8 Best Bones for Dogs: Natural & Synthetic (Review & Buying Guide)

Dogs love to chew. This is a well-established fact. But instead of allowing them to chew on your furniture or other hard objects in your home, you’ll do better to give them any of these 8 best bones for dogs either natural or synthetic. Not only are you satisfying your dog’s innate nature to chew, you’re also providing them a healthier and safer means of cleaning their teeth and minimize if not eliminate canine boredom.

Best Bones for Dogs Buying Guide

Picking the right bone for your dog is not really that simple as there can be quite a few considerations to think about. While our list of the best bones for dogs can help narrow down your choices, you may still want to embark on your own quest to search the best bone to give to your dog. This is why we have this buying guide just for you.

natural dog bone

What are the Benefits of Chewing Bones?

The benefits of chewing bones greatly vary from the type of bone that you give to your dog, whether it is natural or synthetic. One of the main differences is in their nutrient content since some synthetic bones are typically enriched with other substances that may not be found in natural bone. These substances can be beneficial for your dog or can bring them harm. Nevertheless, chewing on bones, regardless of type, can provide the following benefits to your pet dog.

  • Stimulates canine cognitive development

When given a bony treat they are essentially working their brains, figuring out how to approach a particular bone. This is especially true for raw bone or even for processed natural bones that still have meat and tendons attached to them. For dogs, they have to figure out how to remove these bits of flesh, tendons, and ligaments from denser sections of the bone. They somehow know that before they can get to the core of the bone, they will have to work their way through these maze of tissues. This is what mentally stimulates them and what can help improve their cognitive development. The same is true with synthetics. Whenever dogs bite and chew on these items, they feel, taste, and even smell what they are working on. Since they are using their sensory organs they are technically improving their sensory perception.

  • Promotes healthier teeth, gums, and oral cavity

Regardless of the type of bone, chewing can help clean the teeth and gums leading to healthier oral cavity. Of course, chewing bones is no match for a doggie toothbrush and toothpaste, but the point is that with the mechanical action of the bone rubbing and scraping against the surface of the teeth and gums, any large food particle or debris left on the teeth and gums can be easily removed. Some dog chew bones also come with specialized ribs that serve like toothbrush bristles to remove more stubborn particles. This helps prevent gum diseases and promotes optimum oral health.

  • Provides non-destructive means of acting out their innate behavior

Everyone knows that dogs have a natural inclination to chew. It’s already in their genes, so to speak. If you don’t give them bones or chew toys to chew on, they will be looking for other things to do this with. They’ll see your carpet, your furniture, your bedding, and virtually anything else that they can grab their mouths with. There have been many instances where a house has been turned inside out because the dog was simply not given a less destructive means of acting out its innate chewing behavior.

  • Alleviates canine boredom and behavioral problems

We mentioned above that chewing bones can help facilitate cognitive development in dogs. In addition to this, it can also help minimize canine boredom as well as the occurrence of behavioral problems. When you give your dog bones to chew on, you’re essentially keeping it very busy so it will not be thinking of anything else than the bone inside its mouth. This helps focus your dog only on one thing: the bone.

Which is Best for My Dog – Natural or Synthetic Bone Chews?

Choosing between natural and synthetic bone chews is more a matter of setting your priorities straight. If you want a product that is as close to the ancestral diets of dogs complete with the nutrients and the joys of munching on real bone, then natural bone chews are for you. On the other hand, if you are wary about the safety of natural bone chews especially related to issues about contamination, then synthetic bone chews should be a great choice.

Nutrient-wise, natural bone chews are far more superior to synthetic bone chews. This is despite the fact that some synthetics are enriched with nutrients. Unfortunately, the ingredients used in these formulations are very different from the actual nutrient composition of real, natural bone.

Additionally, while contamination is a very likely possibility in natural bone chews, many synthetics are also laced with artificial preservatives, gluten, artificial colors and flavors, and other chemicals that may also prove to be harmful for your pet.

Picking between natural and synthetic bone chew rests on your understanding of the pros and cons of each and which of these two you think your dog will benefit from the most.

natural vs. synthetic dog bone

How to Choose the Right Bone

There are plenty of options if you do decide to give your pet dog bones. Unfortunately, it is also because of the dizzying number of options that can make choosing the right bone for your dog especially difficult. Here are some of the more common types of bones and how you can choose the right one for your pet.

  • Raw bones

Experts say raw bones are the best especially if they still have plenty of meat, tendons, ligaments, and even bone marrow in them. These types of bones reflect dogs’ ancestral diets. While a lot of pet parents don’t like the idea of handling raw bones and flesh, experts actually recommend raw bones over cooked versions since these are generally softer than their cooked counterparts. Cooking bones essentially dries out the moisture inside, making them more brittle and more prone to breakage, causing splinters. Additionally, raw bones are more nutrient-rich than cooked bones. When bones are cooked some of the nutrients are eventually lost, leading to a substantial reduction in nutrient value.

  • Natural beef bones

These are great alternatives to raw bones especially for pet parents who are wary about the germs that may be present in raw meat. These products are just like raw bones except that they undergo sterilization to kill the germs present in the product before these are slowly cooked, typically by roasting. As we have already mentioned above, the processes involved in the preparation of these bones can somehow affect the nutrient content of the bone and meat itself. Also, the cooking process has technically resulted in a dehydrated product that it is now more prone to splintering.

  • Rawhide bones

These are not actually bones per se but rather made from other parts of an animal. One can look at these products as natural beef bones except that they are not made of bones. Rawhide bones are essentially made of the inner layer of the skin or hide of cattle or horses. These are not really appetizing at all. As such, some manufacturers add natural flavor enhancers to make it more palatable and enticing for your dog. If you do decide to get this type of bone for your pet, make sure that it is made of all-natural ingredients.

  • Dental bones

There are certain bone chew products that are especially designed as dental bones. These are primarily geared for the removal of food particles and debris from your dog’s gums and teeth and to help promote healthier oral cavity. These can also serve to freshen your dog’s breath as well as massage and soothe its gums if inflamed.

  • Healthy chews

From the term itself, these dog chews are enriched with nutrients for the sole purpose of supplementing regular dog diet. These are especially helpful in instances where your dog is simply not eating that well.

  • Bone-hard dog treats and chew toys

These are chew toys and doggie treats that are primarily intended for power chewers. They last longer than other types of bones for dogs. These are designed to be exceptionally difficult to break apart or splinter.

Are Any Bones Safe for My Dog?

Based on what we have been discussing so far, raw bones are the safest for the simple fact that they are still rich with moisture, making them a lot softer and, thus, less prone to breaking and splintering. True, this type of bone will still break, but given that they are still dense with cartilage, the splinters that they produce have softer and rounder edges.

On the other hand, cooked bones are brittle owing to the fact that the heat employed during the cooking process has effectively drawn out the moisture. Splinters, therefore, are sharper and harder or denser compared to raw bones.

To optimize the safety of giving raw bones to your dog, it is imperative that you supervise your pet while it is enjoying its bony treat. At the first sign of breaking, you can immediately remove the bone. Also, if signs of choking are observed or any sign of a problem, you can institute measures immediately.

Giving our dogs bones to chew not only nurtures their innate need for chewing, it also helps promote healthier teeth and gums, stimulate their senses, and help prevent behavioral problems. That is why it is important to choose the right bones for them.

Sources

  1. Benefits of Chewing on Bones, PAWsitively Sweet Bakery
  2. Choosing a Safe Bone for Your Dog, Consumer Affairs
  3. Choosing the Right Bones and Chews for Your Dog, Howlistic
Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for MyPetNeedsThat.com, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!