If you’ve been paying attention, you probably think the pet food aisle of your supermarket is the worst place to buy dog treats. You’d be right.
But if you stay away from the pet food aisle, you can find dozens of healthy, inexpensive, and safe dog treats in your grocery store.
Why Buy Dog Treats At Your Grocery Store
I can count on one hand the number of good pet supply stores within walking distance of the marinas and anchorages we stay in.
But even if you’re not cruising on a boat with your dog, here are excellent reasons to consider your grocery store the next time you need to buy your dog treats.
- Convenience – Chances are good you’ll be shopping at the grocery store anyway. Why go out of your way?
- Cost – Check the unit cost the next time you buy dog treats. You’ll surprised to find that many human treats cost less per pound than dog treats.
- Safety – Buying human food is no guarantee that it will be safe. But the safeguards for human food are stronger than those in place for pet foods. So your chances of poisoning your dog are lesser than buying dog treats imported from China.
So why not take a look at our list and see if some of these treats might work for your pup?
Best Cheap And Safe Dog Treats At Your Supermarket
You can find good dog treats in many sections of the grocery store (excluding the pet food aisle).
Meat & Seafood
Turkey Hot Dogs
- Freeze the pack. You can run cold water over a single hot dog and separate it off before refreezing the rest.
- Slice hot dogs thin and dehydrate in the oven at 170° F on a cookie sheet. When they puff up in the middle, they’re done.
- If fat and salt is a concern for your dog, boil them in a pot of water before freezing them on a cookie sheet.
- Once cut into small slices, hot dogs last 2-3 days in the fridge.
- Slice it thin and dehydrate in the oven at 170° F on a cookie sheet. When dried to the consistency of shoe leather, store in the fridge.
- Note that your house will smell like cruel death while preparing them. But your dog will be in nose heaven.
- It is greasy to handle. But it’s easy to freeze little pieces for easier handling during training.
- Most dogs adore liverwurst. An excellent high-value treat. But use sparingly.
- Salmon makes a great stinky treat for nose work games.
- Look for sales on salmon during the holidays. It comes in small packages of a few ounces.
- Use a kitchen scissors to cut it into small slices.
- You can save money by frying your own bacon too.
- Buy thick-cut baloney in the lunch meat section.
- Or ask your deli to slice it into thick sections.
- The easiest way to prepare chicken is by putting cheap cuts in the crock pot and cooking at a low temperature until it falls off the bone.
- Freeze the resulting broth to make “pupsicles” or save for another recipe.
Fruits & Vegetables
Carrots – Slice and store in ice water so they stay crispy.
Apple Slices – Slice and spritz with lemon juice to keep them from browning. But most dogs aren’t bothered by brown spots.
Bananas – Slice them fresh for soft treats or use dried banana bits for crunchy treats.
Sweet Potatoes – Peel or wash with the skins on. Dehydrate in the oven at 170° F on a cookie sheet
Blueberries – Wash first.
Sweet Peppers – Slice into small bites.
Frozen Green Beans – Buy the thick beans, not french cut.
Frozen Peas – The perfect size for tiny treats.
Watermelon – Even the rind is edible.
Frozen Squash – Messy as a hand treat. But a great addition to a Kong.
Canned Pumpkin – Excellent combined with other items to stuff a Kong.
Tangerine – Some dogs love sections of seedless tangerines.
Cheese – Don’t overdo it. Cheese gives some dogs diarrhea.
Yogurt – Mixed with pumpkin or peanut butter, it makes a good frozen treat.
Hard Boiled Egg – The yolks are messy but eggs make a good, soft training treat.
Popcorn – Don’t add butter or salt. Air popped is healthiest.
Chick Peas – Good straight out of the can. Or roast in the oven for a crunchier texture.
Oat O’s Cereal – Not a high value treat. But inexpensive and some dogs enjoy them.
Dried Banana Chips – Dehydrate your own to save money.
Crunchy Rice Cereal – A perfect size for training treats.
Asian Rice Snacks – Read the ingredient list to make sure they are not spicy or overly salted.
Jerky – Available in the snack section in beef and turkey.
Peanut Butter – An excellent addition to yogurt for frozen treats. Or a good way to hide medications.
Oatmeal – More digestible than rice. A good option for a bland diet with ground turkey or chicken.
What Are The Best Treats For Your Dog
Before adding these items to your grocery list, ask yourself the following questions:
What does my dog like?
Honey doesn’t like every item on this list. While she loves watermelon and tangerines, she turns her nose up at apple and blueberries.
So before stocking up on an item, check to see if your dog actually likes it.
While liverwurst is like doggie crack for most pups, some just don’t care for it. And if your pup doesn’t like it, you’ll be stuck eating it.
How will I be using the treats?
Do you want treats as training rewards? Snacks between meals? High-value treats for difficult training? Or something you can stuff into a Kong and freeze?
Different treats fit different uses. For instance, small and soft treats work well for training. Stinky treats are good for hiding.
What foods do my dog tolerate?
Some dogs have more sensitive digestive systems than others. You know better than anyone what is a healthy food for your pup.
Buying Healthy Treats For Your Dog Wherever You Are
When I find an independent pet store that features excellent products and food within walking distance of the shore, I shop there. It’s important to support local businesses that offer good products for pets.
But I don’t see any reason to go out of my way to buy treats at a pet chain. Especially not one that discriminates against some breeds or sells puppies and kittens from mills.
Good thing the supermarket has so many great options for safe and healthy treats for my dog.
Your Turn: What are your favorite grocery store treats for your dog?