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10 Best Rawhide Alternatives for Dogs In 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks 

Written by: Matt Jackson

Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Dogster Team

10 Best Rawhide Alternatives for Dogs In 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks 

A dog and it's antler A brown and white dog lying on it's bed chewing on a deer antler While some owners swear by rawhide chews, because they are especially good at keeping power chewers busy for hours at a time, many owners refuse to use them. Some manufacturers use chemicals like bleach and hydrogen peroxide to remove the color and leave a pale chew. And, even if the chews are made using chemical-free techniques, their texture means pieces can break off and cause a choking hazard.

If you’re concerned about these factors, there are alternatives, and, below, we look at the best rawhide alternatives for dogs. Chews that will still keep your dog busy but without the chemicals or the choking hazard potential.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Bones & Chews Bully Stick 6” Dog Treats Bones & Chews Bully Stick 6” Dog Treats
  • Low in fat and high in protein
  • Easily digestible
  • Generally beloved by dogs
  • Best Value
    Second place
    SmartBones Skin & Coat Care Chicken SmartBones Skin & Coat Care Chicken
  • Formulated to assist in good coat care
  • Cheap
  • Suitable texture for milder chewers
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Himalayan Pet Supply Himalayan Dog Chew Original Yak Himalayan Pet Supply Himalayan Dog Chew Original Yak
  • Suitable for power chewers
  • Appealing smell and flavor
  • Can help with dental care
  • Nylabone Healthy Edibles Puppy Natural Lamb Nylabone Healthy Edibles Puppy Natural Lamb
  • Fortified with DHA omega 3 for brain and eye development
  • Flavored with apple and lamb
  • Suitable for puppies aged 3 months and older
  • Bones & Chews Pig Ear Chews Dog Treats Bones & Chews Pig Ear Chews Dog Treats
  • Single-ingredient, natural chews
  • Can last hours
  • Easily digestible protein source
  • The 10 Best Rawhide Alternatives for Dogs

    1. Bones & Chews Bully Stick Dog Treats – Best Overall

    Bones & Chews

    • Main Ingredient: Beef Pizzle
    • Total Weight: 6 Ounces

    Beef pizzle is the penis of a bull, which may sound strange but it makes good, long-lasting dog chews and it also uses more of the animal, which makes it a more sustainable alternative to beef chews.

    Bones & Chews Bully Stick 6” Dog Treats are made from a single ingredient, which is twisted, dried, and cut. The sticks are all approximately 6 inches in length and a single pack of these treats contains six chews. Because these are natural chews, the size can vary a little, and so too can the texture, which means that one pack might contain chews that will last hours while others might last less time. However, the bully sticks do not shatter in the same way rawhide does and most dogs love them.

    You will need to limit the number you feed, typically to one or two a week, however, as they do contain a lot of calories. But they are digestible, low in fat, high in protein, and their popularity with our canine friends makes them the best available rawhide alternative for dogs.

    • Low in fat and high in protein
    • Easily digestible
    • Generally beloved by dogs
    • Size and texture are somewhat unpredictable
    • High in calories

    2. SmartBones Skin & Coat Care Dog Treats – Best Value

    • Main Ingredient: Corn, Chicken, Sorbitol
    • Total Weight: 10 Ounces

    If your dog is a light to moderate chewer, it doesn’t necessarily need the toughness of rawhide or a bully stick. But that doesn’t mean it won’t benefit from being given a chewy treat every now and again. Chew treats can help with dental care, although they are only ever a supplement to regular brushing and dental check-ups. They also keep the dog entertained and can help prevent the unwanted chewing of furniture and household items.

    SmartBones Skin & Coat Care Chicken Chews Dog Treats are made from corn and chicken, which means they are a lot softer than the tougher alternatives. They also contain more ingredients as they are fortified with vitamins and minerals and are formulated to specifically help with coat care.

