10+ Low Calorie Dog Treats

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If you do a lot of training with your dog, you know the importance of high value, low calorie dog treat options. It can be a serious struggle for pet parents to not add on too many extra calories that may cause our dog’s to gain weight, or may unbalance their diet.

And though higher calorie treat options – like hotdogs, and cheddar cheese may be good options for certain situations (like with high stress behavior modification). Overall we want to limit these ultra high calorie options, and instead choose lower calorie alternatives. But don’t worry – you won’t have to convince your pup that a cucumber is an appropriate reward. There are a ton of low-calorie dog treat options that your pup will love!

Over-treating our dogs can lead to:

  1. Weight Gain, which can lead to systemic inflammation and decreased lifespan
  2. An unbalanced diet, which can cause nutrient deficiencies OR excess that can cause/exacerbate certain diseases or conditions.

Make sure to check out the end of this post for recommendations on the amount of treats to give your dog based on their activity level and weight!

#1 PupFord Freeze Dried Rabbit Treats

Calories per Treat: 1 kcal
Ingredients: Rabbit
Texture: Crunchy
Protein: 60% Dry Matter
Fat: 24% Dry Matter
Freeze Dried Raw, use irradiation to remove pathogens, along with third-party testing for pathogens with a positive release program.

Pupford has created a line of single calorie training treats for dogs. These low calorie dog treats come in several different flavoring including: rabbit, beef heart & liver, chicken, salmon, sweet potato and blueberry! Each bag you purchase has almost 475 treats, which is an awesome value. And at only 1 calorie each, these are perfect for longer training sessions, and small breed dogs – who need less calorically dense options.

  • For Dogs with Food Allergies: Rabbit, Salmon may be good options
  • Low Protein Options: Blueberry
  • Low Fat Options: Sweet Potato & Blueberry

#2 PureBites Freeze Dried Minnows

Calories per Treat: 1 kcal
Ingredients: Minnows
Texture: Crunchy
Protein: 70% Dry Matter
Fat: 3% Dry Matter
Freeze Dried Raw Treats, HPP, test and hold for pathogens.

Though these single ingredient treats say they are for cats – trust me when I say they are a great dog treat option! At just one calorie each, they are an excellent low calorie dog treat option for small breed dogs, puppies, or dogs who need longer training sessions. And their fishy smell works as an excellent attention-grabber for behavior modification or luring. These treats are freeze-dried and contain no preservatives or other added ingredients. And they may a great low-calorie treat for dogs who need to loose weight. They are also naturally low in fat, so they can be a great option for dogs who need to keep their diet lean.

PureBites also makes a variety of other flavors including: chicken breast, duck, turkey, beef liver, lamb. However all of these treats are slightly higher in calories at 2-3 calories a piece. This is would be best to break them into smaller pieces to keep them at 1 calorie a piece.

#3 Redbarn Cheddar Protein Puffs

Calories per Treat: 1 kcal
Ingredients: Dried Milk Protein, Dried Cheese, Salt, Turmeric, Mixed Tocopherols (A Preservative).
Texture: Crunchy
Protein: 75% Dry Matter
Fat: 2% Dry Matter
Baked treats.

Almost every dog loves the taste of cheese as a treat – the issue it that often the calories of these treats are so high we can’t use them for training regularly. Enter Redbarn’s Protein Puffs – the perfect cheesy low calorie dog treat option. These milk protein puffs have that cheesy flavor dogs love, but can be used throughout longer training sessions since they are only one calorie each!

  • For Dogs with Food Allergies: recipes are poultry & beef-free

Some dogs may not tolerate these treats if they are lactose intolerant. Introduce treats slowly and monitor your pet’s stools to see how they respond to this treat.

