By now you’ve probably heard about the dangers of rawhide for dogs… Yes, we’ve probably all given one of our dogs rawhide at some point or another and hopefully nothing happened. But times change and so this once popular chew is fast falling out of fashion.
One thing that has not changed, however, (and will never change) is dogs wanting to chew anything and everything. There are plenty of great synthetic chews on the market (like nylabone). But what about natural alternatives?
Are they any good?
And, more importantly, are they safe?
This article will give a quick rundown of natural dog chews that are WAY safer than rawhide.
Deer antlers are a fantastic dog chew! They are completely natural, often sourced from wild animals and require virtually no processing. Usually all that manufacturers do is sand down the sharper points to stop your dog jabbing you or themselves.
Antlers are hard, but generally not too hard for your pooches teeth. They are not prone to splintering, which means they pose minimum risk when ingested. And they have virtually zero calories.
They last for ages, which means you get real bang for your ‘buck’ (ho ho ho) even if your dog is a big chewer. The only thing you really need to watch for is that last nub. It is possible for your dog to try and swallow it, which does make it a bit of a choking hazard. So keep a careful watch and be sure to remove it when it gets down to the size of a thumb.
Otherwise, it’s a big thumbs up for this epic chew!
Himalayan Dog Chew
These are becoming incredibly popular right now! Made entirely from milk they are vegetarian (but obviously not vegan). The milk is coagulated, pressed and dried to create a seriously tough chew.
As well as being entirely natural, another plus point for these chews is that they don’t smell at all. They’ll last anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours so although they can be a touch pricey, you know they will keep Fido occupied for a decent amount of time.
Not as long lasting as an antler, but a great alternative!
Another chew that is growing in popularity is buffalo horns. They are very low fat whilst also being high in calcium and phosphorous which promote good bone health. And they last a good long while too (days rather than hours).
They do come with a couple of warnings though. Sometimes you can buy horns that are quite thin, and that means a dog with strong jaws can crack them open and they risk splintering. And they do kinda stink when wet… Also, like antlers, you’ll need to remove the last nubbin to stop it being a choking hazard.
All that said, dogs love them. They are great for dogs on a diet. They are long lasting. And they are a very healthy alternative to many more manufactured chews on the market.
Olive Wood Stick
Wait? People sell sticks now?!
Well yes, as it happens they do!
For dog owners who are less inclined to keep animal body parts hanging around their house, a good quality olive stick could be just the ticket.
There are quite regular interventions from vets in the press these days about how sticks can be really dangerous for dogs. But these warnings are generally about random sticks you find in the park (which can splinter and injure your hounds mouth or cause other internal damage).
These sticks are cut, sanded and treated with olive oil to avoid splintering, creating a safe, durable chew which no other animal had to die for!