    The SmartBones Skin & Coat Care Chicken Chews Dog Treats are inexpensive and while they won’t last as long as a rawhide chew, they are safe and they are seemingly tasty, making them the best rawhide alternatives for dogs for the money. Each chew contains approximately 40 calories, so don’t get carried away feeding them too often; they can be quite rich, so you may want to start by feeding half a chew at a time.

    • Formulated to assist in good coat care
    • Cheap
    • Suitable texture for milder chewers
    • Won’t last long for power chewers
    • Can be a bit rich for delicate tummies

    3. Himalayan Pet Supply Original Yak Dog Chews – Premium Choice

    • Main Ingredient: Yak Cheese
    • Total Weight: 20 Ounces

    If you do have a power chewer, buying cheap chews can prove to be a false economy. They can work through most chews in a matter of minutes, which is why rawhide chews are still popular with dog owners. Himalayan Pet Supply Himalayan Dog Chew Original Yak Cheese Dog Chews are a good compromise.

    Yak milk, which might be combined with some cow’s milk, is combined with a small amount of salt before the cheese is hardened, compressed, and then dried. The process leaves a tough block that has an appealing smell and flavor but that will endure even the most vigorous of chewers and the sharpest of teeth. They can also help with dental care because several hours of chewing will help remove plaque and tartar buildup.

    These yak milk treats are expensive, but they will last for hours, and while they look boring and unappealing, they are very palatable. They are made from cheese, however, which means that lactose-intolerant dogs may suffer gas or other gastrointestinal complaints after consuming them.

    • Suitable for power chewers
    • Appealing smell and flavor
    • Can help with dental care
    • Expensive
    • Not suitable for lactose-intolerant dogs

    4. Nylabone Healthy Edibles Long Lasting Dog Chew Treats – Best for Puppies

    • Main Ingredient: Wheat Starch, Vegetable Glycerin, Pea Protein
    • Total Weight: 6 Ounces

    Like teething toddlers, puppies love to chew. They mouth people, nibble at one another, and they will chew at furniture and other items around the house if they aren’t given something to concentrate their chewing escapades on. But, you don’t want to give them rawhide because this incessant chewing can cause sharp splinters to break off and cause injury or pose a choking hazard.

    Nylabone Healthy Edibles Puppy Long Lasting Chew Treats are designed to have a chewable texture that will keep your puppy busy for hours at a time. The lamb and apple flavor should appeal to most puppies, and the treats are formulated with omega 3 for eye and brain development.

    A pack contains eight chews and is reasonably priced, but the ingredients can cause staining so you will want to keep them away from furniture and light carpets. They are suitable for puppies older than 3 months, but you will need to keep an eye out and remove the chew if sharp edges are formed.

    • Fortified with DHA omega 3 for brain and eye development
    • Flavored with apple and lamb
    • Suitable for puppies aged 3 months and older
    • Can stain furniture
    • Sharp edges can form

    5. Bones & Chews Pig Ear Chews Dog Treats

    • Main Ingredient: Pig Ears
    • Total Weight: 3 Ounces

    Pig ears are a fairly well-known and popular treat with some dogs and their owners, although their texture and appearance also put some owners off.

    Like other single-ingredient natural treats, Bones & Chews Pig Ear Chews Dog Treats can be used for dogs with allergies and food reactions and may even be given as part of an elimination diet. They are long-lasting and reasonably priced, but these are natural treats which means that the size and even the condition of the ears can be somewhat unpredictable, with some pig ears even having tattoos from the pigs.

    Do keep an eye on your dog while it is eating pig ears to make sure they don’t attempt to swallow large sections and to ensure that sharp sections of the ear don’t break off and cause a hazard.

    • Single-ingredient, natural chews
    • Can last hours
    • Easily digestible protein source
    • Unpredictable quality and size
    • Can splinter

    6. Petstages Dogwood Tough Dog Chew Toy

    • Main Ingredient: Polypropylene, Wood
    • Total Weight:5 Ounces

    If you’re looking for an alternative to rawhide because you don’t want your dog creating potentially sharp edges and digesting splinters of dog treats, the Petstages Dogwood Tough Dog Chew Toy is a good alternative. It is especially beneficial for dogs that love to chew heavily as it is made of a combination of real wood and synthetic materials. The synthetic materials prevent the wood from splintering, while the natural wood is appealing to dogs’ tastes.

