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With so many different options for dog treats, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to figure out what brands, ingredients, or even flavors work best for your Shiba Inu.
The best types of treats for Shiba Inus revolve around short ingredient lists with as many whole foods listed as possible. Wheat is an example of a whole food while wheat flower is a processed non-whole ingredient. The best treats include whole ingredients that also avoid your Shiba’s food allergies.
Through trial, error, research, and a lot of different purchases, I’ve been able to narrow down the vast array of dog treats on the market down to the ones that are the best for Shibas. But before sharing what exact treats I recommend are important, you understand why I picked them.
How Do I Choose A Good Dog Treat?
Every type of dog treat has its use case, like most desserts. Soft-style dog treats are better to use when training your Shiba when compared to dental chews due to their compact yet flavor-packed size, and the fact they usually come in high quantities. While other types of treats, like jerky, are an excellent option to give your pup something tasty and high in protein, but you don’t want to give them too many.
The type of treat you use, and when, isn’t the only thing you want to take a moment to think about. Dogs, Shiba’s included, aren’t able to digest all the different types of chemicals and ingredients we humans can, so treats with shorter ingredient lists are generally some of the best options.
But even a short ingredient list doesn’t mean their the best for you and your Shiba, especially if they have a preexisting food allergy. One of the best places to start when picking out treats for your Shiba Inu is by knowing what ingredient you should try to avoid.
Common Treat Ingredients You Should Avoid
- Artificial coloring
- Artificial flavors
- Artificial sweeteners
- Corn syrup
- Propylene glycol
- Glycerin – generalling “petrochemical” if not specifically listed as vegetable
- Xylitol or any other sugar alcohols
- Brewer’s rice
- Nitrates or nitrites
- Vegetable oil
I do have a few extra things I want to share regarding the list above:
- The organic options of whole ingredients are best when possible.
- Aim for whole ingredients when you can. Wheat is easier for dogs to process compared to wheat flower. A seemingly similar, yet in some cases heavily processed, alternative.
- Avoid sweeteners when possible, especially artificial sweeteners. Your Shiba’s body doesn’t store and process simple, or even complex artificial sweeteners, the same way we people do.
- It’s difficult to avoid most, if not all, of the ingredients on this list without feeding your Shiba raw vegetables. It is safe to feed them treats with a couple of the ingredients above, it just shouldn’t be a staple part of their daily diet.
What Types Of Dog Treats Are There?
Dog treats come in a wide array of colors, shapes, textures, and flavors. Some styles of dog treats are better than others as training rewards, while some are best as a one-off for special occasions. Let me explain.
Animal Bones & Hooves
While many people love the idea of giving their Shiba a bone to chew on, in reality, their far too hard and dangerous to be used as a treat. That’s because hard materials, like most animal bones, hooves, and antlers can lead to a chipped tooth or even splinter, leaving cuts in your dog’s mouth or gut.
These risks escalate dramatically when the bones are cooked, or if they’re poultry bones. Poultry bones, the most common being chicken, are exceptionally dangerous due to the fact their hollow.
Dog treats can come in a hard crunchy style, sometimes called biscuits, and are available in a wide variety of flavors. The size, shape, color, and quality of crunchy treats vary from brand to brand, but one thing that doesn’t change is their popularity.
Crunchy treats are one of the most used styles of dog treats, next to soft dog treats.
A safer alternative to real animal bones, dog dental chews focus on keeping your dog’s “chewing” attention while also working on cleaning their teeth. Dental chews use a mix of safely digestible binders, like corn starch, along with breath freshening agents to scrub a dog’s teeth while also remedying bad breath.
The actual texture of a dental chew is what does all the heavy lifting, wiping away the plaque and tartar from your Shiba’s teeth. It’s critical you pick the right size and “hardness” for your dog’s degree of chewing to reduce the risk of oral injury.
Freeze Dried & Jerky
Freeze-dried and jerky-style dog treats bring a more “human” approach to your dog’s diet and are popular options for those looking to get away from feeding their dog “regular” food, instead of pet food. Similar to the jerky we people eat, freeze-dried and jerky-style dog treats are a great source of additional protein.
Homemade & People Food
Homemade dog treats are an impressively healthy alternative to most dog treats when done right. The hardest thing to get right when it comes to “people food” treats is knowing how much of what you can feed your dog and what your Shiba is and isn’t allergic to.
Overfeeding, or even accidentally feeding your Shiba something their allergic to, is quite common.
Raw hides are a common style of dog treat found in post pet stores or pet related aisles, but that doesn’t make them the best option for your Shiba.
Raw hides are typically treated with a number of chemicals that, when paired with the fact they’re difficult to digest, frequently lead to obstructions and other gut related problems if they’re a frequent option in your dog’s treat diet.
Soft dog treats come in a wide array of shapes, sizes, colors, and levels of quality, similar to crunchy treats. Soft style dog treats are one of the most used types of treats, next to crunchy, and are a universal favorite when training due to their more compact options come in high quantities for affordable prices.
