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Dogs are natural-born chewers. Unfortunately, many are not exactly great at picking the best things to chomp on. From newspapers to furniture to our favorite pair of shoes – our canine companions don’t discriminate! While chewing is perfectly natural and healthy for dogs, you do not want to encourage this behavior if your pup is exercising it on your belongings; what you want to do instead, is provide them with appropriate things they can nibble on – dog chews! Chew toys are perfect because they can not only help save your precious belongings but also improve your pooch’s oral and dental health. They’re also invaluable when it comes to teaching puppies not to bite and relieving pain and discomfort associated with teething. To help you find the best chew for your dog, we tested dozens of different products. Below is a list of our favorites, plus a comprehensive buying guide!
If you’re looking for all-natural, healthy treats for your dog, you’ll love the Best Bully Sticks. These delicious meaty chews are made from grass-fed, protein-rich beef and contain no additives, making them the absolute best choice for pups who love edible chews.
Like rawhide, these sticks are able to remove soft plaque from your dog’s teeth thanks to their texture and shape, promoting good dental hygiene. But unlike most rawhide treats, these are fully edible and easy to digest. While they’re free from all added chemicals, the treats do have a slight scent that your dog is sure to appreciate. Robust and hardy, these are ideal for light and medium chewers, although more aggressive chewers won’t mind them either!
For pet parents looking for challenging, stimulating toys that can keep their dogs entertained and occupied for hours, the KONG Classic Rubber chews are a fantastic choice. Recommended by vets and dog trainers from all over the globe, this is one of the safest chew toys available in the market.
The KONG comes with a hollow center, which is ideal for stuffing with your dog’s favorite treat (we highly recommend trying peanut butter!), making it a brilliant training tool. Working out how to get to the treats will also keep your dog entertained and physically stimulated. And because it’s made of rubber, this long-lasting chew will withstand months of chewing with no problem.
Want to introduce your dog to the vegan trend? There are many plant-based dental dog treats on the market, such as the C.E.T. VeggieDent Chews, which provide a low calorie, low fat alternative to most meaty options, making them a solid choice for overweight dogs.
These are made from 100% vegetable-based ingredients with no animal proteins, and are ideal for preventing and reducing plaque buildup. This is thanks to their unique Z-shape that allows the chews to reach back, front and everywhere in between your dog’s teeth. As a result, they’re not only excellent for dental health, but also for improving doggie breath.
If you have an aggressive, persistent chewer in the family, you need durable and long-lasting chew dog toys that can take their chomping without breaking. One of such chews is the Benebone, a flavored, hardy wishbone (bacon in this case!) that any chewer is guaranteed to love.
And if your pup is not a fan of bacon? No problem as there are other flavors available, including chicken and peanut butter. Best of all, all chews are infused with real meat or nut flavors, so are sure to distract your doggo from your brand new shoes! That said, they’re not edible, so do make sure you replace them after reasonable wear.
If you want to give your dog a huge, durable treat, look no further than this massive chew from Bones & Chews! Created by intertwining eight different kinds of bully sticks, the braid tastes great, has the perfect shape for chewing, and it lasts even longer than traditional bully sticks.
Made from 100% beef, this all-natural chew contains no hormones, chemicals, or artificial ingredients. It’s crafted from extra large beef pizzle, which means that even the most insatiable chewers will struggle to chomp this up in a hurry!
If your dog’s dental hygiene leaves a lot to be desired, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with the vet to get them thoroughly checked and if necessary, properly cleaned. But is there anything you can do at home to maintain and keep our pet’s teeth in good condition? Absolutely! And the Nylabone’s Texture Power Chew Ring Toy is the perfect dental chew for this.
Thanks to its durable nubs and ridges, this chew will help keep your pooch’s teeth clean and their breath fresh whilst simultaneously entertaining them for hours on end. That said, the chew is not for everyone – it’s specifically designed for larger dogs of over 50 pounds who are known to be aggressive chewers, so it may to too much for gentler pups.
Looking for something new and original? Definitely check out Himalayan Chew Toys that are made from yak and cow’s milk, salt and tangy lime juice for a unique and refreshing flavor. Each chew takes months to cultivate and have been lovingly baked for your dog’s enjoyment!
What’s even better about this snack is that it’s really two treats in one. Once your dog has finished with the chew, take the leftover chunk, soak it in water for five minutes, then pop it in the microwave for forty-five seconds and allow it to cool for an additional two minutes. The result? A delicious puff treat your doggy will love!
For man’s best friend, nothing beats a good old rope tug! A firm favorite for small and large dogs alike, these timeless toys can be used for a multitude of different methods of play, including solo chewing, throwing for a game of fetch, and of course, tug of war. These toys are particularly good for dogs who indulge in excessive chewing, as they tend to be durable and last for a long time.
Featuring three thick knots for texture and a braided cord for durability, this rope toy is guaranteed to withstand even the toughest of chewers. As your dog plays, the fibres of the rope will gently floss their teeth, keeping them clean and healthy. What more could you ask for from a simple, inexpensive pet toy?
For dog owners looking for chews that are completely natural and healthy yet odorless, we recommend checking out these elk antlers called Gnawtlers, as they’re clean, unprocessed and packed with nutrients.
These durable chews come from Grade A raw elk antlers, and contain zinc, calcium, phosphorus and manganese. Because they’re quite hardy, they’re ideal for aggressive and tenacious chewers as they won’t fall apart nor hurt their teeth. Importantly, they come vacuum-sealed, which means they’re completely safe and free from all contaminants.
Made from grass-fed, free-range beef, these thick-cut cow ear chews by Best Bully Sticks are another excellent edible option for pups in need of protein and extra nutrients. These highly digestible treat-chews are suitable for mild to medium chewers, although many pet parents of more aggressive chompers recommend them too.
Because they’re made from 100% real beef, the chews are free from added chemicals, making them a nice choice for sensitive pooches. That said, while they are edible, you still want to make sure you remove any broken pieces as they can be a choking hazard.
Chewing on things comes naturally to dogs. From puppies and adult dogs to seniors, all dogs chew to preserve their dental health and to keep boredom at bay. And while your dog likely doesn’t mind chewing on furniture, it’s a much better idea to get them proper chews and dog treats they can gnaw on happily and save your precious belongings. But how to choose the right chewie? From edible treats, to rope chews, to rubber toys, there are countless of canine chews on the market, making the search for the right one(s) difficult and rather confusing. Luckily, you’re in the right place. In this buying guide, we cover everything you need to know about chew toys treats, including how to pick the best one for your pet. We also answer some of the frequently asked questions on doggie chews at the end of the article, so make sure you stay tuned until the end!
Things to Consider When Choosing
To purchase the best chew for your pup, it’s important to consider the following things.
Your Dog’s Needs and Personality
If your dog is a destroyer when it comes to their toys and chews, it’s important to get something that’s extra-durable. We recommend natural bully sticks if you want something edible and your pup is known to bite of and swallow things, or rubber toys if you want a really long-lasting chew. On the other hand, if your pup needs help in the oral health department, stick to dental chew toys that are specially designed for massaging gums and removing plaque.
Durability of the Toy
No matter the personality of your pet, it’s important to pick a quality dog chew. There are two major reasons for this: one, you want a chew toy that will actually stimulate your dog’s gums, and two, you want something that your pet won’t be able to bite off and swallow. As a bonus, a durable chew will last longer. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to go with the hardest, toughest of dog chews out there; in fact, unless your pet is one of the “destroyers”, we’d advise against it. Ideally, the toy should be both strong and soft – it should give a little when you press it with your finger, but still remain quite firm.
Dog chews are toys after all, and as such, should entertain your pup and stimulate his imagination. Generally, it’s a good idea to look for chews that are either bouncy, have interesting shapes or different flavors, or all three. You know your pet best and what excites them the most though, so look for toys that offer distraction and are actually fun to nibble on.
Why Should You Give Your Pet Proper Chews?
Chewing is a natural, healthy behavior and an important part of being a canine. Not only does nibbling on things help strengthen your pet’s teeth and gums, it also stimulates their brain and imagination and provides pleasure. Of course, allowing your pup to chew on whatever they can get her paws on is a recipe for disaster. But safe dog bones, toys and treats for chewing? Perfect.
Chewing is natural
In the wild, dogs regularly feast on bones from their prey. Both fresh and stale bones provide nutritional benefits, plus help promote healthy teeth and gums. Since wild animals don’t brush their teeth or use dental treats, regular chewing helps to naturally clean teeth and stimulate gums. On top of this, chewing actually provides pleasure to dogs and helps relieve tension and aggression.
Improves dental health
As mentioned, munching on bones is great for wild dogs’ dental health. But unless you own a wild dog, you need to find a way to help your pet clean their teeth in some other way. While brushing is the first line of defense against cavities, chews can also help remove plaque and tartar. Research has shown that dogs that regularly chew have less plaque build-up than dogs that do not. How is this possible? It’s actually quite simple – the mechanical action of chewing takes care of stuck-in-the-teeth food, plus helps to stimulate gums, leading to better oral health in general.
Besides physical activity, all dogs need mental exercise too. Chewing is perfect for this – by concentrating on one thing for a long period of time, dogs exercise their brainpower. This is also a fantastic way to manage your pet’s hyperactive and/or aggressive behavior. Instead of chewing on your chair legs, slippers and kid toys, your pet will focus all of their chewing urges on one, safe thing – their very own chew treat or toy. Likewise, by providing your pooch with a proper toy, you’ll be able to curb constant barking. Furthermore, because it’s a natural urge, chewing actually provides satisfaction and comfort. Pets that cannot exercise their chewing habits feel deprived, even depressed.
Types of Dog Chews
There are hundreds of chewable dog toys out there, but when it comes to pure basics, there are only four different chews available. It’s good to familiarize yourself with each type because this can help you pick the best product for your dog.
Made of the pizzle of the bull, a bully stick is tough, natural and tasty for dogs. Many pet parents swear by these as they can be offered on their own or stuffed into certain interactive toys. Dogs of any breed, age or size can use them as they’re made of natural ingredients, are actually nutritious and packed with protein. If your pup doesn’t eat rawhide, bully sticks are an excellent alternative. However, like most chewable treats, they too come with certain safety risks. Some pets can choke on broken pieces (although rare, this is something to note) or break a tooth. And if you purchase from cheap, shady brands, it’s possible to get a stick contaminated with bacteria too.
Nutritious and tasty
Tough, can withstand lots of chewing
If not supervised, dogs can choke on broken parts or break a tooth
If not purchasing from reputable brands, bacterial contamination
Similar to bully sticks, edible chews such as cow hooves, rawhide, hard cheese chewies, etc, are like long-lasting, chewable treats. They’re made out of tasty ingredients and can be nutritious (depending on the chew), so most dogs absolutely love these. The downside, of course, is that they can be highly caloric and lead to weight gain if used too frequently. Another minus is that they’re one of the shortest-lived chews you could buy. Also, like bully sticks, some of the edible toys can be contaminated with bacteria.
Nutritious and natural
Different shapes and flavors
High in calories
Some can be greasy
If not purchasing from reputable brands, bacterial contamination
Rubber chews are some of the safest chew toys, provided they’re made of quality materials of course. Because they’re made of rubber, they last a very long time, plus are fun to chomp on. If you’re interested in purchasing this type of a chew, our advice is to look for something that is firm enough to withstand aggressive chewing, but also soft enough to have enough “give” when you press it (this is especially important if your dog has sensitive teeth). The downside of rubber dog toys is that they’re indigestible. Also, they’re typically not as inviting as their edible counterparts as they lack flavor.
Durable and long-lasting
Come in various shapes
No extra calories
Can’t damage teeth
May not be as fun as edible chews
Ropes that dogs can chew on are a good option if you’re looking for a simple, calorie-free, non-greasy chew. Although they’re generally safe, you need to have a special kind of chewer in order to use them – a nibbler. Gentler chewers, or dogs that never actually bite off pieces of their toys, can use rope toys with no issues, however, “destroyers” are advised to stay away from them. This is because swallowing strands of rope can be highly dangerous. Naturally, swallowing any indigestible objects is dangerous, but linear foreign bodies are particularly tricky as they can saw through the intestines, causing a lot of pain. But, if your pet is rather gentle with his toys, ropes can be a good option.
Durable and long-lasting
No extra calories
If swallowed, can lead to serious consequences
Beneficial Ingredients To Look For in a Healthy Dog Chew
Whether you’re interested in edible toys, rubber or rope chews, it’s important to look for products made of quality ingredients and materials.
For Edible Chews
Edible toys such as safe rawhides, bully sticks, very hard cheese chews, etc, have nutritional value. Often, they will contain quite a bit of protein and fat (depending on the chew), which is generally a good thing, but it can be a problem if the ingredients are of low quality. It’s best to look for natural ingredients, including chews made of real beef, chicken, etc, or real antlers, hooves and so on. Preferably, look for high protein, low-fat chewies that also contain minerals and vitamins.