    It is a reasonably priced and long-lasting dog chew toy but it isn’t indestructible and after heavy chewing, the toy may produce wood splinters that not only need clearing up but can also cause cuts and injuries in your dog’s mouth, so you will need to keep an eye on your pup while it chews.

    • Reasonable price
    • Long-lasting
    • Suitable for power chewers
    • Can splinter
    • May not be as appealing as natural animal-based products

    7. Top Dog Chews Buffalo Tendon Taffy Dog Chews

    • Main Ingredient: Buffalo Tendon
    • Total Weight: 12 Ounces

    Rawhide is a popular choice with dogs for a lot of reasons. As well as being a long-lasting chewing material, it is also popular because it is a natural animal-based product. Many dogs love the taste of the treat.

    If you’re looking for a rawhide alternative that offers this same natural taste appeal, Top Dog Chews Buffalo Tendon Taffy Dog Chews are made from a single ingredient—buffalo tendon. A pack contains around 30 chews that are free from artificial flavorings or additives and have the same appeal as rawhide.

    However, they are softer, which means they won’t offer the same longevity as rawhide chews. A single chew contains fewer than 10 calories and there is a choice of 6-inch or 10-inch treats, so you can choose chews that are suitable for the size of dog you are giving them to. Because they are softer, they don’t last long and are more of a tasty treat than a chew treat.

    • Less than 10 calories per treat
    • Made from a single natural ingredient
    • 30 in a pack
    • Don’t last long
    • Don’t have the same chewy texture as rawhide

    8. DreamBone Twist Sticks Chicken Chew Dog Treats

    • Main Ingredient: Corn, Chicken, Pork
    • Total Weight: 12 Ounces

    DreamBone Twist Sticks Chicken Chew Dog Treats are inexpensive dog treats with corn, chicken, and pork as the main ingredients. The outside of the treats contains raw vegetables while the insides are made from meat. Your dog will enjoy chewing through the crunch of the vegetables before being rewarded with the real meat treat inside.

    However, the ingredients include dies and artificial colorings which, while deemed safe, are unnecessary in dog treats. Also, the chews are quite soft, at least when compared to rawhide, so will only last a few minutes each. If you’re looking for a long-lasting chew treat similar to that of a rawhide treat, the DreamBone Twist Sticks Chicken Chew Dog Treats may not be the best option.

    • Inexpensive
    • Contains vegetables and meat
    • Soft and easy to chew
    • Don’t last long
    • Contains coloring and dye

    9. Chewsday Chew Bones Rawhide-Free Dog Hard Chews

    Chewsday Bacony Sizzle Chew Bones

    • Main Ingredient: Potato Starch, Rice Flour, Gelatin
    • Total Weight: 19 Ounces

    Chewsday Bacony Sizzle Chew Bones Rawhide-Free Dog Hard Chews are made with potato starch, rice flour, and gelatin as their main ingredients. They also contain bacon and natural flavor to make them more palatable and appealing to dogs.

    They are quite hard, but that helps ensure they will last longer with power chewers. According to the packaging, the treats contain more than 300 calories per treat, which is very high, so you will need to severely restrict the number of treats you give and the frequency with which you offer them.

    • Hard treats are good for power chewers
    • Bacon flavor appeals to most dogs
    • Seem to be very high in calories
    • Too hard for some dogs

    10. Bones & Chews Water Buffalo Cheek Rolls Dog Chew

    • Main Ingredient: Water Buffalo Cheek
    • Total Weight: N/A

    Bones & Chews Water Buffalo Cheek Rolls Dog Chews are made from 100% water buffalo cheek which means they are single-ingredient chews. Because these are natural chews, the size and even quality of the chews you receive will vary from one batch to the next, but they typically range between 6 and 8 inches long.

