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Guide to Dog Chews Part II: Yes, Please!

Yesterday we talked about some of the disadvantages of many of the most popular edible dog chews. Today, let's talk about some healthier alternatives. To...

Casey Lomonaco  |  Dec 7th 2010


Yesterday we talked about some of the disadvantages of many of the most popular edible dog chews. Today, let’s talk about some healthier alternatives.

To ensure your pet’s safety, we recommend purchasing natural chews which are made in the U.S.A. or Canada. It is our personal preference to avoid feeding preservatives and artificial flavorings (including smoked flavoring) whenever possible, and to avoid feeding cooked bones (including – especially! – those big huge smoked femurs you’ll find at the pet store).

Bully Sticks

Pros:

  • dogs usually love them
  • all natural
  • long lasting
  • available at most pet stores
  • wear away slowly

Cons:

  • expensive
  • they can be smelly
  • you will blush when your friends as you what they’re made of

Pig’s Ears

Pros:

  • available at most pet stores
  • relatively inexpensive

Cons:

  • Can be chewed into chunks which may present choking risk
  • Can be fatty

Sweet Potato Chews

Pros:

  • Healthy, low fat
  • Can be made at home (baking or dehydrating) or purchased

Cons:

  • Hit or miss – I know a lot of dogs that hate these things. In fact, I live with two of them.

Marrow Bones

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Available at the grocery store
  • Long lasting
  • High value for dogs, especially if given with meat attached!

Cons:

  • Some people are uncomfortable feeding raw bones
  • Not recommended for power chewers, who may break or crack teeth
  • High in fat, very rich – not recommended for dogs who are very overweight or prone to pancreatitis

Antlers

Pros:

  • If you hike often, have friends or family that hunt, you may be able to get these free!
  • Very long lasting
  • Wear away slowly, do not break into chunks

Cons:

  • Can be expensive to purchase
  • Are low value for many dogs

Pressed Rawhide

Pros:

  • Lasts much longer than traditional rawhide
  • Safer than traditional rawhide – less likely to break into large pieces and present choking or digestive hazard
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons:

  • Again, you must check the source – are these products made in the U.S.A. or Canada?

Himalayan Dog Chew

Pros:

  • Dogs love them
  • Relatively long lasting (about the same as a bully stick around here)

Cons:

  • You’ve never heard of them (Click here to learn more)
  • You don’t know where to buy them (search for “Himalayan Dog Chew” online or buy them from one of our favorite pet retailers, Parker’s Pets)
  • Somewhat pricey

In addition to these natural chews, your dog may enjoy chewing on:

  • raw fruits and veggies – apples, carrots, celery stalks, watermelon
  • ice cubes – you can make special doggy ice cubes by freezing canned dog food, low fat yogurt, low sodium chicken broth (especially great when little bits of leftovers are mixed in), all natural (non-sweetened) applesauce, etc.
  • other dehydrated meat products like snouts, trachea (“moo tubes”), tendons, etc. Merrick and Red Barn offer a variety of options.
  • raw meat! As a raw feeder, I give my dogs raw meat and raw meaty bones (RMB) to chew on every day at dinner time! To learn more about raw foods for dogs, visit the Dogster Raw Feeding Forum.