The Best Treats You Can Give Your Shiba Inu
Best Training Treat – Pet Botanics Training Reward
When it comes to training treats, it’s really hard to beat Pet Botanics. The ingredient list is fairly clean while also providing additional vitamins and minerals in a flavor-packed compact size that have been the best training treats I’ve tried. Most bags come with around 500 individual treats, fantastic for frequent training sessions, and generally come in around $15-$20, depending on if they’re on sale or not.
Best Dental Chew – Greenies Dental Chews
Greenies have been a household staple for me and my family for years, even before I got my Shiba Inu, Faith, and that’s continued with her. Their ingredient list is reasonable, has helped keep my dog’s teeth clean, is a blessing when she has bad breath, and has always grabbed my Shiba’s attention. She absolutely loves them.
Best Soft Treat – Rachael Ray Nutrish Burger Bites
A newer treat I started getting recently are Rachael Ray’s nutrish burger bites, and they’re an absolute homerun. They look like mini grilled burgers and have quickly become my Shiba’s favorite thing to beg for. I’ve had a lot of success using them as high-value treats, especially when she’s on her best behavior.
Best Hard Treat – Nature Gnaws Rawhide Alternative
While I use to give family pets raw hides every once in a while, that changed after I got my Shiba, Faith. After getting her, I started doing more and more research on the types of dog foods, treats, and general ingredients I should be looking for, I started passing up raw hides for their alternative for the reasons I listed above in the “types of dog treats” section. My Shiba loves to chew, and if I want to give her a quick snack, I usually reach for these.
Best Treat For Special Occasions – The Bear And Rat Doggy Ice Cream
While I’m no fan of giving pets loads of sweets, I’d be lying If I said I didn’t give my Shiba Inu something special on her birthdays, certain holidays, or when she hits an important training milestone. These peanut butter and banana doggy ice cream cups have become her absolute favorite things. She loves licking the cup around the room while ignoring everybody until it’s empty so she can try getting more.
Best Heath Conscious Treat – A Better Treat Freeze Dried Salmon
For those looking for a limited-ingredient treat that’s about as healthy as you can get, the best brand I’ve found is A Better Treat’s freeze-dried salmon. While most dogs in America have a sensitivity, or food intolerance, to chick and beef due to how it’s processed, that isn’t the case for salmon. And with only 1 ingredient, it’s hard to beat if you’re Shiba is on a limited diet.
Avoid Over-Treating Your Shiba Inu
Another common problem Shiba Inu owners run into is weight gain due to over-treating. Dogs don’t have the luxury of going on a diet, hitting the gym, or taking additional measures to improve their weight loss. If you find out you, or someone else, has accidentally been over-treating your Shiba Inu, take the following steps:
- Reduce the amount and frequency of treats you give your Shiba Inu. Cut meal and treat toppings from their meals if they’ve developed picky eating habits.
- Bring their diet in line with what’s healthy for their size and weight.
- Make sure your Shiba is getting at least one full hour’s worth of play and exercise per day, with easy access to clean drinking water.
Summary Of How To Pick The Best Treats
The absolute best dog treats you can give your Shiba Inu depend on your use case and unique Shiba Inu. if you plan on using them for training, you’ll want to look for a clean yet high-quantity soft treat, like what Pet Botanics offers. But if your Shiba has any food allergies, then you’re options change dramatically depending on how severe those allergies are, both in allergic reaction and the number of allergies.
The best place to start when looking for the right dog treat for your Shiba is by reading the ingredient list. The fewer whole ingredients you find the better, avoid artificial additives and chemicals when you can. Past that we get into the case and you’re unique Shiba’s personal preferences. The list of treats I shared above is a fantastic place to start.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Treat For Shiba Inu?
The best treat for Shiba Inus is hands down A Better Treat’s frozen salmon. With just one ingredient, you don’t have to worry about artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners impacting your pet’s long-term health.
What Snacks Do Shiba Inus like?
Organic raw vegetables like broccoli, carrots, or even green beans are an excellent healthy snack for Shiba Inus in-between meals. Shiba Inus also love meat, and it’s safe to give them a plain, unseasoned, piece of boiled chicken or steak every couple of days. As long as they aren’t allergic to it.
What Ingredients Should I Look Out For In Dog Treats?
Avoid artificial colors, flavors, and especially sweeteners when looking for dog treats. Some additional ingredients you’ll want to avoid when possible include BHA, BHT, brewer’s rice, corn syrup, glycerin, nitrates, nitrites, propylene glycol, salt, sorbitol, TBHQ, xylitol, and vegetable oil.
Which Dog Treats Do Vets Recommend?
Treat recommendations vary from vet to vet for a variety of reasons, the main two being:
1) Does your dog have a pre-existing food allergy?
2) Does your get prefer a holistic approach to pet diets? In both cases, simple raw organic vegetables like carrots and broccoli are frequent recommendations.
What Kind Of Treats Should I Give My Dog?
Most dogs do well when they’re on an organic whole food style of diet, including treats. Things like broccoli and carrots are fantastic options when properly cut to the size of your dog and cleaned. Holistic soft dog treats, like A Better Treat, are also a great option.