of possibilities for treats to use when raw feeding. You can play around with what works best for your dog’s nutritional needs, as well as their likes/dislikes. Here are a few examples of healthy treats your dog will surely enjoy: 

Homemade treats 

This is the fun option. You can create all sorts of things your dog will love, and you’ll know exactly what’s in them! Some examples of homemade treats could be grain-free pumpkin or liver biscuits, or even frozen apple/yoghurt treats. The possibilities are endless!  

Raw meaty bones 

Raw meaty bones provide great nutritional value for your dog, as well as a source of mental stimulation. You can buy them fresh from the butcher or raw food pet outlet and your canine pal will also get a good teeth clean. Raw meaty bones should never be cooked. Turkey or duck necks, lamb or beef ribs, ostrich bones and duck feet are all great options.  

For more information on feeding bones to dogs, take a look at our all you need to know guide.

Natural chews 

When providing long-lasting chews, natural is the way to go. Chemically processed options have no place here! Another great source of mental stimulation, natural chews are also great for dental health (and that bad breath we talked about earlier).

Some natural chews are very easily chopped into small pieces to be used as training treats, or everyday treats.  Some healthy options for natural chews might be:

dehydrated cow ears

rabbit ears (with or without fur)

dried hooves

venison meaty strips and even

pig’s pizzle (which is exactly what you’re thinking it is!).

Fruits and vegetables 

While raw meat is the number one nutritional need for dogs (as discussed in our raw feeding guide), they do benefit from fruits and vegetables as well. These can be great healthy treats for dogs on diets, as they add a very small number of calories and a ton of nutrition. It’s important to avoid toxic fruits/veggies like grapes, onions, and certain 

mushrooms. Small chunks of carrot, banana, green bean, or a few blueberries are all safe options for your dog to enjoy, but the sky really is the limit here, too. For a complete list, see what foods your dog can eat.  


As dog guardians, we’re responsible for the health and wellbeing of our beloved canine family members. Feeding them a raw food diet is already contributing to this positively, but it’s important to know what treats to give when raw feeding, too.  

For healthy treats that you can feel good about giving (and that your dog will love), check out our healthy training treats for dogs. You’ll find several varieties of nutritious, tasty treats that your canine pal will thank you for with plenty of tail wags!


  1. Cheryl L. Meehan, Joy A. Mench., (Fed 2007). The challenge of challenge: Can problem solving opportunities enhance animal welfare? Applied Animal Behaviour Science. Vol 102, Issues 3–4. doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2006.05.031
  2. Egelberg J., (1965) Local effect of diet on plaque formation and development of gingivitis in dogs. I. Effect of hard and soft diets. Odontol Revy. 16:31-41. PMID: 14281564.

Image Credit: YlaniteKoppens@Pixabay



Sian Moulder

Hi, we received our first delivery of pro dog raw food last week & so far so good – our 2 English Pointers devour it with glee. Also notice poo’s are smaller & less copious so really feel they’re digesting & absorbing more nutrition.
On a separate note – would you consider doing a refill scheme in the near future.
The only downside to feeling the 2 dogs on this raw diet is the number of plastic tubs we get through each week – I know they can be recycled but they’re such sturdy tubs it would be far less wasteful and better for the environment & economically if your were able to reuse them! It wouldn’t cost an awful lost to stack say 14 tubs & lids and pop them in the return post bag for you to re-use.
I do this with things like washing liquid & cleaning products, so I know it works.
Many thanks


Hi Sian
So glad that your Pointers are loving our raw food.
We cant unfortunately take back our tubs,due to DEFRA regulations and it having contained raw meat.
We understand your concern.
ProDog are always on the lookout for more sustainable options. We have spent time looking at alternatives however not yet found one which we can be sure is 100% effective for safe storage and transport of our food.

We have also sought advice from industry experts who advise there simply aren’t adequate facilities in the UK yet to compost large volumes of biodegradable materials, meaning much often still ends up in landfill.

We are aware that other companies have changed packaging but have also had issues with the useability of the packaging, meaning orders arrive with broken packaging, temperature not maintained, and food wasted.

It is part of our long-term vision to one day offer 100% biodegradable packaging but we don’t have a timescale to share on this as yet. Our supplements are now supplied in fully recyclable cardboard containers.

We sadly have not been accepting returns on the yellow tubs since July 2020 due to new restrictions enforced by trading standards as a result of COVID 19.

This is why the yellow tubs are no longer on the returns form. They are fully recyclable so please recycle locally for the foreseeable future.

ProDog treats are rewarded in exchange for the return of wool liners. We require a minimum of 6 liners to be returned at one time, in exchange for one packet of treats.

I’ve shared the link below to our company packaging statement

Many of our customers also advertise them on local for sale and swap pages, and they are usually snapped up for craft uses, so that maybe an option for you also.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *