when can puppies have treats and what to give them

When Can Puppies Have Treats & What to Give Them

Puppies are bundles of joy and energy, but when it comes to feeding them treats, we know many of you will face uncertainty. That’s why we have delved deep into the weeds of puppy treat feeding, so you can be rest assured you are feeding your pup the right treats and the right stage.

Key Summary

  • Introduce simple, age-appropriate treats to puppies from 8 weeks onward.


  • Many human foods, like chocolates and grapes, are toxic to puppies.


  • Treats aid in training, dental health, bonding, and can be nutritionally beneficial.

Understanding Puppy Treats

When you first get a puppy, the excitement often drives us to pamper them with love, care, and treats, however, giving treats, especially human foods, to young puppies without proper knowledge can be detrimental. 


Around the age of 8 weeks, you can consider introducing a treat to your puppy, ideally, this should be a simple treat with one or just a few ingredients. Starting with treats that have no more than three ingredients can help ease them into the new dietary addition without overwhelming their delicate digestive system.


It is, however, important to be aware of the various foods we might see as treats but are dangerous for puppies. A prime example includes chocolates and grapes. These foods, though harmless for us, can be deadly for our canine companions.

𝐢 Top Tip: Caution with treats doesn’t mean none at all. Treats are the perfect training tool for young pups, as long as they are age-appropriate and nutritional!

When Can a Puppy Have Treats?

The excitement of having a new puppy and how to care for them, often brings along a lot of questions, especially when it comes to their diet. You’ll want to know when is the right time to introduce treats, and at what age they can have treats, particularly given that a puppy’s dietary needs and sensitivities vary considerably compared to that of an adult dog. 


Introducing treats requires a blend of timing, choice, and occasion; let’s take a closer look.

Age-Appropriate Introduction

dog looking at the food treats

By the time a puppy turns 8 weeks old, they're ready for a new culinary adventure. This is an age where their digestive system has matured enough to start processing foods other than their mother's milk or puppy formula. 


When introducing treats, it's ideal to opt for ones with a single ingredient or limited ingredients. Limiting the ingredient list to no more than three is a safe bet. This minimalist approach ensures that if there's any allergic reaction or stomach upset, the cause can be easily identified. Puppies have sensitive tummies, and an overload of new ingredients can be overwhelming, potentially leading to digestive issues.

Scenarios for Giving Treats

Treats aren't just little bits of food; they serve functional purposes that go beyond exciting the taste buds. You do, however, want to give treats at the right time to avoid your dog just wanting treats and not eating their actual food


Here's when and why treats can be beneficial for your puppy:


During their early months, treats play a pivotal role in training puppies. They act as positive reinforcement for commands, from basic ones like "sit" to more intricate tricks, reinforcing the bond between obedience and rewards.


Grooming can be daunting for pups. Whether it's their first nail trim or bath, treats help ease their apprehension. Offering treats during grooming not only diverts their attention but also fosters a positive grooming association.


Teething is a tough period for puppies, filled with discomfort and a strong urge to chew. Edible teething treats can be a boon during this time, addressing their need to gnaw and providing gum 


Benefits of Dog Treats

When chosen wisely and given in moderation, treats can offer various advantages for your puppy, both in terms of their well-being and your relationship with them. Here’s some key benefits to giving your dog a treat that goes beyond just the taste!

Behaviour Reinforcement

One of the primary uses of treats in a dog's life is for behaviour reinforcement. Puppies can have treats when training as they are invaluable tools for maintaining consistency. Every time a pup successfully obeys a command or showcases positive behaviour, rewarding them with a treat reinforces that action. 


Over time, this association between good behaviour and a tasty reward helps to establish and reinforce training commands as well as reduce unwanted behaviours.

Skill Development

Beyond the basics of sit, stay, and fetch, treats can be used to teach a whole heap of tricks and commands. 


Want your dog to learn a fancy spin, roll over, or even assist in chores like fetching the newspaper? Introducing treats as rewards during these training sessions can expedite the learning process. The promise of a delicious reward can motivate even the most stubborn pups to pick up new skills.

Dental Health

Dental health is a vital aspect of a dog’s overall well-being, often overlooked by many pet owners. Certain dog treats are specifically designed to improve dental health. 


These dual purpose snacks can help to remove plaque and tartar buildup, stimulate saliva production, and even freshen breath to ensure your pup has tip top oral health!


We all know sharing is caring, and with this in mind, giving your pup a treat helps with the bonding process.  Offering a treat is not just a simple act of feeding; it's a moment of connection. 


Giving your pup treats can help to build trust, particularly useful with new puppies or rescue dogs, establish your position as the provider, and offer opportunities for gentle petting, as well as create positive associations. 


While treats should never replace a balanced diet, some are fortified with essential nutrients that can supplement your dog’s regular meals. When selecting treats, look for ones that:


  • Contain essential vitamins and minerals.

  • Have natural ingredients without harmful additives.

  • Support specific needs, such as joint health or skin and coat nourishment.

How to Introduce Treats to a Puppy

Introducing treats to your puppy marks an exciting developmental stage, but, like many things in a pup's life, it demands caution and patience.

Begin Gradually

Ease your puppy into the world of treats. Opt for single or limited-ingredient treats initially, minimising the risk to their developing digestive system and helping pinpoint allergies.

Observation is Key

Monitor your puppy closely after offering a new treat. Symptoms like inconsistent stool, excessive scratching, lethargy, or increased thirst can signal intolerance. Should these arise, halt the treat and consult a vet.

Change with Care

Once your pup adjusts to a treat with no adverse effects, change their treat options slowly. This phased transition helps identify any unsuitable ingredients.

Practice Moderation

Treats should be a delight, not a dietary staple. As persuasive as their pleading eyes might be, refrain from overindulging them. Ensure treats account for a minor fraction of their daily calories.

Puppy Treats Timeline

Age Type of Treats
8-10 weeks Single ingredient treats, soft chews.
3-4 months Biscuits, dental chews, larger soft chews.
5-7 months Training treats, freeze-dried treats.
8-12 months Any puppy-specific treat, some adult dog treats (in moderation).

What Treats Can I Give My Puppy?

Navigating the expansive world of dog treats can be daunting, especially when choosing the best for your young pup. While there's a tempting array of options available, not all treats are created equal. Here's a guide to help you pick the right treat for your puppy.

Puppy-specific vs. Adult Dog Treats

Many adult dog treats are unsuitable for puppies due to their ingredients, size and chewability, so puppy-specific treats tend to be best. That doesn’t mean adult treats are totally off limits for your pup though as some are suitable from 8 weeks to adult, check the size and ingredients to be sure. 

Key Factors to Consider

When selecting treats for your pup, here are essential aspects to keep in mind:


Treats can be more than just a tasty indulgence; they can also be nutritionally beneficial. Look for treats that are fortified with essential nutrients vital for a puppy's growth, such as calcium and phosphorus.


The size of the treat matters, especially for puppies. Offering a treat too large can pose a choking hazard, while something too small might be swallowed whole without much chewing.


Young puppies have relatively tender gums and evolving teeth, therefore it's essential to select treats that are soft and easy to chew to avoid hurting their gums or damaging emerging adult teeth. 

Healthy Treat Recommendations

If you are looking for ingredients that would work well for your pup treats, consider foods such as sweet potatoes that are soft and easy on teeth, liver that is nutritious and tasty, or peanuts that are high in protein.  You could even consider making some pet snacks yourself!

Toxic Puppy Foods

Whilst many foods might seem appealing to humans, they can sometimes be harmful to your precious pup. Here are some foods that are toxic for dogs: 

Foods Reason for Toxicity
Chocolates Contains theobromine, harmful to dogs.
Grapes/Raisins Can cause kidney failure in dogs.
Alcohol Depresses the nervous system in dogs.
Onions/Garlic Damages red blood cells, causing anaemia.
Xylitol (Sweetener) Causes rapid insulin release, leading to hypoglycemia.
Avocado Contains Persin, harmful to dogs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many treats can a puppy have per day?

The number of treats a puppy should have daily varies based on their size, age, and overall diet. Typically, treats should make up no more than 10% of a puppy's daily caloric intake.

Can puppies have dog treats?

While some adult dog treats might be suitable, we would always recommend using puppy specific treats. Whatever treats you choose, always ensure they are of an appropriate size and don’t contain any harmful ingredients.


In the journey of raising a healthy, happy puppy, treats play a significant role. From aiding in training to reinforcing positive behaviour, they have plenty of benefits. 


It can be a scary time taking care of a young puppy, and you will often have questions and concerns but when it comes to when puppies can have treats and what to give the, When wondering when, remember to start at around 8 weeks of age, be cautious with the ingredients, and always prioritise your puppy’s health and safety.


For tasty but nutritious treats, try our range of exciting snacks that are perfectly formulated for your puppy!

Related Articles