Dog chews, like healthy dog food or treats, are essential to dog parenting. They are necessary for both your and your dog’s good life.
These chews can help solve many problems, such as boredom, anxiety, oral health issues, and destructive chewing.
However, one bad choice and this solution can become a problem itself!
Choosing the safest or the best dog chew for your pooch can be a daunting task, especially when there are so many things and types of chews to consider.
This blog makes it easier for you to make an informed decision.
First, we will go through a few important considerations while choosing a safe dog chew. After that, we will discuss what options you have and their pros and cons.
Note: You should always supervise your dogs after you give them dog chews. Every kind of dog chews mentioned here can be choking hazards. We recommend you keep an eye over your dog for the entire duration they are gnawing on their favorite chews.
How to Choose the Best Dog Chews:
Here is a list of things you should keep in mind when choosing the best chews for your dogs:
Age is a significant factor to pay attention to when choosing the right dog chews for your pup.
If your dog is small and teething, you can pick a dog chew that is relatively soft and small. This will satisfy their chewing demands and provide comfort in painful teething while not being so tough as to break their teeth.
If you have an adult or a senior dog, you might be better off getting them something harder and more long-lasting.
Hardness of the chew is critical to consider when picking a dog chew. Your dog’s age and chewing tendencies will determine how tough a dog chew you should select.
But you can use the following tests to determine if the dog chew is too hard for your dog:
- The ‘thumbnail’ test
Press the dog chew with your thumbnail. If it does not show any sign of indentation or marks, then it is probably too hard for your dog. Avoid these chews to prevent any teeth injuries.
- The ‘hammer rule’
Try to hammer a nail through the dog chew. If the nail does not go through, you can assume it is too hard for your pooch.
- The ‘knee cap rule’
Pick up the dog chew and hit your knee with it. Did it hurt? If yes, it is probably too hard for your dog.
The best dog chews are the ones that last a long time. You should check its reviews to know what other dog parents are saying about its durability.
Durability entails how easily the chews are broken into smaller pieces — easily broken down chews mean they have lousy manufacturing. In addition, small pieces of chews can become choking hazards.
Long-lasting chews are great both for you and your dog — they are easier on your wallet and provide your dogs with stimulation for longer.
Size and Shape
The size of the dog chews are always vital to consider when choosing them. As a rule of thumb, always get a dog chew slightly bigger than your dog’s mouth — this reduces the chances of it becoming a choking hazard.
Similarly, shape, too, determines whether a dog chew is good or not. Stick-shaped and ball-shaped dog chews seem to be the favorites — dogs can hold them easily.
Consider the following tips regarding ingredients when picking a dog chew:
- Look for natural, limited-ingredient dog chews
- Avoid chews with coatings and artificial flavorings — they are toxic to dogs
- Look for an FDA-approved chew
- Avoid chews with non-digestible ingredients like nylon and other synthetic materials
Chewing Habits and Tendencies
Different dogs have different chewing habits and tendencies. We can break them down into a few categories:
- The gentle chewer: these dogs prefer softer chews and rarely destroy them
- The average chewer: these dogs are usually fine with any chew as long as they last a good while
- The power chewer: these dogs are the most powerful chewers and require harder, more durable chews
Further, dogs’ chewing tendencies can be broken down into three more categories:
- Inhalers: these tend to bite off large chunks of the edible chews and swallow them
- Destroyers: these tend to shred their chews and go through a lot of them in a short amount of time
- Nibblers: these are calm dogs and tend to take their time with the chews; they do not go through many chews quickly
Common Dog Chews — How Good are They?
What are Rawhide Chews?
Rawhide dog chews are chews (often) made from the leftovers of the leather industry. While the outside skin of animals is used to make leather products, the inside skin is used to make rawhides.
Most hides are taken from the floors at slaughterhouses. Then, they are placed in high-salt brines to slow down their decay.
After this, they are treated with lime, and the animal hair is removed with chemicals.
Is Rawhide Safe for Dogs?
We use the words ‘often’ and ‘most’ in the above text because not all rawhides are the same.
While most rawhide chews are first made in China and later arrive in the US for further preparation, a few rawhide products are designed and prepared to be easily digestible.