For Non-Edible Chews
When it comes to rubber, rope and other materials, the most important thing to pay attention to is whether or not the toy is durable and sturdy. If flimsy, it’s highly likely your furry friend will be able to rip off a piece and maybe even swallow it. Saying that, rubber and nylon toys are some of the safest, vet-recommended chews, so there’s usually nothing to worry about here. Still, it’s important to purchase well-designed and well-built toys that can withstand lots of chewing without damaging your dog’s teeth.
Speaking of things and ingredients to look for, what are some of the things you should avoid in dog chews?
High Calorie Chews
Because most dogs have daily chewing urges, it’s important to pick chews that are low or at least not overly high in calories. You’d be surprised how a little chew here and there can add up the calories! This is especially important for already overweight dogs – if you insist on using edible toys, make sure you purchase the ones that are as low in calories as possible.
Chews High in Sodium
Another thing to look out for is an excessive amount of salt. Lots of bully sticks and other edibles contain a lot of sodium, which, in a nicely balanced diet, is not much of an issue, but can be if your pet’s diet is already pretty high in salt. Likewise, if your dog has poor kidney health, it’s a good idea to stick to low-sodium toys or skip edible chews altogether.
It’s vital to choose the right size of chew for your dog. Very small toys are a choking hazard, while very large chews force your pet to keep their jaw in all sorts of uncomfortable positions.
Best Dog Chews FAQ:
Q: How do I know which dog chew to choose?
A: With so many different chews on the market, finding the right one for your furry friend is not easy. However, if you focus on the most important things – your dog’s personality, their size and the quality of the chew itself – choosing the right chewie will be a piece of cake.
Your dog’s personality
Dogs as chewers could be divided into three categories – nibblers, destroyers and inhalers. If your pet is a nibbler, softer chews are a good choice, including edible toys, stuffed animals, etc. Destroyers need tough, firm objects such as rubber and nylon toys, while inhalers need edible toys.
Size of your pet
While every dog is different, the general rule is to use smaller chews for small dogs and bigger ones for big dogs. This may require a little bit of experimentation though as some dogs have smaller/bigger jaws than usual.
Quality of the chew
Finally, it’s important to consider the materials/ingredients of the toy. Some dogs prefer bouncy, highly durable rubber toys that you can play fetch with, while others love tasty, edible toys the most. If your dog has never used a chew before, it’s not a bad idea to purchase two to three different products and see what they like best.
Q: How often can I give my dog a chew?
A: Because chewing is a natural behavior for canines, all dogs should be offered chews regularly to support their dental health and mental well-being. Ideally, you should give your dog a chew, whether edible or not, every single day for a limited amount of time. Generally, an hour to hour and a half is more than enough for your pet to clean their teeth, soothe gums and sharpen their mind, so we would suggest limiting the chewing to that time frame. Saying that, how often and how long you should offer a chewable toy to your dog also depends on the toy itself. If rubber, rope or otherwise inedible, feel free to give it every day, for as long as your dog wants it. If edible, however, especially if highly caloric, offer the chew every other day and limit the chewing time to less than an hour.
Q: Should I supervise my dog while they’re chewing a rawhide treat?
A: Regardless of the chewie you choose to purchase, it’s recommended you supervise your dog during their chewing-time. All dog chews, whether rawhides, bully sticks, rubber toys or ropes, have certain safety risks, which you should try to minimize as much as possible. Of course, you can’t (and shouldn’t) watch your pet’s every move like a hawk, but you should never leave them unsupervised whilst chewing. Like all animals, our furry companions can be unpredictable and clumsy, so it’s important to monitor their chewing practices and guide them if necessary (this is especially true for beginners and aggressive chewers).
Another important tip is to take a peek at the chew itself from time to time. Often, dogs will bite off bits and pieces of their toys, shrinking them in the process. Small chews may pose a choking hazard (especially for large dogs), so throw away any toys or treats that have lost their original size and shape. Also, make sure to get the right durable chew toy for your dog.
Although we love all the chews on our list, the Supreme Bully Sticks are our favorite pick. These tasty treats will keep your pooch entertained and will satisfy all of their hunger pangs and chewing urges at once. They’re also great training tools for puppies and young dogs as they taste almost like a treat.
From occasional to seriously aggressive chewers, there’s a toy, treat and chew for every dog out there. Whether your goal is to help your teething puppy find some comfort, calm the anxiety of an antsy young pooch, or you want to stop your fully grown dog’s bad chewing habits in their tracks, selecting the right kind of chew is the first step to keeping everyone in your household happy.