#4 Orijen Freeze Dried Regional Red Cat Treats

Calories per Treat: 1 kcal
Ingredients: Beef liver, lamb liver, wild boar liver, goat, wild boar, lamb, goat liver, beef, goat kidney, goat tripe, beef kidney, wild boar heart, beef tripe, lamb kidney, lamb tripe, mixed tocopherols (preservative), citric acid (preservative), rosemary extract
Texture: Crunchy
Protein: 41% Dry Matter
Fat: 41% Dry Matter
Freeze dried raw, test and hold for pathogens

I know the package says “cat”, but trust me when I say these are the perfect single calorie dog treat! These actually have all the same ingredients as the Orijen freeze dried dog treats, just in a smaller package. Making them the perfect low calorie dog training treats for dogs who are doing longer training secessions, behavioral modification training, or for small breed / obese prone done who need to watch their treat intake. These treats also come in a variety of flavors including: Red Meat (regional), Chicken (original), Fish (six fish), Duck/Venison (tundra), Wild Boar and Lamb.

  • For Dogs with Food Allergies: Six Fish, Wild Boar or Lamb may be good options

#5 Honest Kitchen Beef & Salmon Meaty Littles

Calories per Treat: 2 kcal – break in half for single calorie treat
Ingredients: Beef, chickpeas, salmon (a natural soure of DHA), coconut glycerin, apple cider vinegar, celery juice, beef bone broth, sea salt, mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative).
Texture: Semi-soft
Protein: 35% Dry Matter
Fat: 20% Dry Matter
Slow baked treats, test and hold for pathogens

When we consider treats for our dogs texture can be a huge benefit. A semi-moist treat is often easier to eat, and is tastier for our pups. But the challenge is most semi-moist treats are tiny and 3-5 calories a piece! These semi-moist training treats by Honest Kitchen are lower in calories (at 2 calories a piece) and easy to break into two pieces to create a single calorie treat option. Making then an excellent low calorie dog treat option for our pups!

Not to mention that Honest Kitchen’s diets and treats are all human-grade, meaning that ingredients are kept in the human food chain from start to end – using not just human-grade ingredients, but manufacturing facilities and transportation that meets human food standards. These treats are a great option for puppies and adult dogs who need a tasty training treat, that is low in calorie.

#6 Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Chicken Treats

Calories per Treat: 2 kcals – break in half for 1 kcal each
Ingredients: Pearled barley, oat flour, dried chicken liver, chicken meal, chicken fat, salt, mixed tocopherols (preservative), rosemary extract.
Texture: Crunchy
Protein: 21% Dry Matter
Fat: 10% Dry Matter
Baked Treats.

The preferred treat of the AKC and designed by professional dog trainers! The perfect size for training, with no artificial colors or flavors. These chicken treats are the perfect treat healthy larger-breed dogs doing trick training or obedience training. At just two calories each these are a great low calorie dog training treat option! But if using with smaller breed dogs, breaking these treats in half is likely a good idea to create a single calorie dog treat option. Also a healthier option to that of beef liver, as they are naturally lower in copper and vitamin A – so less likely to cause nutrient excess.

#7 Jiminy’s Good Grub Peanut Butter Treat

Calories per Treat: 3 kcals – break into thirds for less than 1 kcal each
Ingredients: Oats, Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae, Vegetable Glycerin, Molasses, Pumpkin, Flaxseed Oil, Peanut Butter, Vegetable Gelatin, Cranberry, Salt, Tapioca Starch, Brewers Yeast, Cultured Whey, Distilled Vinegar.
Texture: Semi Moist
Protein: 21% Dry Matter
Fat: 13% Dry Matter
Baked Treats.

These insect training treats are probably some of the most innovative products on the market – using a new novel protein source – Black Soldier Fly Larvae. If you are looking for a unique low calorie dog treat that is semi-moist and your dog will LOVE, you have to try these. The little square treats can be broken into four mini treats for longer training sessions (at less than 1 calorie each!). Or can be kept larger for our big dogs.

You can also try to Cricket, Oat and Pumpkin Treats!