Because of the use of chemicals and rawhide’s nature, there have been many cases of health issues after its consumption. Dogs usually face digestive upsets and intestinal blockage after chomping on large chunks of rawhide chews.
What are Bully Sticks?
Bully sticks are popular dog chews. They are made from bull penises.
This makes bully sticks a single-ingredient product. As a result, they are usually free from additives — the manufacturing process includes sourcing, cooking, and air-drying.
Are Bully Sticks Safe for Dogs?
Yes, bully sticks are generally safe for dogs. As they are edible and have no additives, dogs rarely show signs of distress after having this chew.
They also tend to be low in carbohydrates and fat.
However, bully sticks can also be a potential source of illness for your furry friends as they can be contaminated with bacteria.
What are Antlers/Antler Chews?
Antler dog chews are chews made from the antlers of deer or elk. They, too, can be considered a single-ingredient dog chew.
Naturally sourced antlers, like our Tibetan Antlers, tend to be rich in calcium and thus can be a good source of nutrients for your pooch. These are hard, long-lasting, come in various sizes, and are a good bang for the buck product.
Are Antlers Safe for Dogs?
As with everything else in this list, antlers are generally safe. However, you should consider one thing before buying your dog antlers.
Low-quality antlers might chip and splinter while your pup chews on them. That could cause mouth injuries.
Yak Cheese Dog Chews
What are Yak Cheese Dog Chews?
Yak cheese chews, like our Tibetan Dog Chews, are limited-ingredient hard cheese made from yak and cow milk. These are sourced from the Himalayan region of Nepal.
These yak bones contain no preservatives or artificial flavorings, thus making for an excellent choice of edible dog chews for your four-legged companions.
Cheese dog chew sticks are also rich in protein and low in fat.
Read more: How Are Yak Cheese Dog Chews Made?
Are Yak Cheese Chews Safe for Dogs?
Yes, yak cheese dog chews are safe for canine consumption as they have no additives. But, they too pose choking hazards like other dog chews.
However, unlike other chews, the smaller pieces can be puffed up in the microwave to turn them into crunchy dog treats, like our Tibetan Crunchy Cheese Puffs.
Tendons and other Animal Parts
Animal parts, such as tendons, trachea, pig and rabbit ears, and fish skin, are made into edible dog chews. Tendons are low in fat and high in protein, whereas the trachea (a softer chew) is rich in glucosamine, which is better for dogs with joint issues.
As for fish skin, they are shaped into rolls or bones and are usually rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Are Tendons and other Animal Parts Safe for Dogs?
For the most part, tendons and other animal body parts are safe as dog chews. The only varieties to be careful about are pig and rabbit ears, which can be coated. The coating can upset your dog’s stomach.
Human-made Edible Bones/Dental Chews
What are Human-made Edible Bones and Dental Chews?
Human-made edible bones, often known as dental chews, are human-designed chews for dogs’ oral cleanliness.
Are Human-made Edible Bones Safe for Dogs?
Yes, dental chews are safe for dogs. However, please pay attention to the ingredients — choose a dental dog chew with digestible and natural ingredients.
Synthetic Dog Toys
What are Synthetic Dog Toys?
Synthetic dog toys and dog chews are two different kinds of products. Synthetic dog toys are usually non-edible, whereas dog chews are edible.
These toys are made from non-edible materials like plastic, rubber, and fabric. Its types are: rubber chews, rope tug toys, plastic toys, etc.
A Dachshund chewing on a blue colored plastic dog chew toy
Tennis balls, a universal favorite, too, fall under this category.
Are Synthetic Toys Safe for Dogs?
The safety of these non-edible dog chew toys depend upon the materials they are made from. Many toys have coatings and colorings, which wear off over time and can be toxic to dogs.
Similarly, poorly built toys can break into smaller pieces and become choking hazards.
Not all dog chews are made the same. Choosing the best chew for your dog can make a drastic impact on their health and well-being, and yours, too.
While making your decision, pay special care to the ingredients used and whether they are natural. Also, look for the ones that will last the longest.
If you liked this post, consider sharing it with fellow dog parents.
For more insights on dog health, read our comprehensive list of items dogs can and cannot eat or know about how dog chews might help with dog anxiety.