    Although most dogs will enjoy the smell and flavor of these natural water buffalo treats, some will turn their noses up and they are a little on the expensive side when compared to some of the alternative options.

    • Made from water buffalo cheek
    • Made from a single, natural ingredient
    • Quality is unpredictable
    • Typically smaller than advertised

    dogster paw dividerBuyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Rawhide Alternatives For Dogs

    Dogs love to chew. It is natural, especially for puppies but also for adult dogs. And, if you don’t provide items that your dog is encouraged to chew, it will likely find its own chew toys like furniture legs, doors, and even walls and floors.

    Rawhide is a popular option with pet owners because it is tough, which means that a single rawhide chew can last some dogs several hours. The main ingredient is also a natural animal-based ingredient. But rawhide isn’t necessarily the best option, and there are several reasons why you might be looking for alternatives.

    Why You Should Avoid Feeding Rawhide

    Rawhide treats aren’t necessarily bad for all dogs, but some potential pitfalls mean they also aren’t the best choice for all pups and why they aren’t the go-to choice for every dog owner.

    • Choking Hazard – Rawhide does splinter and when the treat has been chewed, parts can become slippery and difficult to manage. This combination means your dog could chew a sharp splinter off that has a slippery end, meaning it poses a choking hazard. Even if you monitor your dog’s chewing, you can’t guarantee that you will catch every splinter that falls.
    • Digestive Problems – Rawhide isn’t really meant for eating and is difficult to digest. If your dog does eat and attempt to swallow some of the smaller pieces of the chews, it can cause blockages, which, in turn, can lead to gastrointestinal problems. It can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
    • Contamination – The risk with rawhide is the same as with most toys and other treats, but there is some risk of contamination from bacteria and even cleaning products. Recalls happen very rarely, but rawhide could end up with excessive levels of bleach or other products.

    Alternatives to Rawhide

    Whatever the reason you want to avoid rawhide, there are plenty of good alternatives on the market. When choosing an alternative, look for the one that best matches your dog’s requirements and why you’re buying a chew, as well as how powerful a chewer your dog is.

    • Antlers – Typically from deer and elk, antlers are tough. It takes a long time for your dog to make a dent, but the natural aroma and taste will keep most dogs intrigued enough to keep chewing. Antlers are also packed full of calcium, potassium, and other minerals that are essential to your dog’s health. If your dog doesn’t take to antlers, you can try soaking them in bone broth: it adds to the appeal of the chew while also further increasing the health benefits on offer.
    • Ears – Pigs, cows, or venison ears are popular chew options. While many of these are quite greasy, venison ears are less so because they are low in fat. Although they won’t take as long to chew as rawhide, they do still take some chewing, and they are safe for dogs with sensitivities to typical protein choices.
    • Fish Skin – Fish skin is lean and contains omega-3 fatty acids which are good for maintaining a dog’s coat condition. Crispy fish skin has a texture that appeals to a lot of dogs, but a single treat won’t last long. Some fish skin treats are chewier. They will last longer but are still a short-term treat when compared to rawhide and other alternatives.
    • Carrots – Carrots are a great alternative to rawhide. They’re cheap, readily available, and contain a host of vitamins, including vitamin A. To make them longer lasting, you can freeze the carrots before feeding, and the larger, thicker carrots pose something of a challenge for most dogs.
    • Himalayan Chews – Himalayan chews, which are sometimes also called yak milk chews, are made from yak milk. This is usually combined with cow’s milk, and they use lime juice and a small amount of salt to aid in the drying and compressing process. The chews are tough, long-lasting, and don’t usually pose a choking hazard, although you should monitor your dog when it gets down to the last bite.
    • Chew Toys – If you’re looking for something that lets your dog chew but doesn’t affect their daily calorie intake, rubber and other chew toys make a good alternative. They are especially useful for dogs that like to chew furniture or other items, and some of the tougher chew toys can last for days or weeks even in the paws of the most vigorous chewers.
    beagle puppy chewing squeaky toy
    Image Credit: tetiana_u, Shutterstock

    Do Dogs Need Chews?