#8 Stella & Chewy Duck Carnivore Crunch

Calories per Treat: 3 kcals – break in half for 1.5 calorie treat.
Ingredients: Duck with ground bone, turkey, turkey liver, goose, turkey gizzard, pumpkin seed, tocopherols (preservative)
Texture: Crunchy
Protein: 42% Dry Matter
Fat: 34% Dry Matter
Freeze-Dried Training Treats, Test and Hold or Pathogens, HPP

The Stella and Chewy Freeze-Dried Raw treats clock in at 3 calories a piece, and can be fairly easily broken into tiny individual treats for training purposes – making them an outstanding low calorie dog treat option. And with both a high protein and high fat content they are a great treat for picky pups and fussy eaters.

These freeze-dried raw treats also use a combination of high pressure pasteurization (HPP), third party testing for pathogens, and a test and hold procedure to make sure raw freeze-dried products are free of pathogens prior to leaving their facility so you can feel confident about feeding them to your pup!

Stella and Chewy Carnivore Crunch Treats also come in a Beef, Chicken and Duck recipe.

#9 Just Food For Dogs Chicken Breast Treats

Calories per Treat: 84 kcal/oz (this is about 1/2 cup of treats)
Ingredients: Chicken Breast
Texture: Crunchy
Protein: 87% Dry Matter
Fat: 6% Dry Matter
Baked Treats

Do you want a ton of treats for in one bag? Then check out the Just Food For Dogs Chicken breast treats. Unlike other chicken breast options where individual treats at 2-3 calories a piece. One dime-sized piece is less than 1 calorie! And the great news is this low calorie dog treat is just one ingredient, without added additives or preservatives. The Chicken Breast treats are also naturally low in fat, so perfect for dogs with fat intolerances.

After opening these treats should live in either you freezer or your fridge. But they can be taken out for long training sessions without the residue usually associated with fresh food.

All Just Food For Dogs treats are made with human grade ingredients, and simply baked low and slow over several hours to dehydrate. Other alternative low calorie proteins include the Just Food For Dogs Venison Treats!

#10 Honest Kitchen Whitefish Fillet

Calories per Treat: 28 calories per Fillet – can be broken into 30 or more treats for 1 kcal or less each
Ingredients: Whitefish
Texture: Crunchy
Protein: 90% Dry Matter
Fat: 3% Dry Matter
Baked Treats

The Honest Kitchen Whitefish fillets are a great simple not-fuss treat. Simply bring one bar on a walk, and break up into upwards of 30 or more treats for your pup for only 28 calories! This is a superb low calorie dog treat for those that hate measuring out treats and have a small to medium sized dog. The Whitefish fillets are about one inch by four inches long and have a crunchy texture. They are also extra-fishy so great for picky and fussy eaters or those with allergies to chicken or beef.

Depending on finger-strength you might need to put the treat into a baggie and break it apart with a mallet prior to leaving the house. But personally I love these treats kept whole as a lure for my large breed dogs. They can lick, sniff or nibble at the bar as a lure them away from distractions, onto new rehabilitation equipment, or motivate them on a treadmill!

The importance of a Balanced Diet and using low calorie dog treats.

The importance of a Balanced Diet

According to board-certified veterinary nutritionist, they recommend that no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories come from unbalanced sources. This would include treats, additions (like fresh fruits/veggies), chews and even supplements!

The main reason for this is that most manufactured dog foods have a bit of “wiggle room” built in, allowing for you to feed about 10-20% less than the recommended amounts. Thus allowing for you to reduce a portion of the balanced diet and add in a portion of treats without unbalancing the recipe significantly. However once we start getting over that 10% mark – you are basically diluting the nutrients NOT in the treat you are giving.

Let me give you an example:

If your dog’s daily caloric needs are 1000 calories per day, and you give 30% (or 300 calories) of that as chicken breast, and 700 calories of that as a balanced diet. You are adding in a food that is an excellent source of lean protein (amino acids), and phosphorus. However you are not adding in really any calcium, zinc, copper, vitamin E, vitamin A, selenium, manganese… Which means you just reduced all those vitamins and minerals by 30%. Now assuming your dog’s balanced diet was 10% over on these requirements – you now have potential 20% deficiency of all these nutrients NOT found within the chicken breast.