    Chewing is a natural action for dogs and providing chews or chew toys enables them to explore this natural habit. Benefits include:

    • They Relieve Anxiety – Chewing has a calming effect on dogs, which means chewing on an antler or a rubber chew toy can relieve mild to moderate anxiety in pups. This can be especially beneficial if your dog suffers separation anxiety. Offer a long-lasting chew when you’re leaving the house, and it will provide a distraction from some of the anxious emotions.
    • They Provide StimulationChewing a chew toy or venison ear provides mental stimulation. This not only helps control anxiety, but it prevents boredom and can relieve stress.
    • They Can Prevent Unwanted Chewing Behavior – Some dogs chew when they get bored. Some chew because they need to exercise their mouths and use their teeth. If you don’t provide your dog with something it is allowed to chew, it will likely find its own items to chew. That can mean chewing furniture, items lying around the house, and even doors and walls.
    • They Can Help Prevent Plaque and Tartar Buildup – Although they should not be considered an alternative to regular brushing and routine dental checkups, chews can help maintain good dental health. The chewing motion helps clear tartar and plaque buildup before it leads to rot and other problems.

    What to Look For

    When buying rawhide alternatives, check the ingredients of what you’re buying and consider factors like texture, sire, and how long the chew will last.


    Natural ingredients are generally best, and because dogs are omnivores, this can include both animal and plant-based ingredients. Avoid those with unidentifiable chemicals like preservatives and dye. Also, check for ingredients that your pup is allergic or sensitive to.


    Chews need to be quite hard to ensure they last long enough to be worthwhile. However, unless you have a power chewer with incredibly sharp and effective teeth, they shouldn’t be so hard that they are impenetrable. However, the chew shouldn’t be so brittle that small shards or splinters break off because these can pose a choking hazard for your dog.


    Generally, small dogs need small chews while big dogs benefit from larger items. Chews that are too small will not only be finished quickly but they can even be a hazard. And if the chew is so big that it overwhelms your dog, it won’t have any interest in chewing it.


    Unlike snacky treats, chews should last. Some, like yak milk chews, can last for days while others, like fish skin chews, might only last minutes. If you’re looking for something to distract your dog while you’re out of the house, you will want longer-lasting chews. Similarly, if your dog is a power chewer, you will need chews that are tough to get through.

    dogster paw dividerTop 3 Tips for Safer Chew Time

    Chewing is a natural activity for dogs, but you do need to ensure that your dog can safely enjoy the chews you have provided.

    1. Supervision

    When you first offer a new kind of chew or chew toy, supervise your dog to ensure they chew it sensibly and that the chew itself is safe. Watch for splinters and determine the shape and texture of the chew when it is getting to the end because some chews can become a choking hazard as they reach the end of their useful life.

    2. Limit Chew Time

    Too much chewing can cause jaw ache and it can even lead to your dog becoming possessive or obsessive over the chews. Initially, limit the amount of time your dog is allowed to chew to around 15 minutes at a time. You can increase this a little over time, although many dogs will chew in short bursts, rather than long sessions.

    3. Avoid Competition

    If you have multiple pets, ensure there is no competition between them for the chews you provide. The last thing you want is your dogs attacking one another because of the treats you’ve provided. Separate them while giving chews, if necessary.

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    Rawhide chews have long been a popular dog treat because they are long-lasting and they provide entertainment and stimulation for dogs. However, they can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs, and small pieces or splinters of the chews can pose a choking hazard.

    Above are reviews of the best rawhide alternatives for dogs including Bones & Chews Bully Stick 6” Dog Treats which are high in calories but generally loved by most dogs. SmartBones Skin & Coat Care Chicken Chews Dog Treats are a cheaper alternative, but their texture means they won’t last long, especially for power chewers.

    Featured Image Credit: Bill Pell, Shutterstock

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