If done occasionally this probably wouldn’t cause harm, however if done chronically over time your dog could develop deficiencies that may lead to series health outcomes. And with certain foods like beef liver which is very high in copper, or salmon which is very high in vitamin D – you could unintentionally cause/exacerbate conditions like liver disease due to nutrient excess.

How much is to much?

Below is a chart on how many calories (estimated) your dog can get from unbalanced foods each day depending on their activity. The typical “low calorie” treat for dogs can range between 4 to 15 calories each. So you can see how those options can fairly easily add up. Especially if you are also giving dental chews as well which range from 25 to 250 calories depending on size.

This is why I recommend if you are doing ANY training with unbalanced foods to focus on high value treats that your dog loves that are only 1 calorie a piece. It’s a tall order, but don’t worry – you have a lot of options.

Calories from Treats Per Day

Weight lbsWeight kgsWeight LossLow ActivityModerate ActivityHigh Activity
52.514172228
10523283747
157.532385163
201039476379
2512.547567493
3015536485107
3517.5607296120
40206679106132
4522.57287116145
50257894125157
5527.584101134168
603090108144179
6532.595114152191
7035101121161201
7537.5106127170212
8040111134178223
8542.5117140186233
9045122146195243
9547.5127152203253
10050132158211263

Over 10 LOW calorie dog treats your dog will love. All treats are all natural with no added artificial preservatives or flavors. The perfect healthy treat option for long training sessions, reactivity training, or puppy classes.

About the Author: Nikki is a Registered Veterinary Technician (Veterinary Nurse) and Dog Mom with over a decade of experience with dogs and cats. Since graduation from college (BS Biology, AS Animal Health -2013) she has adopted two mixed breed dogs – Ranger and Ash, and has focused her time learning about pet food and nutrition.

Nikki shares information on a range of dog nutrition topics: from how to create a homemade complete and balanced dog food recipes, to how to choose a dog food. Nikki strives to give dog parents the information they need in order to make the best nutrition decisions for their pup!

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10 thoughts on “10+ Low Calorie Dog Treats

  1. This is an amazing post. I had no idea there were so many healthy and helpful dog treats on the market, especially those that look for new and innovative sources. I think we foten forget that some treats are very calorific and they need to be balanced with a healthy diet.

    1. It’s amazing how many low-calorie dog treat options there are! I think it’s just hard because most aren’t the most “popular” brands or the most “obvious” choices since many aren’t actually labeled as “training treats”.

  2. Great information on healthy dog treats, especially when training. I know when I’ve been in a heavy training mode with Henry and trying to teach a new or difficult trick, I’ve opted for freeze dried salmon treats. But you’re right, I also break each treat down into tiny little bites so he does increase his calories a lot during this time. Interesting you have pulled cat treats. I’ve often wondered if some would work for Henry. They looked like they would be fine, but being marked “cat” always gives me pause. Just like I didn’t give my cats anything marked “dog”. Thanks for going over that one. Your chart for calories by weight is also very helpful. I’m sharing with all my dog parents!

  3. You’re so right, it’s easy to pack on the calories with a lot of packaged treats. This is a Great collection of low calorie treats, & excellent brands too. I especially like the Minnow and white fish treats!

    1. I’ve switched a majority of our treats over to balanced diet options because both my dogs do such a large amount of training each day ( one dog is rehabilitation/fitness and the other has reactivity ), but for those really high-value “asks” – I like having some of these single protein treat options. I really need to do a post on emergency kits for dogs on fresh food diets! I know we have the JFFD Tetra-packed and Honest Kitchen Tetra-packed in our kits.

  4. Glad to see so many low-calorie, healthy treats. We’ve been using dehydrated or freeze-dried meats and organ meats for years now–very popular.

    Our dogs are so spoiled that when recently veterinarian offered Cookie their treat, she gently took it and spat it out.

    When I want to reduce calorie density in treats, I used cooked meat instead of dehydrated. Messier, but due to higher water content, inherently lower in calories.

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